The banner, honouring Paul O'Connell, in the city
A GIANT billboard paying tribute to Paul O’Connell has been unfurled in his native Limerick.
The banner, bearing the caption ‘Limerick Born and Red’, has been re-erected above Brown Thomas on the city's main thoroughfare of O'Connell Street, where it also hung last summer, to mark the legendary rugby player’s retirement announcement earlier this week.
It was installed late this Thursday night.
Mayor of Limerick City and County, Cllr Liam Galvin, said the gesture was representative of the "warm affection with which Paul is held by the people of Limerick”.
“Paul has been a wonderful ambassador for Limerick and for the sport of rugby and it is only right and fitting that we pay this public tribute to him," said the Mayor.
"Paul has created some wonderful sporting memories for the people of this country throughout his illustrious career with Munster, Ireland and the Lions. He has in no small way helped to establish Limerick as a sporting capital in Ireland and I have no doubt that he, as Freeman of Limerick, will continue to be a key figure in local sport and the community for years to come.
"Paul is thoroughly deserving of the plaudits he has received from the highest level of society in recent days and on behalf of the Elected Members of Limerick City and County Council and the people of Limerick, I want to wish him the very best for the future," said Mayor Galvin.
The banner is one of the largest ever to grace the city and was first installed in July of last year to mark O’Connell’s departure from his beloved Munster, when, pre-injury curtailing his career, he was bound for Toulon after the Rugby World Cup.
The giant billboard poster measures 33m long and is 10m high and was greeted with an effusive reaction on social media when it was unfurled, with the hashtag #ThanksPaulie trending in Ireland.