Friday 23 March 2018

It’s Britney baby: rugby legend Paul O’Connell reveals his surprising music choices

Paul O'Connell
Paul O'Connell

BRITNEY SPEARS, and Blurred Lines. It might sound appalling to some and downright cool to others – but these are the music favourites of Paul O’Connell.

He attributes his surprising music choices to the victorious Lions tour where ‘Scream & Shout’ by Britney Spears and and Blurred Lines were often played by the team’s ‘music committee’.

Paul explained away his choice of music to his time on the recent Lions tour when team-mates had to “manufacture a bit of craic sometime”.

He played both tunes on RTE Radio’s Miriam O’Callaghan this morning.

Chatting to Miriam, he told her he is rather relaxed ahead of his wedding next week to fiancée Emily O’Leary.

The couple are currently applying the finishing touches to their plans which will see them get wed in the South of France.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” he told Miriam earlier today.

The sports star went on his stag weekend last week – and a picture of the Everton fan dressed as Ian Rush in a retro eighties Liverpool strip went viral.

The Munster hero also recalled how he couldn’t get down on one knee to pop the question to Emily as his knee was injured.

“We went for a picnic with Paddy [their three-year-old son] Paddy and I had a knee injury at the time, so I didn’t go down on one knee, which I regret,” he said. Father-of-one O’Connell (33) says his son Paddy gets a little confused when watching the rugby, and realising his dad is playing.

“He’s beginning to cop it a little bit.

“When he watches a match and I’m on it, he says, ‘That’s not dad, that’s Paul O’Connell’. He thinks we’re two different people. If I leave, he’ll ask, ‘are you going rugby training’?”

Becoming a father has allowed Paul to look at things from another perspective.

“He’s given me a lot of perspective in the recent years. You realise very quickly it’s not the be all and end all. It’s nice to come home when you lose or draw and he doesn’t care. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s fact. He wants to play with you no matter what the result is,” he said.

The Munster lock also paid tribute to courageous teenager Donal Walsh, who passed away in May following a lengthy battle against cancer.

The pair met five years ago – and stayed in touch.  O’Connell spoke out previously about how Donal (16) kept his spirits high when he was out injured for a lengthy period of time.

 “I would have been 28 when I first met him, it’s hard to relate to someone that young but I could relate to him.

“It’s easy to get along with him, his illness wouldn’t be mentioned and you could be texting all night, shooting the breeze.

“He was a little bit different and a little bit special. He’s a big loss unfortunately,” he said.

The Lions hero said the Irish contingent were “disappointed” when Brian O’Driscoll was dropped by Warren Gatland from the Lions squad for their final test.

But he believes O’Driscoll (34) will come back stronger.

“Hopefully he’ll use it as motivation when he plays with Ireland next season.

“We’re all very close to Brian and we all have respect for him - we feel that way with our sports stars. I remember watching Sonia O’Sullivan when I was growing up, and the first time I met her, I almost felt like I knew her. It’s good to have loyalty.

“It shows how highly respected you are as a player. It’s not a call I probably would have made or liked to have made.

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