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 www.ILoveLimerick.ie, 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”.
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.