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Tuesday 15 October 2019

O'Brien hip op 'a shot in the dark'

Sean O'Brien
Sean O'Brien

Sean O'Brien may just have played his last game of rugby - not just for Leinster, not just for Ireland.

The flanker's final lap of Irish rugby started from the moment he lifted the PRO14 League Cup late into an inclement Glasgow evening on Saturday.

It continued through the weekend before stopping off in the television studios of Virgin Media One yesterday.

The Carlow man looked remarkably fit and fresh and met a question about whether his hip injury could end his career with forthright honesty.

"It possibly could. It's a shot in the dark really," he said.

"It is going to be a whole surface of my hip joint. We'll see where it takes us.

"But it is one that I'm, you know, excited about - if it works - and it can keep my career going for another few years."

The man has suffered multiple injuries that limited his international cap total to 56 for Ireland.

The robust, brutal manner of his style of play tested his body to the limit and beyond.

This is reflected in the fact O'Brien was Ireland's best flanker for nine seasons, but missed out on the 2014 Six Nations championship and the 2018 Grand Slam.

You can also include Ireland's history-making defeat of the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016.

If that wasn't bad enough, he did make it back for the following week in Dublin when New Zealand took their revenge.

He was also unable to contribute to Ireland's first win over the Kiwis last November at The Aviva.

O'Brien has signed up for three years at London Irish, just promoted to the Premiership, reportedly at an astronomical salary of £450,000-per-annum.

The Director of Rugby Declan Kidney and coach Les Kiss were able to tempt O'Brien across the Irish sea when the Tullow Tank admitted the IRFU didn't even offer him 25pc of that sum to stay at home.

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