IN a country more than willing to celebrate great sportsmen and women, very few have made such a positive and inspiring impression as Paul O’Connell, the Young Munsters, Munster, Ireland, British and Irish Lions forward, and leader among leaders.
Relentless time and plausible rumour combine to suggest that he may play his last game in the red of Munster this evening when he appears in the Pro 12 final against Glasgow in Belfast.
One of sport’s great attractions is that it so often puts flesh on the cliché; that it so often shows us at our best and most committed.
Over his 14-year career with Munster and Ireland, O’Connell has epitomised this in a way that very few of his peers in the “Golden Generation” could match.
It would of course be wonderful if Paulie was just 26 and beginning a great decade with Munster, but he is not, and may move to Toulon for the closing chapter in his career.
So great has his contribution been to Irish sport and society that no one will wish him anything but the very best should he swap the red of Munster for the red of Toulon. Allez Paulie.
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