O'Driscoll 'proud of Dublin accolade'

Published Monday, 24 March 2014
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Brian O'Driscoll has returned to training with Leinster, after a week off to recover from picking up Six Nations silverware on the pitch and the Freedom of Dublin off it.

O'Driscoll 'proud of Dublin accolade'
Brian O'Driscoll speaking to UTV after receiving the Freedom of Dublin. (© UTV)

Over the weekend, the highest accolade the city of Dublin can bestow on an individual was presented to both the iconic Number 13 and Newry-born Father Peter McVerry.

They join just 76 others who have been recognised in such a way, including JFK, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela and Bob Geldof.

"It rates right up there," a smiling O'Driscoll told UTV, following the presentation by Dublin's Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn.

"As individual accolades go, I don't know if there's anything greater.

"Yes, it's huge for my family and for me personally - but also, it's big for my club UCD, and my province Leinster, and obviously all my teammates in the national set-up as well."

Hopefully, O'Driscoll will be able to call on them for back-up if he is now called upon to do his ancient duty as a freeman of the city.

Among the perks is being allowed to graze sheep on St Stephen's Green - but freemen also have to be prepared to defend Dublin from attack, join a militia at short notice, and carry a bow and sword.

Let's hope O'Driscoll wasn't planning on taking it too easy after retiring from international duty ...

In the event that Dublin doesn't come under attack in the meantime, he'll be playing against Munster in Dublin on Saturday - coming up against the likes of Ireland teammate Paul O'Connell.

"It'll be odd playing against guys that have been your teammates and that you've been in the trenches with the last seven or eight weeks," O'Driscoll said.

"But that's the professionalism that's expected of us - we're meant to turn it on for 80 minutes and absolutely hate them."

As for what lies further ahead, a move to the US with actress wife Amy hasn't been ruled out, but Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has also said he would like to keep O'Driscoll close to his squad.

"I've been trying to help the younger guys as much as I possibly can and share the little bit of knowledge I might have," O'Driscoll said.

"And just because I'm not a player anymore, I wouldn't imagine that's going to cease."

© UTV News
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