Paul O’Connell treasures sharing Six Nations victory with his son

Paul O'Connell with his son Paddy at Murrayfield after a famous Irish win.

As crazy days in sport go, Saturday was top of Paul O’Connell’s looney chart.

Amid the frenzied cele-bration, nerve-shattering madness, and record results, there’s one memory that Captain Colossus will treasure more than most — walking off Murrayfield’s hallow turf with his son Paddy.

Paddy has been a permanent fixture at all off the big games recently — and he took centre stage again on Saturday after a mesmerising day saw Ireland crowned Six Nations champions.

“Paddy has been with me in the changing rooms after the last few games and when I look back, they’ll probably be the best memories I’ll have,” said O’Connell. “He’s been in the changing rooms for Joe Schmidt’s summing-up meetings, he went around all the players and got his jersey signed with Ben Best beside him — Rory Best’s son, who he’s best friends with.

“He sat with Ben Best during the match yesterday and he’s having a great time and I must say I really enjoy having him there.”

O’Connell admitted his heart was in his mouth watching the England game, after Ireland had hammered Scotland 40-10 earlier.

Paul O'Connell's try against Scotland

“Saturday was just a crazy day really,” he said. “We played our game, we won 40-10, no one celebrated at the end of the game. We all walked off the pitch and wondered to ourselves would it be enough.

“In the back of our minds we were confident it would be enough because you could have never foreseen what was going to happen in the England-France game.

“We went in, did our media, showered and changed, and went upstairs and we watched the game in a function room with all the Scottish team around us, with all the dignitaries and all that.

“It was a nerve-wracking period, I’ve never experienced anything like that before. There were great celebrations then when France finally kicked the ball out. It was wonderful.”

That sense of occasion was made all the more special by the Irish fans, who O’Connell acknowledged as among the best in the world.

Paul O’Connell treasures sharing Six Nations victory with his son

Jamie Heaslip and Cian Healy take a picture with a fan at Dublin Airport after the Six Nations champions returned from Scotland with the trophy. 

“I knew there was a bit of a crowd pitchside so then we had to go back down to receive the trophy, but we never imagined that one half of the lower stand was absolutely rammed packed with Irish people,” he said.

Paul O’Connell treasures sharing Six Nations victory with his son

Simon Zebo joined in the selfie fun at Dublin Airport despite being dropped for the title decider. 

“I don’t think [the organisers] knew it was going to turn out the way it did — that’s the Irish for you. We noticed it on Friday when we went for our captain’s run, there was a massive crowd outside the team hotel cheering us on to the bus.

“Then when we arrived into the ground there were Irish people all over... there was a massive amount of Irish people there. I don’t know what the number was, it might have been 10,000 that stayed on for the trophy presentation. There was music blaring, it was almost like a disco. It was great fun, the guys really enjoyed it.”

With back-to-back titles in the bag, comparisons were inevitable. While it’s impossible to choose between the two on the pitch, off it, there is only one winner. “We were asked if it was better than last year — it probably was better craic than last year. It was incredible and it was added to cause we thought we had it lost the way England were playing.”

Read more on Ireland's Six Nations Championship in our Sport and Editorial sections.

Read more of today’s news here

More on this topic

Paul O’Connell named Six Nations Player of the TournamentPaul O’Connell named Six Nations Player of the Tournament

We are not happy, says England rugby chiefWe are not happy, says England rugby chief

Henshaw hails ‘ultimate leader’ O’Connell after Six Nations winHenshaw hails ‘ultimate leader’ O’Connell after Six Nations win

VIDEO: Fan’s hilarious reaction sums up all our feelings at the end of England v FranceVIDEO: Fan’s hilarious reaction sums up all our feelings at the end of England v France


Much has been said about the perils of being stuck in the house 24/7, like family pets interrupting your important conference calls, your partner leaving their dirty dishes everywhere and the lack of respite from the kids.Silver lining: Seven enforced money-saving habits you might want to continue after lockdown

Put you and your loved ones' pop-culture knowledge to the test with Arts Editor Des O'Driscoll's three fiendishly fun quiz rounds.Scene and Heard: the Arts Ed's family entertainment quiz

A passion for heritage and the discovery of some nifty new software has resulted in an Irish architect putting colour on thousands of old photographs, writes Marjorie BrennanBringing the past to life

Richard Hogan, family psychotherapist, addresses a reader's question about life during lockdownHolding on: how to help your child through the crisis

More From The Irish Examiner