MUNSTER and Ireland legend Paul O’Connell says he has been humbled by the public reaction to his decision to join French club Toulon in the autumn.
He was speaking in Shannon Airport at the unveiling of a giant sculpture to commemorate Ireland’s 2007 victory over England in Croke Park
Titled The Day That Changed Ireland, the sculpture, by artist Paddy Campbell, captures a famous Irish lineout during which Paul O’Connell was raised high by teammates John Hayes and Donncha O’Callaghan to claim possession during the second half the historic fixture.
“It’s an incredible piece. I really can’t believe the size of it but the detail in it is incredible. It is a sculpture about a great moment in rugby for Ireland and beyond rugby. As a game, it all just clicked for us that day,” said Paul, who has confirmed that his last appearance for Ireland will be during this year’s World Cup in England and Wales.
John Hayes said the day was a remarkable one to be Irish and believes the statue is a great tribute.
“There was a huge build up but when the game started it went by so quickly. But it was as close to the perfect game as you could have hoped for. The statue is amazing but I will just have to walk by quickly every time I come into Shannon in case people think I am looking at myself,” he joked.
Shannon Group Neil Pakey said the sculpture will help to evoke the passion, culture and interests of the Shannon region.