Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll is still our man


Amy Huberman and daughter Sadie look on as Brian O’Driscoll enters the dressing room at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Amy Huberman and daughter Sadie look on as Brian O’Driscoll enters the dressing room 
at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

This may come as a shock to celebrity watchers in Ireland and further afield, but the actress Amy Huberman, otherwise known as Brian O’Driscoll’s wife, is human after all.

And there’s a photograph from the Aviva Stadium late last Saturday afternoon that proves it as her hubby came to terms with the full impact of Ireland’s disappointing Six Nations draw with France.

A lot has been said and written about Dricco’s international intentions in the wake of the penultimate game of Ireland’s disappointing championship season.

Stripped of the captaincy by Declan Kidney before a ball was kicked in anger this year, many seem to be of the opinion that this is O’Driscoll’s final campaign in the green shirt.

The photo of Brian and Amy and their new daughter Sadie, taken in front of the tunnel after another arduous afternoon for the Leinster star, would appear to back that theory up.

Amy, new to motherhood but not new to rugby, appears to be crying real tears in the photo as she cuddles her husband and their young daughter, well aware perhaps that her beloved Brian may never play for his country at the old Lansdowne Road again.

Those who know how celebrities think may wonder if the photo opportunity presented by Mr. and Mrs. O’Driscoll was deliberate. After all, it made the front page of some of Ireland’s biggest newspapers and the only thing worse than being talked about, as the old saying goes, is not being talked about.

Others, of a less suspicious nature perhaps, will suggest that Mrs. O’Driscoll really just wanted to smother her husband with some love and affection after a rough day in the office for Ireland’s finest rugby player.

Personally speaking, I’m going to pitch my tent with the latter group in this argument and offer the opinion that Irish rugby cannot afford for Saturday’s draw to have been Brian O’Driscoll’s last home appearance in the green jersey.

He may be getting older – aren’t we all – but there is no doubt that a thirty-something Dricco has something tangible and real to offer any Ireland team for some time to come.

He proved that much again against the French in a game that served only to prove otherwise that Ireland’s time with Declan Kidney is done now, thank you very much.

I’d even go so far as to suggest that Dricco will still be around for next year’s Six Nations when Ireland will have a new coach, hopefully Joe Schmidt of Leinster.

I won’t put any money on it, simply because Cheltenham has already been a bit of a disaster after day one, but we need to keep Dricco onside and in the side.

Consider his performances this season when he’s ended up more bandages than an Egyptian mummy and still ended up as one of the few Irish players of note against Wales, Scotland, England and France.

Last Saturday he had to be thrown off the field physically by Cian Healy when a dead leg got the better of him – and 90 seconds later Dricco was back in the heart of the action.

His return didn’t just surprise the home fans, it actually upset the French who thought they had finally seen the back of him.

That’s how important Brian O’Driscoll is to any Irish team he plays in. To suggest he is past it now is to suggest that his experience, his drive and ambition and, most importantly, his leadership qualities are of no use to an Ireland side in transition.

Kidney all but suggested that at the start of the Six Nations when he handed the captain’s armband to Jamie Heaslip, a move that has backfired spectacularly as results have confirmed.

Kidney got it wrong to discard O’Driscoll on one level, and Ireland cannot afford to discard him on any more levels.