Did you scare anyone?
Paul O’Connell has given us some truly memorable moments over the years both on and off the pitch, but the one moment that will always sit with us is that famous speech in 2007.
Ireland were set to take on France in Croke Park in a crucial Six Nations clash and we were lucky enough a few months later to see exactly what went on in the dressing room beforehand thanks to a RTE documentary.
O’Connell has now for the first time addressed that famous speech.
There was a caricature of me: that psycho guy, over-competitive bordering on insane, every hour of the day. And there were stories to back up the impression that some people had – or maybe still have – about my personality: like nobody will play me at Monopoly because I ruin everything by being too desperate to win.
Maybe, like a lot of things, it was partly true. But I heard it so often that sometimes, when I just wanted to knock a bit of craic out of some game, I started questioning myself.
Am I losing my competitive instinct?
Am I not being myself here?
I know a lot of people’s impressions of my character came from what they saw of me in the dressing room at Croke Park in 2007, just before we played France in the Six Nations — the clip from the documentary where I was going on about `manic aggression’, about putting `the fear of God’ into someone. It was a good documentary, and people loved it, but it bugged me that I was never asked about the use of that clip, because it’s not something I would have agreed to. It’s just too intimate for people to be sitting down with a cup of tea and a biscuit watching it. It shouldn’t be for that kind of consumption.
That was me for half an hour before a rugby match, nearly ten years ago. It’s very different to how I was — and how We all were — in my later years with Ireland, but it’s probably what some people thought I was like all the time.
Check out the speech again below, in all it’s glory.