LIMERICK rugby legend Paul O’Connell has been made a Freeman of the City at an outdoor ceremony this Sunday.
The Munster and Lions captain, 32, received the honour in front of a large crowd of members of the public and invited guests.
Many well known faces from the rugby fraternity were present, including Ireland coach Declan Kidney, Ronan O’Gara, Donncha O’Callaghan, Marcus Horan, David Wallace, Alan Quinlan, Keith Earls and Peter Clohessy.
Addressing the crowd of more than 1,000 people, the second row said: “This something I will treasure for the rest of my life. It’s truly an honour for me to receive this award from my native city. Sharing this with Emily and my son Paddy makes it all the more special.”
He dedicated the freedom to every underage coach he ever had.
“Limerick’s passion for sport is the heartbeat of this city, it’s what makes us tick. It’s an honour to be considered as an Ambassador for this city and I’m humbled to be added on a list with such inspirational figures,” he added.
Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Jim Long described Paul O’Connell as “an icon in today’s world for his contribution to the world of sport.”
“He has served his City, Province and Country in outstanding fashion throughout his rugby career,” he said. “He is now known throughout the world as Captain Fantastic, a title he achieved for his passion and love for the game. His respect for the opposition both on and off the field of play has been returned tenfold to the benefit of the Lions, Ireland, Munster, Young Munster, Limerick and indeed, of his family.”
The Freedom of Limerick is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon an individual by Limerick City Council. A total of 64 Honorary Freedoms have been granted by Limerick City Council since 1877.
Click here to watch a video report from the Freedom of the City conferring ceremony.