Rob Kearney admits he is desperate to give fellow British & Irish Lion Paul O’Connell the send-off he deserves as the veteran lock prepares to bow out of international rugby.
O’Connell, who skippered the Lions in South Africa in 2009 as well as touring in both 2005 and 2013, will call time on his Ireland career after this autumn’s World Cup.
The 35-year-old is currently the Men in Green’s fourth most-capped player with 101 appearances to his name – behind only Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara and John Hayes.
O’Driscoll famously had the perfect end to his international career in 2014 when he helped Ireland beat France in Paris to claim the Six Nations Championship.
And full-back Kearney, who toured New Zealand with the Lions in 2013, wants O’Connell’s last action in his country’s jersey to be holding the World Cup aloft come October 31.
“Fairytale endings are very difficult to write and they happen to very few people,” Kearney told the Irish Examiner.
“Brian was lucky enough in that he did get his fairytale ending and I desperately hope Paul gets the same fairytale ending too.
“If we can draw a little inspiration and motivation from the situation it can only be a good thing.
“He has been one of the greatest servants to Irish rugby as a fantastic player and a fantastic captain who has given so much to the game.
“He retires from international rugby after the World Cup and it’s really important the guys around him make sure this is a memorable one for him.”
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