Pic: Giant statue depicting one of the great moments in Irish Sport unveiled at Shannon
A moment which represents an iconic day when sport transcended politics - the 2007 victory for Ireland in an unforgettable clash with England in Croke Park, was unveiled in a stunning sculpture at Shannon Airport today.
The six metre piece, titled The day That Changed Ireland, by Paddy Campbell, captures a famous Irish line-out that saw rugby legend Paul O’Connell, raised by teammates John Hayes and Donncha O’Callaghan, in the second half of the treasured game and will stand in the airport terminal building for future generations to savour.
If you have trouble remembering that faithful day... this should jog your memory.
Speaking at the unveiling, O'Connell said: “It’s an incredible piece. I really can’t believe the size of it but the detail in it is incredible. It is a sculpture about a great moment in rugby for Ireland and beyond rugby. As a game, it all just clicked for us that day.
“It probably was the most emotionally charged game I ever played in. There was such a big battle that went on for us to be able to play there. Historically it was so significant and there were 23 guys picked who had the job of making sure justice was done to everyone’s diplomacy and hard work. Thankfully we got there.
“I remember quite a lot about the game but probably what I remember the most was the national anthem. It was the most powerful I can recall. It was a brilliant occasion and great to have it remembered in this statue.”
Prop John Hayes said the day was a remarkable one to be Irish and the statue a great tribute to that. “There was a huge build up but when the game started it went by so quickly. But it was as close to the perfect game as you could have hoped for.
“The statue is amazing but I will just have to walk by quickly every time I come into Shannon in case people think I am looking at myself,” he joked.
Donncha O’Callaghan said that while the game passed by very quickly, it will stay in his mind forever. “To run out there was unbelievably special. The moment I actually remember the most was the English anthem and how respectful the whole crowd was towards it. It just made for a really special game.”