Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

O'Driscoll bids to leave Croke Park with big bang

All eyes will be on Brian O'Driscoll today as he wins his 100th cap
All eyes will be on Brian O'Driscoll today as he wins his 100th cap

Brian O’Driscoll has told his Irish team-mates to depart Croke Park in a blaze of glory.

The GAA headquarters has been Ireland’s rugby stars’ home for the past three seasons during which Lansdowne Road has been rebuilt.

Tomorrow (5pm kick-off) marks Ireland’s final game at what has been their highly productive temporary home.

By beating Scotland they can complete their fifth Triple Crown in seven years and their second in successive seasons.

Captain O’Driscoll, who grew up in Clontarf, a brisk 15-minute walk from Croke Park, is determined to see his side leave the 83,000-seater stadium victorious and with their heads held high having given the people of Ireland a night to remember.

“Playing at Croke Park has been marvellous,” he said.

“It’s a fabulous stadium and certainly the playing surface is as good as any we’ve played on.

“The GAA have treated us magnificently so it would be fitting to leave on a winning note for our friends here and the people of Ireland as a whole.”

Coach Declan Kidney was equally insistent that his side will give everything to ensure that tomorrow evening’s farewell ends with the right result to launch a memorable party.

“The GAA’s treatment of us from day one could not have been better and I cannot think of a better or more appropriate way of marking our leaving at the end of a very successful time at Croke Park than to clinch a Triple Crown here,” he said.

Tommy Bowe added: “We'll be very sad to see it go but we want to finish with a bang. When we first moved to Croke Park people probably thought we wouldn't be able to sell it out as many times as we have. People from GAA backgrounds have enjoyed the rugby and we've been able to deliver on the pitch, which is special for us.”

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