Nothing special in O'Gara departure

DID it come as a shock? To some, perhaps, it did. If you were paying attention it shouldn't have done.

Ronan O'Gara hasn't been having the type of season we're used to him having. When Declan Kidney opted for young Paddy Jackson – who wasn't renowned for his place kicking and then when ahead and showed why – for the game in Murrayfield it was clear that time was running out on the great man's international career.

Now we know just how short a time we now know. That it was his old mentor Kidney, who delivered the coup de grace, had to make it that little bit more difficult to take for the Cork man. He'd have preferred, no doubt, to go out on his own terms and at a time of his own choosing.

It rarely works that way in sport. For every Darragh Ó Sé or Seamus Moynihan who's able to call it quits with the crowd calling for yet another encore there's a Donal Óg Cusack or a Seán Óg Ó hÁilpin who gets culled from the pack when they least expect it. The thing is they nearly always should have done. The self belief that stands a sportsperson in good stead for so long eventually becomes a liability.