A GIANT tribute to a towering rugby legend from Limerick has been unfurled above the city streets.
One of the largest banners ever to grace the city has been unveiled above the Brown Thomas department store this Wednesday in a fitting tribute to Paul O’Connell.
The banner - with the message ‘Limerick born and red - #ThanksPaulie’ - was unveiled as a “token of appreciation” to the departing rugby player, soon to ply his trade on the Côte d’Azur with Toulon, hoisted by Limerick City and County Council.
The council tweeted a picture of the huge banner - extending from one end of Brown Thomas to the other - this Wednesday morning with the message: “A tribute from #Limerick to @Paul_OConnell! Share your memories using #ThanksPaulie”.
Newly elected Mayor, Cllr Liam Galvin, said the banner - measuring 33m long and 10m high - was a token of the Council and people of Limerick’s appreciation of the contribution made to sporting and community life by Paul.
“As a Freeman of Limerick and one of our most accomplished sports figures, Paul has played a central role in establishing Limerick as a sporting capital in Ireland. He is a wonderful ambassador for Limerick, Munster and Ireland and one who is recognised the world over,” said Mayor Galvin.
“On behalf of Limerick City and County Council, I would like to acknowledge Paul for all of the wonderful sporting memories he has helped create down through the years with Munster and Ireland. I wish him the best for the upcoming World Cup and his time with Toulon,” he added.
The reaction on social media has been sufficiently large, with the hashtag #ThanksPaulie trending in Ireland.
Munster Rugby hailed it as a “wonderful tribute” to the legend, who wore the red jersey 174 times for his province.
The @Limerick.ie account declared: “#ThanksPaulie for the exciting, nerve racking, edge of our seat memories! A true #Limerick legend!”
There has been no response from the great man himself yet to the tribute. One tweet cheekily noted the gaping hole O’Connell’s absence will leave in Limerick.
“What will they build on the soon to be vacant site where Paul O’Connell stood? Housing? A shopping centre?,” tweeted Ronan Delaney.