Sunday 19 November 2017

Paul O’Connell reveals invaluable advice given by fan after hanging up his boots

Tom Rooney

After injury forced him to prematurely hang up his boots earlier this month, former Ireland captain Paul O’Connell received some sage and helpful advice from a well-intended stranger.

O’Connell was last on a rugby pitch during Ireland’s World up win over France last October, when the Limerick native tore his hamstring clean off the bone.

While the gruesome injury brought an immediate end to his exploits on the international stage, O’Connell still harboured hopes of playing out his two-year contract with European kingpins Toulon.

However, even after a successful surgery, rehabilitation that not go the way the three time Lion had planned and he was forced to call time on his 14 year stint as a professional.

Of course, the world and its mother wanted to know what he’d do next and, while O’Connell is still considering his options, he was sent a useful letter as to best answer those inquiring about his future.

“Someone wrote me a letter and said ‘Stop saying you’re retiring, say you’re changing career’, and that’s what I’m doing,” he said on Limerick’s Live 95FM.

“The injury I got in the World Cup was just one injury too far for me. While I’ll be fine, I just won’t be fine for tackling 18 stone rugby players any more. I should be able to play a bit of five-a-side and golf, but it was unfortunate.”

With regards to a career that yielded among other adornments, two Heineken Cups, a Celtic League, a Grand Slam, two Six Nations Championships and a Lions captaincy, O’Connell admitted he’s yet to recollect his days as one of the world’s best locks and skippers.

“I wouldn’t be one for looking back a whole lot anyway. I certainly haven’t done it in the last few weeks anyway. People have been very nice to me in the last few weeks, with letters and text messages and emails and phone calls, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks, is trying to reply to as many of those as I can.

“I probably wasn’t always as diligent in doing that when I was playing because I always felt I had an excuse when I was training and people would understand. But this week I was really conscious in trying to reply to everyone and I’m nearly there now I think.

“I don’t look back much, but obviously when I look back you look at the trophies you won, the craic we had was a big part of it and that’s probably what made us good in Munster and in Ireland as well,” he said.

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