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Northside plans own award to 'reclaim' rugby hero O'Driscoll

BRIAN O'Driscoll is to be reclaimed as a northsider after he was officially made an honorary southsider this week.

The Irish rugby captain was awarded a civic honour by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council yesterday.

However, politicians north of the Liffey are now to petition Dublin City Council to grant O'Driscoll its own civic award.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Labour councillor Jane Horgan Jones, who -- like the rugby hero -- is from Clontarf in Dublin 3. She is being backed by party colleague Aodhan O Riordain TD.

Ms Horgan Jones told the Herald that the award would be a great opportunity "given [O'Driscoll's] success and the success of the Irish team" to encourage participation in sport, particularly in Clontarf.

She suggested the council could offer "something along the lines of a bursary".

"It's something we should talk to local businesses about," she added.

Accepting the Dun Laoghaire council recognition, O'Driscoll said: "I am at heart a northsider but at the same time I schooled in Blackrock and I live over here."

He was "honoured" to be given the award and added. "I love this part of the city, it's where I see my home now."

The Leinster star pointed out he "married a southside girl", the actress Amy Huberman.

It was the first ever civic honour given by Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council.

A scholarship in O'Driscoll's name worth €5,000, and sponsored by the council, was awarded to Andrew Boyle of UCD rugby club.

comurphy@herald.ie