O’Driscoll: Leinster Reds drove me batty

Brian O'Driscoll

Brian O’Driscoll says he could never understand or accept why people from Leinster would support Munster in the early years of the Heineken Cup.

“The movement of people from Leinster and going down to Thomond Park and supporting them, even though they were born and bred in Leinster, I couldn’t get my head around that, just because it was a successful team. That grated with me, for sure,” he told The Ray D’Arcy Show on Today FM.

It all came home to him at the 2006 Heineken Cup semi-final at Lansdowne Road, when Munster hammered them 30-6 roared on by three-quarters of the crowd, and O’Driscoll was determined that would not happen again.

“We ran out and it was definitely 70% red, probably more, and here we were in the capital for a home game.”

Despite the Leinster-Munster rivalry, he became solid friends with many Munster players, not least as they were battling together for Ireland, and that Ronan O’Gara became a close mate.

“He is a good buddy. We have been through a lot together, dating back to 2000 and we were into the Irish set-up and we were there for 13 or 14 years together. When you are in close proximity to someone on the pitch, at training, I would always have been close to him on the pitch and would always have been feeding information to him and him likewise to me so you get to know someone very well that way.”

Meanwhile O’Driscoll said poor eyesight did not have a big impact on his career, despite at one stage having his vision down to 50%.

He wore glasses since he was five and played most of his career with deteriorating eyesight until undergoing laser treatment five years ago.

“I had very, very bad eyesight up until getting them lasered in 2009. It is hard to quantify in comparison to the average person’s eyesight but it was not far off 50% so very much functioned on shapes and colours and not specifications.”

He added: “I could never see a scoreboard so I’d be on to Darce asking what time was left or what score was it.”


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