herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

How Bod's New York trip ended with him in a cell

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll celebrates after victory over Wales in 2009
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll celebrates after victory over Wales in 2009
Brian O'Driscoll with wife Amy Huberman

BRIAN O'Driscoll has revealed that when he was at his lowest point his dad, Frank, was the one to rally behind him and lift his spirits.

In the first published pages of his eagerly awaited autobiography, The Test, the rugby star reveals an emotional rollercoaster that almost made him give up the Irish captaincy.

He speaks openly about losing his best friend Barry Twomey to suicide in 2008.

The newly-retired player also revealed details of a New York arrest in the same year - after an REM concert in Madison Square Garden.

On a trip to New York with a group of friends, including his Ireland and Leinster teammate Shane Horgan, things went wrong after a misunderstanding outside the venue.

inmates

BOD revealed that he was wrongly arrested after his friend Damien O'Donoghue has a run-in with a drunk concert-goer and he was forced to spend a night in an infamous Manhattan jail.

He was lumped in with around 30 inmates, not the room mates he had intended for his 'lad's trip'.

"They put me in a cell," he writes. "Three-quarters of an hour passes. My head races, wondering how long it's going to take."

The stress of both incidents took their toll but he but was talked around by sports psychologist Enda McNulty. The Clontarf man rebuilt his confidence to devastating effect and played what he refers to as the "biggest year of my career".

With a Grand Slam and a Heineken Cup under his belt he was keen to nab the IRB Player of the Year Award.

"It's the one time in my life I want an individual award," he said in an extract from his book.

Losing out on the title to the All-Black's Richie McCaw was disappointing but he managed to hide his upset from everyone - except his dad Frank.

The doctor penned an emotional four page letter to his son commiserating with his missed chance.

"Mum and I were terribly disappointed for you, but your dignity in the face of such an insult was incredible," Frank said. "Nothing will convince me that you were not deserving of this honour too, but we never needed you to win trophies and awards to be proud of you," his dad went on and signed off: "Love to Amy. Dad".

hnews@herald.ie

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