Ireland’s greatest sporting legend Brian O’Driscoll has revealed he was arrested on an assault charge in New York in 2008 and spent a night in a New York jail after a lads' night out went wrong.

O’Driscoll, the greatest Irish rugby player in history, revealed his arrest and his night sleeping on the floor in “The Tombs,” the notorious New York holding cell building, in his new autobiography “The Test” serialized in the Irish Sunday Times.

O’Driscoll stated that he went on the lads' trip after his best friend Barry Twomey took his own life and O’Driscoll suffered an emotional crisis.

He became entangled in a brawl at a REM concert in Madison Square Garden and was arrested as a result.

O’Driscoll recounts how one of his friends, Damian O’Donoghue, was attacked and he went to help, but the assailant claimed O’Driscoll had attacked him.

He spent a night in jail in The Tombs sleeping on the floor and was released pending the investigation of the charges against him.

He continued his vacation, which he described as a nightmare, before returning to Ireland, but the case haunted him and he sought counseling.

"Even after Damo (his friend who was attacked) files a sworn affidavit, absolving me of any responsibility and stating that he acted in self-defense, it drags on through the summer," he wrote in the Sunday Times extract.

The charges were eventually dropped for lack of evidence just before the rugby season in 2009.

The 35-year-old credits his ability and mental strength to deal with the arrest after the incident to sports psychologist Dr Enda Waters, whom he began attending after the incident which left him badly shaken.

O’Driscoll played a record 133 times for Ireland and was widely rated the greatest rugby player in the world at his peak and one of the best of all time.