Paul O'Connell

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Paul O'Connell
Paul O'Connell warmup.jpg
O'Connell warming up for Munster.
Full name Paul Jeremiah O'Connell
Date of birth (1979-10-20) 20 October 1979 (age 35)
Place of birth Limerick, Republic of Ireland
Height 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)
Weight 112 kg (17 st 8 lb, 246 lb)[1]
School Ardscoil Rís
University University of Limerick
Notable relative(s) Mick O'Connell – Father, Sheila O'Connell – Mother, Marcus O'Connell – Brother
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Lock
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Young Munster
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2001–present Munster 163 (90)
correct as of 25 Oct 2014.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2002–present
2005, 2009, 2013
Ireland
British and Irish Lions
96
7
(30)
(0)
correct as of 23 Nov 2014.

Paul Jeremiah O'Connell (born 20 October 1979 in Limerick, Ireland) is an Irish rugby union player. He plays in the Pro 12 and European Rugby Champions Cup for Munster and internationally he plays for Ireland. O'Connell also captained the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa.

Early life[edit]

O'Connell was a star swimmer when he was younger, starting his training with the Seal Swimming Club under the watchful guidance of John Dempsey and Jerry Ryan, before moving on to the Limerick squad. O'Connell attended the Model School and Ardscoil Rís, Limerick and played rugby under Des Harty's tutelage, representing Irish Schools in 1997–98 along with international teammate Gordon D'Arcy. He also played five consecutive games with the Ireland U21s with Donncha O'Callaghan as his second row partner.[2] O'Connell has completed 3 out of 4 years of a Computer Engineering degree at the University of Limerick, deferring the remainder of the degree to concentrate on rugby.[3]

Munster[edit]

O'Connell made his debut for Munster on 17 August 2001, in a Celtic League fixture against Edinburgh.[4] He started for Munster in their 2002 Heineken Cup Final defeat to Leicester Tigers on 25 May 2002.[5]

He was part of the Munster squad that won the 2002–03 Celtic League.[6] O'Connell also won the 2005 Celtic Cup with Munster, defeating Llanelli Scarlets 27–16 in the final.[7]

O'Connell was an integral member of the Munster team that won the 2005–06 Heineken Cup, playing a crucial role in defeating Biarritz Olympique 19–23 in the 2006 Heineken Cup Final.[8][9]

He became Munster captain in July 2007, succeeding Anthony Foley.[10]

O'Connell led Munster to their second Heineken Cup triumph in the 2007–08 season, defeating Toulouse 16–13 in the 2008 Heineken Cup Final.[11] He also led the side to victory in the 2008–09 Celtic League.[12]

After being out through injury for nine months, O'Connell made his comeback for Munster against Cardiff Blues in December 2010.[13] He made his Heineken Cup comeback against Ospreys a week later, only to be sent off and banned for four weeks.[14][15] He returned against Toulon and London Irish.[16][17]

O'Connell injured ligaments in his ankle during the Munster-Leinster Magners League match on 2 April 2011, and was out for four weeks.[18] He making his comeback against Harlequins on 30 April 2011, in the 12–20 Amlin Challenge Cup defeat.[19]

He captained Munster to victory over Leinster in the 2011 Magners League Grand Final.[20]

O'Connell signed a new two-year contract on 3 January 2012 that will see him continuing to play his rugby for Munster and Ireland until the end of the 2013–14 season.[21][22] He made his comeback from the knee injury suffered in the 2012 Six Nations against Ulster in the Heineken Cup quarter-final on 8 April 2012.[23] O'Connell suffered another knee injury in Munster's Pro 12 league game against Ulster, which ruled him out for 4–6 weeks and made him a doubt for Ireland's 3-Test series against New Zealand in June 2012.[24] Having missed the series, O'Connell declared himself fit in August 2012. He also stood down as Munster squad captain, making way for teammate Doug Howlett on 24 August 2012, having been captain for just over five years.[25] A back injury prolonged O'Connell's injury-enforced absence at the beginning of the 2012–13 season. He made his comeback on 13 October 2012, in Munster's opening fixture of the 2012–13 Heineken Cup away to Racing Métro 92.[26]

