Paul O’Connell lined out with a homeless man and inspired him to keep living.
Chronically ill Craig Sproat was “contemplating death” after being forced to live rough metres from Ireland’s celeb row.
Desperate builder Craig said he had “given up” after setting up camp on Killiney beach six weeks ago following harrowing hostel experiences.
But Craig was given the boost he needed to survive after a surprise visit by Ireland captain O’Connell.
The Irish Sun revealed the Limerick legend spotted him living rough while out for a stroll along the beach in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup.
But instead of walking by, inspirational Paul took time out to try to rally Craig’s flagging spirits.
Craig told the Irish Sun: “I had given up hope before Paul O’Connell stopped and talked to me.
“I was overwhelmed with the support and decency Paul showed me. The authorities have ignored me but Paul didn’t — he gave me a huge lift when I was at rock bottom.
“I told him I was homeless and that I was living here on the beach. He said, ‘I’m sorry to hear that.’
“It was a good discussion, he was very sympathetic and genuine. It definitely helped to keep me going. When someone is not looking down their nose at you and stops and realises you are a human being and you have feelings and you can talk, it’s definitely uplifting, that’s for sure.
“When you are in a dark place, sometimes it’s little gestures that can help save you.”
Scot Sproat, who moved to Ireland eight years ago, first became homeless when sickness stopped him working on construction sites.
Diagnosed with the lung condition Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, he suffered a massive heart attack in January 2013.
He receives disability benefit but found himself living under a concrete beach slipway after being denied rent allowance by the State.
And Craig said O’Connell — who led Ireland to a 50-7 win against Canada in their World Cup opener — stopped him “throwing in the towel”.
He said: “The reason I put up the tent on the beach is that I had given up hope.
“I was told by different Government departments ‘we’re not interested, you’re not our problem’.
“When you get told that so many times, you’re forlorn, you’re forsaken, you’re lost.
“This beach is beautiful. I thought if I’m going to kick the bucket, then I might as well die here.
“Paul’s words and encouragement helped me keep going. He’s a fighter and I’m going to keep fighting too. When you are down, it’s the little things that help.”
Credit: The Irish Sun