O'Driscoll in emotional Dublin swansong

Ireland 46 - 7 Italy
Published Saturday, 08 March 2014
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Brian O'Driscoll bade an emotional farewell to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday as Ireland kept their RBS 6 Nations title hopes alive with a crushing 46-7 win over Italy.

O'Driscoll in emotional Dublin swansong
BOD in action against Italy on Saturday. (© Getty)

The 35-year-old played a pivotal role in Ireland's seven-try victory over the Azzurri.

He marked his world-record 140th Test cap by deftly setting up two tries for Johnny Sexton and one for Andrew Trimble, teeing up the Irish for a title-decider in France next weekend.

Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Fergus McFadden and Jack McGrath scored further tries in a one-sided contest, but the occasion was all about O'Driscoll, who was substituted after 61 minutes to a rousing standing ovation.

Ireland's tournament points difference now sits at 60, with England the closest at 21, ahead of their Sunday clash with Wales.

Speaking after the game, the dewy-eyed centre said he hadn't let himself think about the momentous occasion, as the fans filled the stadium with chants of 'one more year'.

He said: "It's been a huge part of my whole adult life and to leave here it's going to be hard. But good way to leave it today and hopefully we set ourselves up for next week.

"I feel humbled by the reaction today. It seems a bit of a joke that you get man of the match for 60 minutes, but I've loved my time playing in this jersey. It had to come to an end at some stage and I'm glad I'm able to go out at home with a big win.

"It will only properly set in when I've had a bit of time."

He's an incredibly creative man, he's courageous and he's got a bit of class about him.

Head coach Joe Schmidt

O'Driscoll is now hoping to end his Ireland career by lifting the Six Nations trophy in Paris next Saturday.

He added: "There's a championship in this team. We need to go to France with huge positivity and try and relive what happened in 2000."

Head coach Joe Schmidt's hailed O'Driscoll as a "magician" after his last home performance.

"It was from a set play that the magician managed to get the ball out nicely, perfectly-timed and set up for Johnny (Sexton) to get the space for seven-nil," said Schmidt.

"I think it was an incredibly special day, he made it special because he had a hand in three tries," he added.

"I thought the crowd were phenomenal.

"I guess it's partly he wanted to acknowledge the support he's had, and the crowd gave that back in return.

"I didn't see anyone leave after the final whistle, it was fantastic."

Last year Schmidt helped convince O'Driscoll not to retire, as he committed to one more year.

"I'm delighted he stayed on," the coach said. "I think he was pretty generous with his performance today."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
2 Comments
Dub in Dublin wrote (166 days ago):
Well done BOD you have been the best player Ireland has ever had.
Aidan in Ireland wrote (167 days ago):
The word Legend gets used alot these days for any reason at all but for this it is man it is true! a true irish legend! want to wear scarfs in stormont? wear one for this man!!
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