O'Connell suffered a recurrence of his back injury in October 2012 and had to undergo surgery on New Year's Eve, which ruled him out of rugby until early April 2013.[27] However, O'Connell returned early from the injury, having made a quicker-than-expected recovery, and played 40 minutes for Munster A on 12 March 2013.[28] Having come through a full 80 minutes for Young Munster, O'Connell then lined out for the senior Munster side in their league fixture against Connacht on 23 March 2013, again playing the full 80 minutes.[29] He captained Munster in the absence of Doug Howlett in the 12–18 Heineken Cup quarter-final victory over Harlequins on 7 April 2013, a game in which he won the Man-of-the-Match award.[30] He also captained Munster in the 16–10 semi-final defeat to ASM Clermont Auvergne on 27 April 2013.[31]

In January 2014, O'Connell signed a new two-year contract to remain at Munster until June 2016.[32] He scored a try in Munster's 47-23 win against Toulouse in the Heineken Cup quarter-final on 5 April 2014.[33]

O'Connell started for Munster in their 26-27 away win against Sale Sharks in the European Rugby Champions Cup on 18 October 2014.[34] He also started in the 14-3 win against Saracens F.C. in Round 2 on 24 October 2014.[35]

Ireland[edit]

O'Connell made his debut for Ireland against Wales in the 2002 Six Nations Championship, starting alongside Mick Galwey and scoring a try.[36] He was named in Ireland's squad for the 2003 Rugby World Cup[37] and played against Romania,[38] Namibia,[39] Argentina[40] and Australia[41] in the pool stage, and the 43–21 quarter-final defeat to France.[42]

In Ireland's opening game of the 2004 Six Nations Championship, O'Connell captained the side in the absence of Brian O'Driscoll.[43] He also played in the game against Scotland on 27 March 2004, a game in which Ireland secured their first Triple Crown for 19 years.[44]

He was also part of the Ireland team that won a Triple Crown in the 2006 Six Nations Championship.[45]

He scored the last ever International try at the Old Lansdowne Road before it was demolished and rebuilt as the Aviva Stadium, a game in which Ireland won their third Triple Crown in four years.[46]

O'Connell was shortlisted for the International Rugby Board player of the year in 2006, and was the only Northern Hemisphere nominee. The other four nominees were Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Chris Latham and Fourie du Preez. McCaw was the eventual winner.[47]

O'Connell again took over from an injured O'Driscoll as Ireland captain in their historic match against France in the 2007 Six Nations Championship, the first rugby match ever at Croke Park.[48] O'Connell was awarded the Man of the match accolade following Ireland's historic (and record breaking) 43–13 win over England at Croke Park during the 2007 Six Nations Championship.[49]

He was named in Ireland's squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.[50] He played against Namibia,[51] Georgia,[52] France[53] and Argentina,[54] as Ireland crashed out in the pool stage of the tournament.

Paul O'Connell winning the line-out against Argentina at the 2007 Rugby World Cup

O'Connell was a member of the victorious Ireland team that won the 2009 Six Nations Championship and Grand Slam.[55]

O'Connell in action for Ireland

He played in all of Ireland's 2009 November Test matches against Australia,[56] Fiji[57] and South Africa.[58] O'Connell missed Ireland's first two matches of the 2010 Six Nations Championship due to injury, but returned to play England, Wales and Scotland. He missed Ireland's 2010 Summer Tests due to a groin injury that became infected, and also missed the 2010 Autumn Tests.

O'Connell was selected in Ireland's 2011 Six Nations Championship squad,[59] playing against Italy,[60] France,[61] Scotland,[62] Wales[63] and England.[64]

He was selected in Ireland's 2011 Rugby World Cup training squad for the warm-up tests in August 2011.[65] He played in both tests against France,[66][67] captained Ireland in their final warm-up Test against England[68] and was selected in Ireland's 30-man squad to go to New Zealand.[69] He received the Man of the Match award in the opening pool game against the USA.[70] He started in Ireland's historic 6–15 victory against Australia, their first win against Australia at a World Cup.[71] O'Connell also started against Italy in Ireland's final pool game.[72] He started against Wales in their 22–10 quarter-final defeat.[73]

It was announced on 30 December 2011 that O'Connell would captain Ireland in the absence of Brian O'Driscoll during the 2012 Six Nations Championship.[74][75] The Ireland squad for the 2012 Six Nations was named on 18 January 2012.[76] He was ruled out for the remainder of the 2012 Six Nations after a knee injury sustained in the game against France, which required a recovery period of 3–6 weeks.[77]

The knee injury was worse than first feared and it ruled O'Connell out of the 2012 Ireland tour to New Zealand.[78] He was also ruled out of the 2012 Autumn Tests with a back injury.[79] Surgery to resolve the back injury ruled O'Connell out of the 2013 Six Nations Championship.[80]

