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Five years on from his final Munster game, does Paul O'Connell need his sport as much as Irish rugby needs him?

 

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Former Ireland lock Paul O'Connell (Morgan Treacy/Inpho)

Former Ireland lock Paul O'Connell (Morgan Treacy/Inpho)

©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Former Ireland lock Paul O'Connell (Morgan Treacy/Inpho)

Last Thursday, Paul O'Connell sat virtually alongside Ireland coach Andy Farrell and Dundalk manager Vinny Perth to chew the fat about coaching and analysis as part of the IRFU's Analytica 2020 conference.

It didn't matter that he was the only member of the panel who isn't currently coaching at the elite edge of their sport, when the former Ireland captain spoke his two esteemed co-panellists hung on every word.

Saturday marked the five-year anniversary of the Limerick legend's final Munster match. This was no fairytale farewell; a 31-13 hammering by a vastly superior Glasgow Warriors meant O'Connell finished with, as he wrote in his autobiography 'The Battle', "the biggest disappointment of my Munster career".