He’s a warrior, an Irish sporting icon, and he’s soon to be Dr Paul O’Connell. Is there nothing the mighty Munster man can’t do?
It’s been an emotional few weeks for Irish rugby fans. It was bad enough falling at the quarter-final again, but it was arguably equally harrowing witnessing their leader’s final moment in an Irish jersey lying flat on his back in agony in Cardiff.
However, for the man himself, there is a small silver lining with the news he will be conferred with an honorary doctorate of science by the University of Limerick on November 5.
The event will take place at the University Concert Hall and many of his Ireland World Cup teammates are expected to attend.
He has already been conferred with the Freedom of Limerick City and recently a giant bronze of him being lifted by John ‘The Bull’ Hayes and Donncha O’Callagahan at the historic Ireland v England game at Croke Park was unveiled at the departures lounge at Shannon Airport.
O’Connell is currently recovering from the serious hamstring injury suffered during the World Cup game against France.
He has already undergone major surgery and it is expected he will be sidelined for the next five months.
O’Connell is recuperating at home in Limerick, where he lives with wife, Emily and their two children, Paddy, aged five, and Lola, aged 11 months.
The injury has delayed his departure to French side Toulon after signing a contract with the club.
As he had already decided to retire after the World Cup, the game against France was his last in an Irish jersey. His first international rugby honours came when he lined out for the Irish schoolboys side in Thomond Park when he was a Leaving Certificate Student at Ardscoil Rís.
The University of Limerick said it is delighted and proud to have O’Connell enrolled as an honorary doctor.
Previous sports figures similarly honoured by UL include Kilkenny hurling great Eddie Keher, former Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton, and former Ireland rugby coach Declan Kidney.
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