"It was just brilliant entertainment:" Donncha O'Callaghan remembers the Sexton and O'Gara rivalry

Both out-halfs battled for the Ireland number 10 jersey

BY Sinéad Farrell 16:02 Friday 12 May 2017, 16:02 12 May 2017

©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

The famous rivalry between Jonathan Sexton and Ronan O'Gara is enshrined in the memories of even the most casual Irish rugby fan.

The nationwide division caused by their battle for the number 10 jersey rivalled that of the debate that raged over Éamon de Valera vs Michael Collins, and Mick McCarthy vs Roy Keane.

It was a tense period in Irish rugby history in which Sexton eventually edged out the experienced Munster man, who would later go onto retire from professional rugby in 2013.  

Former Ireland and Munster player Donncha O'Callaghan however, remembers that time with some fondness. Speaking at Off The Ball's Roadshow in the Mansion House last night, he explains how he took some pleasure from the icy atmosphere in the camp.

"When you're in camp, it was just brilliant entertainment to see the two of them hopping off each other. I used to even go along to their kicking sessions and pretend I was doing recovery in the Aviva ice-baths just to be around the awkward car journey home."

"It was made a lot more out of by everyone else than the two boys who worked hard and got on with it. (But), no-one wants to hear that. Everyone wants Superman Vs Batman don't they?"

Brian O'Driscoll added that he sensed there was 'a good deal of frostiness for a few years.'

Listen to the full discussion here, which also features Sexton's personal account of it all.


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