Paul O'Connell: A Career in Pictures

The former Ireland and Munster captain has announced his retirement

Former Munster and Ireland captain Paul O'Connell has retired from rugby with immediate effect.

The Limerick native joined Toulon after the World Cup but revealed on Tuesday morning he was advised to retire after suffering a hamstring injury against France in the World Cup last Autumn.

Here are some of the best photos looking back on a remarkable career.

 Paul O'Connell in 2001. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Paul O'Connell of Ireland celebrates his try on his debut against Wales in 2002 ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Paul O'Connell's first World Cup was in 2003. Here he is encountering some of the creatures Australia has to offer ©INPHO/Billy Stickland


Paul O'Connell of Ireland on the attack against Scotland in 2004 as he won his first Six Nations triple crown that year ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

O'Connell was one of four Munster players to play for the Lions in 2005. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Munster's Paul O'Connell tackled by Biarritz's Serge Betsen during the 2006 Heineken Cup final. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Paul O'Connell lifts the trophy after winning the RBS Six Nations grand slam ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Young Munster's Paul O'Connell on his return from injury in 2008. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Paul O'Connell celebrates with the Heineken Cup in 2008. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

2009 Lions' captain Paul O'Connell hands of Bismark DuPlessis of South Africa. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Munster's Paul O'Connell lifts the 2011 Magners League trophy. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

This time as captain, Paul O'Connell lifts the Six Nations trophy in 2014, as Ireland win the tournament for the first time since 2009 ©INPHO/James Crombie


And the peerless leader returned again to lift the Six Nations once again this Spring, scoring a try in the crucial final day win over Scotland  ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan


O'Connell's last try for Ireland came against England in a World Cup warm up game. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Paul O'Connell led Ireland one final time against France in the World Cup. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal with new signing Paul O’Connell. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/RC Toulon