They queued for four hours in advance to meet the man who is without a doubt a true Limerick legend.

Coinciding with the release of his much-anticipated autobiography, Paul O’Connell signed copies of his book, The Battle, in O’Mahony’s Bookshop .

Over 500 people queued for hours to meet former rugby legend Paul O’Connell at his book signing in Limerick city this past Sunday, eager to get a signed copy of his book The Battle.

The book signing was due to begin at 2pm, however after The Battle author observed images of the lengthy queues on I Love Limerick’s social media, he arrived early so as not to disappoint fans on his home ground in the Treaty City.

Paul O Connell book signing at O'Mahony's Bookshop. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Paul O Connell book signing at O’Mahony’s Bookshop. Picture: Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick

Even before he was due to meet his legions of fans, he had planned to sign more than 200 copies of The Battle, which were pre-ordered by customers who couldn’t attend the signing.

The Battle was co-written with Alan English, former editor of the Limerick Leader and current editorial director of Iconic Newspapers, which own the Leader. He also attended the signing along with many family members.

I had the honour of interviewing Paul at the book signing. With typical modesty, when asked how he felt about the phenomenal turnout, he joked that the book might be an easy Christmas present for people, as many queued to purchase several books for friends and family members.

The former Munster, Ireland and Lion’s captain described The Battle as “the full story. I think it’s very honest and I hope people will enjoy it,” he said.

I asked him what exactly was ‘The Battle’ he faced, he revealed, “the battle was mainly with myself, the injuries, playing high-pressure games, trying to win things, trying to be successful,” and told me, “blaming myself when we lost a game made me better.”

I asked him how it felt to be so loved by the people of Limerick, “I am very proud of my Limerick roots. I love living here, the sense of humour the people have, what a great place to live.”

I admire Paul so much, not just for his sporting achievements, but for his soul. Paul is a man who is truly proud of our beautiful city as he has said himself on numerous occasions and proved undoubtedly over the years through his involvement with positive campaigns and charity work. Congrats Paul. All of Limerick are rooting for you!

You can find out more about the  Paul O Connell book, ‘The Battle’, here.
Here you can read more stories about Paul O Connell.


Former WBO World Middleweight Champion and one of Limerick’s great all time sports people, Andy Lee, returned to St Francis Boxing Club for the official handing over of keys to Limerick City and County Council of a property adjacent to the club.

The property acquired by the club will provide what was described as a much-needed extension that will allow the club to expand from what is currently a 40-member capacity to over 70 members.

Former Middleweight Champion Andy Lee spoke of what it means to see the club where he honed his skill receive the expansion, describing the difference it can make by putting “People on a path in life.”

He added, ”You have to invest in young people, give them a purpose. You get a life-long return from it. The St Francis Club has turned out and still is turning out national champions.“Who knows, maybe we already have an up and coming world champion in our midst in the club and that’s something we all dream about.”

Andy Lee“Who knows, maybe we already have an up and coming world champion in our midst in the club and that’s something we all dream about.”

The adjacent property, which will help double the club’s capacity, was recently purchased by the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government through Limerick City and County Council. St Francis’ is the longest running boxing club in Ireland and in the past decade has produced over 20 All-Ireland Champions as well a WBO World Middleweight Champion in Andy Lee.

St Francis Boxing Club President Noel Griffin, who has over 60 years experience in boxing said, “Today is a dream day for us. We have been constrained in terms of capacity for so long that I expect we will double the members in the club within weeks of the new extension opening.”

At the ceremony, speeches echoed the importance of this expansion for the club and the community, focusing on the impact clubs like St Francis’ have on the youth in the city.

Speaking to Ken Moore of St Francis Boxing club said, “We will develop to a membership of 70 people, 30 extra boys and girls will have somewhere to go every night. It will get them off the streets, away from their video game consoles. They will be here learning a skill and great sport.”

You can read more stories about Andy Lee here.
Here you can find more sports stories.


Rugby legend Paul O Connell awarded UL doctorate honour

Dr Paul O Connell with Richard Lynch from I Love Limerick. Photo by Jonathan Baynes for

Limerick rugby legend Paul O Connell was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science at a ceremony in front of 1,000 invited guests on Thursday November 5, 2015.

The former Ireland captain, who bowed out of international rugby after picking up a hamstring injury at the World Cup last month, is the 100th person to receive an honorary doctorate at the University of Limerick.

Irish head coach Joe Schmidt, Munster players past and present, his family and friends, including wife Emily, son Paddy and daughter Lola were at this special event celebrating.

“I am delighted, I am a bit overwhelmed by it. I had a look through the list of previous conferees – it is great company that I will be keeping. I had a lovely phone call from Declan Kidney this morning – I was at his conferring previously,” said Paul.

O’Connell, who won 108 Irish caps over a glorious Irish career, said that the University, where he completed three of four years of a computer engineering degree before professional rugby came calling in 2001, had played a “big part” in his life.

“When you grow up in Limerick, the University ends up being a big part of your life, even if you don’t go here as a student,” he said.

“To get appreciated by your home university is something that is very special. I have played in teams all my life, great Munster and Irish teams and to be getting individual honours sometimes when you play a team sport is a bit strange and it can be a bit embarrassing because you are never in that situation, it is never about the individual when you are part of a team.

For 15 years the Munster icon has trained almost daily on campus in UL, and has a long association with the campus that dates back his days as a swimmer in the original PESS swimming pool as a four or five year old, he explained.

Asked about a break with that routine now with his move to Toulon in the offing – albeit with months of rehab for his injury ahead of him – he said simply: “It is part of life, part of the circle of life.

“I think the Toulon move is something I gave a lot of thought to and I swayed back and forth as to whether it was the right thing or the wrong thing to do. But I think for whatever I want to do for the rest of my life, I think I will be all the better for having this experience and it is something I am really looking forward to,” he said.

