1 The tracksuits of terror: Where are they?
A long tradition of IRFU-sponsored terrible leisurewear doesn’t get much of an airing in this book, and this reader was seriously discommoded as a result. Where are all those mouldy-looking tracksuits? Apart from the photograph facing page 89 we see none of those bottle-green monstrosities.
2 What exactly constitutes an inappropriate approach?
“Myself and Sexto have a word with Joe Schmidt and tell him he should go for the job,” says O’Driscoll on page 378. Is this not tapping-up, or maybe excessive player power? It’s not a GAA player doing it, though. All good then?
3 How did he break up with Glenda?
Far be it from me to be prurient, but breaking up with Glenda Gilson is dismissed in one sentence on page 95. Where’s the drama? Where’s the crashing tea-cups? Where’s the it’s-not-you-it’s-me? The people demand answers!
4 Can we reverse that eye operation?
“Never once have I been able to read a scoreboard.” This alarming admission comes on page 235, with the end of his career in sight (cough), just before a sight-improving operation. Yet the best try-scoring years came in the myopic years: why not reverse the op now and get another year out of him?
5 Is Clonmel Chardonnay still the great man’s tipple of choice?
We always thought that champagne drunk from a debutante’s slipper would be Brian’s favourite drink, but not so. A teammate christens him Bobby Bulmers because of his fondness, early in his career, for the nectar of Tipperary. Does he still have a pint glass of ice with his?
6 Are Revenue interested in the €6 million house?
“Ours is a beautiful six-bedroom home on three-quarters of an acre with a tennis court.” This is the opening line of a letter received by O’Driscoll and his wife Amy, wherein a couple offer to sell them their house. It dropped in value from €6m to €1.8m. My question: what was on their LPT declaration?
7 The ingredients: What were they?
We all know about the highlights O’Driscoll put in his hair back in 2003, but we need details. This is an appalling omission, frankly.
8 Can we work up some venom?
O’Driscoll pokes the English with a prawn sandwich reference in 2004, and Clive Woodward comes right back at him, guns blazing, with... “I prefer chicken and tomato.” Seriously, Clive? That’s your best putdown?
9 A bit of who there again?
“There’s a bit of Roy Keane about him.” Thus O’Driscoll on a teammate on page 260. Can we pleas stop likening every sports person to the great man from Mayfield for a while?
10 The big bath: A disturbing precedent?
Apparently O’Driscoll had a big hot tub craned into his back garden in the Celtic Tiger days. Is this kind of confession now going to be de rigeur for all sports autobiographies: my spendthrift hell?
11 Playing the media?
Occasionally O’Driscoll gives clues as to how to deal with the press, as on page 358.
Don’t believe him: he answered my infamous Bear versus Shark question at a Six Nations presser. Which reminds me...
12 The missing chapter: Too hot to handle?
Yours truly spent an hour sitting in a deserted Millennium Stadium years ago waiting for Gavin Henson. Also present, in his shorts, one Brian O’Driscoll (it was a Gilette gig). The secrets revealed. The bonding. The searing honesty. All being kept for The Second Half, eh?
13 And finally, an existential question.
On page 378, Brian tells team medic Dr Eanna Falvey where he is after a blow to the head (“It’s three-nil, Johnny scored last, and we’re in the Aviva,”), to prove he isn’t concussed.
But what if he’s not in the Aviva? What if it’s all been in his head, all along, and he never became a rugby player, and we’re all part of his dream, like the movie Inception?
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved