Ireland rugby hero Brian O’Driscoll has revealed how fatherhood has changed him forever – and put sport into context.
The new dad has told reporters at an adidas press conference in Dublin how the birth of his daughter Sadie even completely overshadowed defeat to the old enemy England.
He has also admitted that watching his wife Amy Huberman in labour meant he was ineffective as a leader on the pitch against England just hours later.
Drico confessed: “I don’t even remember a lot of the game and I was in my own world for much of the time.
“It was the sort of match that needed a bit of leadership from me but which I wasn’t quite able to deliver. It was all quite bizarre. I didn’t make any great errors but I didn’t add a huge amount either.”
O’Driscoll then told the Irish Independent that rugby is now a very definite second on his list of priorities.
He added: “Of course rugby has been and is important. But it’s eclipsed at every level by a long, long way when you have a child.
“Games will come and go but some things are here to stay. It dominates your life. I would have thought a lot about rugby matters at this time of year.
“Now I don’t have time to think about rugby at all. That’s no bad thing, perhaps, with the results we’ve had over the past couple of weeks.”
Sadie’s arrival on the morning of the England game came as a surprise to the new mum and dad.
Drico revealed: “The call from Amy came through early on the Sunday morning of the game.
“The phone went at 8.30am and I saw Amy’s name flash up and I knew then we were under way.
“She was unbelievably calm, a lot more so than I was. I rushed to the hospital, Sadie was born by caesarean section, we all had an hour together and then I had to pack a bag and go to play rugby.
“It was very weird. The management had given me until 1.15pm. I was back at the Shelbourne Hotel by midday. I didn’t want to talk to anyone but I had to wolf down my food to refuel in time for kick-off.
“I was playing a game of that importance and yet, in an instant, my whole perspective had changed. This most wonderful thing had happened. Everything else paled into insignificance.”
Not even the defeat to England, which set the tone for Ireland’s struggling season, mattered to O’Driscoll that day.
He said: “Sure, any loss to England is a sore one. But right after the game my mind switched back over to my wife and newborn daughter. I went straight there and didn’t give the game another thought.
“At about 11 that night I met up with Shane Horgan and Denis Hickie for a couple of beers to mark the occasion.”
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