“Limerick will always be my home and it will always be somewhere I would like to come back to.”

O’Connell explained why he wouldn’t rule out a return to education in the future: “I have had good excuses with having two kids and having a senior role in the Irish team and Munster team as well. I have toyed with it, I have come in and spoken to the University plenty of times about the possibility of coming back and doing various things and I cooled on the idea as well. But I probably have 18 months left playing rugby and I will be taking a little bit of time out after that and who knows, I could end up back here as a student as well,” he admitted.

UL President Professor Don Barry paid tribute to the rugby legend, who has been a director of the UL Foundation since 2011, saying that the occasion was an “opportunity to honour those who have inspired, who have led with courage and passion and who have made great contributions in their fields of endeavour.

“Much thought, consideration and deliberation goes into deciding who is worthy – except when it is a real-life super hero, and particularly when his name is Paul O’Connell.

“Today I am very proud that UL bestowed upon Paul our highest honour. He was already an important member of the UL family, but today he accepted a place in the history of this institution,” he added.

Read Richard’s tribute to Paul O Connell here.

Read more about Paul O Connell here.

Read more about UL here.

Watch our exclusive interview with rugby legend Paul O Connell 

Richard Lynch pays tribute to rugby legend Paul O Connell

Picutred: Richard Lynch and Paul O’Connell

Richard Lynch pays tribute to Rugby Legend Paul O Connell on his retirement from International Rugby.The IRFU and Munster have confirmed that Paul O Connell will be released from his contract at Munster after this autumn’s Rugby World Cup.

In an interview with Richard Lynch who is the creator of, he describes how grateful he is to have worked with Paul O’Connell from the Special Olympics in 2010 right up to Team Limerick Clean-Up in April 2015.

Richard explained: “On behalf of myself and I Love Limerick I would like to pay tribute to the retiring Munster and International rugby legend who I have worked with on a number of occasions since the beginning of I Love Limerick.

Paul is a man who is truly proud of our beautiful city as he has said himself on numerous occasions and proved undoubtedly over the years through his involvement with positive campaigns and charity work.”

In April 2012 Paul was made a Freeman of Limerick which is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon an individual from Limerick City and County Council. On receiving the award Paul explained that this award was something he will treasure for the rest of his life; “it is truly an honour for me to receive this award from my native city.”

More recently, Paul has also put extraordinary time and effort into campaigning for Team Limerick Clean-Up which was an event sponsored by the JP McManus Benevolent Fund on Good Friday of this year.Paul has also expressed his love for his home city through many different projects he has campaigned for over the years. Richard added: “I have been lucky enough to work with Paul throughout projects such as the Special Olympics which took place in Limerick in 2010 and again in 2014. Paul actively campaigned for volunteers to get involved and part of the success of the event is certainly down to his involvement and the spirit he brought to the event, endearing more and more people to get involved.”

Richard said: “Paul launched the event back in September 2014 where I had the privilege of working with him again for such a fantastic and positive cause. This man couldn’t be prouder of Limerick and Limerick truly couldn’t be prouder of him, up to 10,000 people showed up on Good Friday to clean up their city and local areas which is no doubt down to the encouragement they received from one of the countries favourite sports stars. Speaking at the launch I remember talking to Paul for a documentary for I Love Limerick and he really cared not only about the clean-up  but also about the future of Limerick, he said: “we need to get as many people out onto the city as we can to clean it up and tidy it up for the series of events that happen every summer in the city. Teaching kids how to look after the city and the county and to be proud of it and setting those standards which hopefully they will carry throughout their lives”. Not only has Paul O’Connell been an ambassador for multiple charities throughout Limerick over the years, but his sporting achievements are simply second to none making him someone we hold in very high prestige here at I Love Limerick and of course throughout the entire county and country.”

He made his Ireland debut against Wales in February 2002 and has won 101 caps for his country. With Ireland, Paul has won a Grand Slam (2009), led his country to two RBS 6 Nations championship titles (2014, 2015) and claimed four Triple Crowns (2004, 2006, 2007, 2009).Paul made his senior Munster debut in August 2001 and has represented the province on 178 occasions. With Munster, Paul has won two European Cups (2006, 2008), three League titles (2003, 2009, 2011) and a Celtic Cup in 2005.

In 2009, Paul led the British and Irish Lions Tour of South Africa.  A three time Lions Tourist (2005, 2009, 2013) Paul played in a total of 7 Lions Tests and was a member of the Series winning side in Australia in 2013.

Mayor of Limerick City and County, Cllr Kevin Sheahan, has also paid tribute to Paul: “He has served his City, Province and Country in outstanding fashion throughout his rugby career. He is a man who loves Limerick, its people and the proud title that Limerick holds as sporting capital of Ireland and in turn, the people of Limerick idolise him. I would like to especially thank him for all the wonderful sporting memories he has helped create over the years with Munster Rugby, particularly so many unforgettable days in Thomond Park Stadium and two very special European finals in Cardiff”.

Richard finished by paying his respects to the work Paul has done and will hopefully continue to do: “Paul’s outstanding achievements have made him one of the most well respected and adored sports stars in the country and certainly here in Limerick. I would like to express how proud I am and everyone at I Love Limerick is of how he has served his city in extraordinary ways since the beginning of his rugby career. We would like to wish Paul and his family all the very best with their future endeavours, we hope he will continue to inspire the people of Limerick and Ireland like he has done for so many years now and we look forward to working with him on upcoming projects in the future. On my own behalf, thank you Paul and I wish you all best in the World Cup this autumn and beyond.”


Read more about Paul O’Connell’s charity work here.

Check out Paul O’Connell’s Facebook here.

Follow Paul O’Connell on Twitter here.