On 23 October 2013, O'Connell was named in the Ireland squad for the 2013 Autumn Tests.[81] He was named by new coach Josef Schmidt as the new Ireland captain on 7 November 2013.[82][83] O'Connell made his first appearance for Ireland since March 2012 on 9 November 2013, when he came off the bench against Samoa.[84] He started against Australia on 16 November 2013.[85] O'Connell also started against New Zealand on 24 November 2013.[86]

On 27 January 2014, O'Connell was named in Ireland's 34-man squad for the opening two fixtures of the 2014 Six Nations Championship.[87] He missed Ireland's opening 28-6 win against Scotland on 2 February 2014 with a chest infection.[88] He returned to captain Ireland against Wales on 8 February 2014.[89] O'Connell started in the 13-10 loss to England on 22 February 2014.[90] He started against Italy on 8 March 2014.[91] O'Connell started the 20-22 win away to France on 15 March 2014, a win that secured the 2014 Championship for Ireland.[92]

O'Connell was named as captain of the Ireland squad for the 2014 Tour to Argentina on 19 May 2014.[93] He started the first test against Argentina on 7 June 2014.[94] O'Connell also started the second test against Argentina on 14 June 2014.[95]

He was named in the Ireland squad for the 2014 Guinness Series on 21 October 2014, continuing as captain.[96] O'Connell started in the 29-15 win against South Africa on 8 November 2014.[97] He also started in the 26-23 win against Australia on 22 November 2014, earning the Man-of-the-Match award.

British and Irish Lions[edit]

2005[edit]

O'Connell was selected in the squad for the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.[98] He won his first Test cap for the Lions on 25 June 2005, starting in the first test defeat to New Zealand.[99] O'Connell also started the second and third tests.[100][101]

2009[edit]

On 21 April 2009, O'Connell was named as the British and Irish Lions Captain for the 2009 tour to South Africa.[102] He started the first test defeat with Alun Wyn Jones on 20 June 2009,[103] but started the narrow second test loss with Simon Shaw.[104] O'Connell led the Lions to their first test victory since 2001 in the third test.[105]

2013[edit]

O'Connell was selected for his third Lions tour on 30 April 2013, named in the squad for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.[106] He captained the side in their opening tour fixture against the Barbarians on 1 June 2013 in the absence of the injured Sam Warburton, scoring a try in the 59–8 win.[107] O'Connell came off the bench in the 12–22 win against the Reds on 8 June 2013.[108] O'Connell started against Waratahs on 15 June 2013.[109] He started in the Lions first Test 21–23 victory against Australia on 22 June 2013.[110] O'Connell was ruled out of the remainder of the 2013 tour after suffering a fractured arm in the first Test against Australia.[111] It was announced on 26 June 2013 that O'Connell would be staying on for the remainder of tour in a coaching role.[112]

Personal life[edit]

O'Connell announced on the Late Late Show on 29 January 2010 that his girlfriend Emily O'Leary was six months pregnant with their first child. The baby was born on 15 April 2010 at the Mid-Western Regional Maternity in Limerick.[113] He has been named Paddy O'Connell. O'Connell and O'Leary became engaged in June 2012[114] and married on 27 July 2013.[115]

He possesses impressive upper body strength, being able to bench press over 180 kg (400 lb).[116]

O'Connell was awarded the Freedom of Limerick City in a ceremony in April 2012.[117]

He supports English Premier League football team Everton F.C.[118]

Honours[edit]

Munster[edit]

Ireland[edit]

British and Irish Lions[edit]

  • British and Irish Lions tours:

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.irishrugby.ie/rugby/fixturesandresults/squads_ireland.php?player=4562&includeref=dynamic
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  114. ^ "Rugby star Paul O'Connell set to tie the knot". limerickleader.ie. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  115. ^ "Perfect match as Paul O'Connell marries new wife Emily in France". independent.ie. 27 July 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  116. ^ "15 of the Biggest Beasts in Rugby". theathleticbuild.com. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
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  118. ^ "Calm down O'Connell". espn.co.uk. 14 July 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Peter O'Mahony
Munster captain
October 2013
Succeeded by
Peter O'Mahony
Preceded by
Jamie Heaslip
Ireland captain
November 2013
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Brian O'Driscoll
Tour Captain
Gareth Thomas
Active captain
British and Irish Lions Captain
2009
Succeeded by
Sam Warburton