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18th Oct 2015

VIDEO: Behind the scenes footage of Paul O’Connell leaving a ground for the final time as an Irish player

Paulie has left the building

Patrick McCarry


Paul O’Connell’s Ireland career came to an abrupt and emotional ending last weekend when, as the Telegraph’s Mick Cleary so aptly put it, he was “carried off on his shield” after his horrific injury against France.

With the benefit of hindsight that may have been the better option as we were allowed a week for the world of rugby to properly honour and pay tribute to one of Ireland’s greatest ever athletes in any sport.

Had he remained fit and been part of today’s humbling by Argentina, O’Connell’s departure may have been lost somewhat in the interrogation and analysis of Ireland’s defeat.

Of course, had he remained fit maybe Ireland wouldn’t have lost the game, but that’s another story.

Instead O’Connell sat in the stand and cut a frustrated figure (just like the rest of us) as the game, and the tournament, slipped out of Ireland’s grasp.

And if his arrival at the stadium wasn’t heartbreaking enough, then his departure – slowly descending the Millennium Stadium stairs, painful step by painful step, is equally hard to watch.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Paul O’Connell has left the building.

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