Paul O’Connell: ‘I don’t remember a single half-time team talk’

 Rugby legend slays myth of inspirational pep talks as Castletroy Park updates renovation progress

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

'You’re banjaxed, tired, you’re under pressure and you get about 15 messages from three different coaches': Paul O'Connell

'You’re banjaxed, tired, you’re under pressure and you get about 15 messages from three different coaches': Paul O'Connell

RUGBY legend Paul O'Connell dropped some fascinating insights into his playing days at a special fundraising breakfast in the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick this week.

The former Munster, Ireland and Lions captain revealed that he never once remembered a half-time team talk from his playing days.

“I’ve never walked onto the pitch with any of the advice I’ve received at half time. You’re banjaxed, tired, you’re under pressure, and you get about 15 messages from three different coaches. One of the things I try and do at half time is give the players as little information as possible,” said O’Connell, who has just taken up a role with the Ireland under-20 rugby side.

Asked if he could see a time when he would be coach of the province he served with such distinction, he laughed: “I wish I knew the answer! I coach Bohs under-8s on a Sunday morning which is great fun.”

The former second row star was speaking in the Castletroy Park Hotel, where it was also revealed the multi-million euro upgrade to the Castletroy Park Hotel is on course to be completed by this summer.

Owner Pat McDonagh, speaking to the media after the fundraising business breakfast for the UL GAA club,, which the hotel sponsors, said the 24 new rooms would be ready by August.

At least 25 permanent roles will be created in the hotel, with the businessman’s project seeing a 50% expansion to the 107-bedroom outlet, a new fitness and leisure facility and a corporate business hub.

“The hotel needed renovation and reinvestment and this is what we’re doing to bring it up to the level of the current requirements of the business and the needs of the general public,” he added.

Meanwhile, it’s anticipated Limerick will welcome an eighth branch​ of Supermac’s in the near future, this move itself bringing about up to 60 new positions.

“We have plans which are too early to say exactly where, for another unit,” he confirmed. “But we also need to renovate one or two more which are there for a while.”

At the event, which attracted 350 people, Mr McDonagh announced a three-year extension to his hotel’s sponsorship of UL Wolves, which incorporates all sports. UL have won the Fitzgibbon Cup, Ashbourne Cup, Sigerson Cup and the Freshers Cup in the last five years.

He said: “It’s been a great sponsorship for both parties. It’s a win-win for both sides. When you have people involved in the GAA at UL and they’re so professional, it’s an easy one to do. UL GAA and UL Sports is now the leading third level institution in sports.”

Mr McDonagh also said recently-unveiled plans by Clare County Council to build a strategic economic zone on its side of the UL campus will create a “world of opportunity” for the college.

“It’s going to create tremendous opportunity for this area, the Shannon region, the Clare-Limerick region. The facilities that are going to be built there will prepare students for industry and whatever areas of expertise they want to develop,” he said. “Off the back of this, we will see various companies wanting to move to this area because of the facilities, because of the university, because they know there is a workforce trained to the business requirements they need.”