'Seriously inspirational' Paul O'Connell addresses Europe's Ryder Cup team

Colm Kinsella

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Colm Kinsella

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ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

'Seriously inspirational' Paul O'Connell addresses Europe's Ryder Cup team

Bill Murray, Huey Lewis, Niall Horan and Paul O'Connell played a match at Hazeltine Pictures: Sportsfile

FORMER Munster and Ireland captain Paul O’Connell addressed Europe’s Ryder Cup team last night on an invite from team captain Darren Clarke.

Clarke is using Irish rugby  side’s ‘shoulder to shoulder’ theme as his team’s motto this week for the biennial match with the USA at Hazeltine, Minnesota.

European captain Clarke described Limerickman O’Connell as a ‘seriously inspirational’ figure. 

Clarke said: “There's no finer an example of shoulder to shoulder than Paul O'Connell. He has legendary status both at home and in terms of leading the British and Irish Lions, who obviously always play away from home.

“So with us being away from home, he was my option and choice to come and address the team. I'm very excited hearing what he had to say and the way that he's going to put his thoughts across.

“We (Paul O’Connell and I) have spoken at length about what my whole thought process was, about my thinking for the team and Paul is aware of that.

"From everybody that I've spoken to who have heard Paul address teams, he is seriously inspirational. So I feel very fortunate and privileged that he's there to join us."

Earlier in the day, O’Connell, an 11 handicapper, took part in a nine-hole scramble celebrity match at the Hazeltine course where Europe and the US will battle it out for three days beginning on Friday. He partnered One Direction’s Irish singer Niall Horan against US comedian Bill Murray and rock band leader Huey Lewis.

The match ended honours ever. O’Connell and Horan were the only European pair not to lose as the USA came out on top in the three remaining fourballs.

Other members of the European team included soccer stars Andriy Shevchenko and Alessandro Del Piero, former tennis great Martina Navratilova, while the US side also included Michael Phelps, the renowed swimmer who has won 22 Olympic medals.