Donncha O’Callaghan has revealed an evening with folk legend Christy Moore has helped Ireland relax ahead of Saturday’s crunch RBS 6 Nations clash with Scotland.
Moore performed at a private audience for the Irish camp at their Killiney base on Monday night with several players singing alongside one of the nation’s most popular musicians.
"We were lucky enough that Patrick O’Reilly, our bag man, was able to get on to Christy Moore who came in and did a private gig for the squad and management," said O’Callaghan.
"It was a great night that we really enjoyed. To have someone of Christy’s quality come in and put on a show like he did was great.
"He was so approachable and nice to us all. A few guys sang with him and I was lucky enough to be one of those – as were Luke Fitzgerald, Denis Leamy and Ronan O’Gara.
"It was a great night. I sang ’City of Chicago’ with him. It was a great honour. Sometimes you need distractions during a big championship like the Six Nations.
"Christy is a huge rugby fan and his knowledge of the guys in the room was incredible.
"He sings the music of the soul and we all rolled in behind him – it was Irish to the core."
O’Callaghan, though, is braced for a brutal encounter against the Scots.
"When you look at your team-mates you see four guys got bad news, so you know how lucky you are to be involved in it," he said.
"Scotland use the whole pitch and I know we’ll be sore and tired afterwards but you wouldn’t want it any other way when you’re representing your country."