Sunday 22 September 2019

Rugby hero Donncha O'Callaghan hanging up boots 'to focus on family'

Donncha O’Callaghan and Anna Geary launch ‘Ireland’s Fittest Family. Photo: Frank McGrath
Donncha O’Callaghan and Anna Geary launch ‘Ireland’s Fittest Family. Photo: Frank McGrath

Sean O'Grady

Donncha O'Callaghan has said family is the most important thing for him to focus on after announcing his retirement from rugby.

The former Munster player (38) revealed he will hang up his boots at the end of this season and is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Jenny and children Sophie (7), Anna (5), Robin (4) and Jake (2).

"Christmas is the point for me where I'm going to have a look and see where I'm at. I think Jenny would echo it, 100pc," he said.

"I'm making what I thought were sacrifices, [but] were really selfish acts and I really need to prioritise my family and the four kids.

"What I've seen in sport is that that's the most important thing, just to have the balance right."

Recently speaking out on the number of concussions rugby players sustain in games and training, O'Callaghan hopes to see the game become more skills-based in the future.

"I would love if you got everyone in rugby in a room, the real people who care about rugby and say, the way it's going, it's a very physical game. Camogie, hurling, it's a skill game.

"You'll get a hamstring injury and you can live with that. The emphasis has to be on skill," he told the Irish Independent.

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Speaking at the launch of the new series of 'Ireland's Fittest Family', O'Callaghan was joined by fellow coach and GAA star Anna Geary. The Cork woman spoke out against the Dublin ladies team having to fundraise for their team holiday after winning the All-Ireland while the men's team get a free holiday after the final.

"Any team that does win an All-Ireland, particularly the Dublin ladies now, it would make sense for a lot of businesses to sponsor and fundraise, it's really good to be seen sponsoring women's sport," she said.

'Ireland's Fittest Family' airs on Sunday on RTÉ One at 6.30pm.

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