Paul O'Connell on Declan Kidney: "I was mad about him - he was brilliant to me"

The former Ireland captain also highlighted the influence of a foreign import at Munster

BY Simon Maguire 15:53 Saturday 21 October 2017, 15:53 21 Oct 2017

Paul O'Connell and Declan Kidney. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Former Ireland captain Paul O'Connell reflected on the role Declan Kidney had early on in his career when he joined the recent Off the Ball Roadshow in Cork.

Despite Kidney leading Munster to two Heineken Cup triumphs before winning a first Six Nations Grand Slam with Ireland in 2009 after a 61 year wait - his coaching career ended on a sour note when his side finished 5th in the 2013 tournament. 

He has since taken up a role in University College Cork and speaking to Ger Gilroy and Joe Molloy about his former mentor, O'Connell said: "I was mad about him - he was brilliant to me. I'd say I was quite difficult to handle in my earlier years anyway.

"I think I had good leadership abilities but I could be quite tough on people and quite negative at times and he used to manage that all the time and always be encouraging me. 

"He engendered a very good atmosphere amongst the Munster players and he was very good at generating leadership as well. You know that group was probably the team with the most leaders. There were plenty of guys that were leaders - you probably couldn't let them captain the team but they were leaders!" he added. 

O'Connell also picked John Langford as one of the most influential foreign imports into the Munster setup. "He signed some great characters as well - the likes of John Langford who, you know, that old Munster team would still speak in awe of the affect he had, the affect he had on the group, in terms of training and all that."

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