Skip to content

Ireland rugby ace Paul O’Connell would love to see his children follow in his footsteps

Paul O’Connell says he would love to see his children follow his footsteps into the world of rugby.

The rugby icon enjoyed a seriously impressive career and captained the Ireland, Munster and British and Irish Lions teams before deciding to retire in 2015.

Paul is still hugely involved with the sport however and works as both a coach and pundit, and hopes that one of his children will inherit his love of the game.

Read more: Ireland rugby star Tadhg Beirne loved being at home with fiancé Harriet when rugby stopped in lockdown

The Limerick native and his wife Emily are parents to Paddy (11), Lola (8) and four-year-old Felix, who are already trying their hand at different sports.

Paul told RSVP Live: “They wouldn’t be obsessed with sports like I was when I was young for sure, but they do enjoy it and play a bit of everything.

“In our house we’ve got Gaelic football, camogie, hockey, rugby, golf, swimming, gymnastics and speech and drama too.

“We live in Castletroy in Limerick where there is always lots going on so me and my wife are always in the car driving them around for matches, or watching them at training.

“My youngest son Felix is ​​still in Montessori, but the other two are in primary school and that’s great fun at the moment because the GAA season in the school has just kicked off.

“So it’s great fun, but a very busy house!”



Paul will always be known as one of the best rugby players the country has ever seen.

However, it is a very physically demanding sport and the injuries can be quite nasty.

Would he be happy to see his kids follow his footsteps into the popular sport?

“I would be,” Paul replied.

“My eldest son Paddy plays rugby and has done since he was five or six years old. The best time to learn how to tackle is when you’re small, and tackling then becomes a little bit easier as you get older. I’d have no problem with him playing rugby full-time.”

The athlete is wary of the risks that come with the game, but is confident that there is more knowledge about injuries these days.

He continued: “The big thing we have in the game now is an awareness of the risks. Maybe back in my younger years or in the early 2000s we weren’t as aware as we could have been.

“From a medical point of view, the collisions are hard, there’s no about it and you need to make sure you are well educated on the risks and how to manage them. Players need to be sensitive and flag when they’re injured, and make sure that they’re given an opportunity to recover.

“So no, I’d have no problem with my kids playing, there’s a really good awareness of the risks and coaches these days are very good at looking out for that.”

This month, Paul has joined forces with children’s charity Barnardos to launch the brand new school campaign – The Barnardos Big Active, supported by Aldi.

The campaign aims to help students of all ages and disabilities to take care of both their physical and mental wellbeing, and as long-time ambassador of the charity, Paul said it was a no-brainer to get involved.

“I’ve worked with Barnardos for over 10 years now and I am always blown away by the work they do, and how they do it,” he said.

“Over the years I’ve helped out with fundraising and publicity for their campaigns, and this is another brilliant initiative of theirs.

“It’s for primary and secondary schools and encourages kids to look after their physical wellbeing but also their mental wellbeing so that they are able to recognize their different emotions.

“Hopefully kids get involved so they can raise some money for Barnardos, as well as learn about their local community and the charitable side of things.”



Paul O'Connell Launches New Schools Initiative – The Barnardos Big Active supported by Aldi
Paul O’Connell Launches New Schools Initiative – The Barnardos Big Active supported by Aldi

Working with Barnardos has made Paul more appreciative of his upbringing and the life he has led as the charity made him realize how lucky he was growing up.

He continued: “I always said I had a normal childhood – two parents at home, a big breakfast every morning, went to school with a healthy lunch, a big dinner when I came home, was made to do my homework and was driven to all sorts of different sports.

“We think that’s a normal childhood but when you dig deep down, it’s actually an unbelievably lucky childhood. Barnardos’ work makes me realize how lucky I was growing up.

“Growing up, every kid should have plenty of love and support, healthy food, discipline and someone to teach us right from wrong, but not everyone has that.

“Barnardos is trying to change, or improve, that and support children from disadvantaged homes.”

Barnardos children’s charity was joined by Paul O’Connell to launch a brand-new school campaign – The Barnardos Big Active supported by Aldi. This school-focused campaign is designed to help students of all ages and abilities to be resilient in dealing with stress and anxiety, and to take care of their physical and mental wellbeing. Barnardos wants schools across the country to register at www.thebigactive.ie and get active to raise funds for vulnerable children across Ireland.

Readmore: Alan Quinlan says quitting as coach on Ireland’s Fittest Family was down to scheduling

Read more: Greg O’Shea says Love Island fans turned on him after he won because he didn’t follow the path

Get the latest RSVP headlines straight to your inbox for free by sign up to our newsletter

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.