The Ireland second-row has not played since picking up a groin injury in his country's final game of the 2010 Six Nations against Scotland.
But after a lengthy spell on the sidelines the two tour Lion made his rugby comeback in for Young Munster in the local derby against Shannon.
O'Connell could do little to help his side as they fell to a 18-17 defeat but was happy to get a game under his belt.
"I am delighted to be back," said O'Connell. "I enjoyed getting back into the action but I am disappointed about the result.
"I am available for selection for either club or province but who that will be is not in my hands.
"I feel no ill affects and it is just great to be back and to have played in a local derby. I trained with Shannon's Paddy Butler during the last few weeks and we were in opposition tonight.
"I am sorry for the team who are a great bunch of lads as I know the effort they put in."