Check out all the sporting icons brought in to motivate the Irish rugby players last night

Check out all the sporting icons brought in to motivate the Irish rugby players last night

Inviting a sporting star who has succeeded in one code to offer a motivational speech to athletes in another sport is nothing new.

Alex Ferguson had a chat with Europe’s Ryder Cup team last year, and the skills of Jim McGuinness have been used by professional football and rugby teams in the UK.

The IRFU took that a step further last night - inviting Irish luminaries from five different sports to speak to Paul O’Connell and the team ahead of their crucial battle with France on Sunday.

Check out all the sporting icons brought in to motivate the Irish rugby players last night

Niall Quinn and Henry Shefflin were on hand to offer words of wisdom from the worlds of football and GAA.

Recently retired legend of racing Tony McCoy said it was a “privilege” to have been asked and said he had enjoyed the experience.

Cork athlete Sonia O’Sullivan also spoke to the players, describing it afterwards as an “inspirational evening”.

And if that wasn’t enough motivation, a former world champion also popped into the Celtic Manor to add his few words.

Former WBA World featherweight champion Barry McGuigan said he was honoured to be asked to speak to the Irish rugby team.

Even better news for fans, he described them as “fired up” for Sunday’s final pool stage match.

In fairness, if they weren’t fired up after being spoken to by that company of legends - there would be no hope.

The players were delighted with their surprise guests.

No excuses now lads, let’s get it done on Sunday!

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