Paul O'Connell: Career Timeline


August 17:

Munster competitive senior debut, Celtic League v Edinburgh, Myreside September 29 - Heineken Cup debut v Castres, Thomond Park



February 3:

Test debut v Wales. Capped by Eddie O’Sullivan, 21-year-old debutant O’Connell is one of seven Munster men in the Irish pack at Lansdowne Road. He is concussed two minutes in after a collision with Craig Quinnell but continues to score a try in a 54-10 Six Nations rout of the Welsh before departing ahead of half-time.

May 25:

Makes his first Heineken Cup final appearance as Munster lose to Leicester Tigers.


November 1:

Makes his World Cup debut in Australia


March 27:

Wins the first of four Triple Crowns with a big win over Scotland.


June 25:

British & Irish Lions Test debut v New Zealand, O’Connell plays all three Tests as the All Blacks whitewash Clive Woodward’s squad on a miserable tour.


May 20:

Munster win their first Heineken Cup with a final victory over Biarritz in Cardiff

March 18:

Wins Triple Crown with Ireland.


March 10:

Wins Triple Crown with Ireland.


Becomes Munster captain.


May 24:

Back at the Millennium Stadium, he captains Munster to a second Heineken Cup title with a famous win over Toulouse.


March 21:

Helps Ireland capture the Six Nations Grand Slam.

April 30:

Leads Munster to the Celtic League title


Captains the British & Irish Lions on Tour to South Africa.

November 28:

Guides Ireland to a memorable victory over the world champion Springboks at Croke Park, having learned to count in Afrikaans in order to decode the Bok’s lineout calls.


May 28:

Leads Munster to Magner’s League grand final victory over Leinster at Thomond Park


Plays in his third World Cup, scoring a pool victory over Australia and reaching the quarter-finals.



Picked for a third British & Irish Lions tour, this time to Australia, his participation his cut short by a fractured arm.

November 7:

Named captain of Ireland by incoming head coach Joe Schmidt.


March 15:

Leads Ireland to RBS 6 Nations title with victory over France in Paris.


March 14:

Wins 100th Ireland cap v Wales.

March 21:

Wins third RBS 6 Nations title.

Voted RBS 6 Nations Player of the Tournament

May 13:

Named IRUPA Player’s Player of the Year for second time May 23 – Plays his last game at Thomond Park as Munster win their Pro12 semi-final against Ospreys.

May 30:

178th and final appearance for Munster in Guinness Pro12 final

June 15:

Signs two-year contract to join Toulon after 2015 World Cup.

September 19:

Begins fourth World Cup of his career, this one as captain.

October 11:

Injured in the victory over France in final World Cup pool game, his 108th cap. A serious hamstring tear, it requires surgery to reattach the muscle to the bone.


February 9:

Announces retirement.

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