18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Munster and Ireland lock Paul O'Connell, who gave up rugby in his early teens to concentrate on swimming and golf, will be an interested spectator at the K Club on Sunday.
The 36th Ryder Cup gets underway today at the Arnold Palmer-designed Straffan course, and more than a few Irish rugby stars, past and present, will beat a path to the venue before either Europe or the USA are crowned winners.
O'Connell, who turns 27 next month, has been a keen golfer since his youth and currently plays off a handicap of seven.
The Limerick man, fresh from the Irish squad's mini training camp, talked both oval ball and round ball at the Ryder Cup Gala Dinner in Citywest.
- ON THE SEASON AHEAD -
"I can't wait (for it), we've had a great pre-season in fairness. We've had four weeks off and then ten weeks' training without a match. You really can make great gains when you don't have matches - they take a lot out of you.
"A lot of us have made great gains in the last ten weeks and are in good shape and are looking forward to another good, successful season."
- ON MUNSTER'S YOUNG PLAYERS -
"You've got to give guys a chance on the bigger stage. The AIB League is great but the Magners League is another step up for guys.
"It kinda works both ways - the senior guys get rested (at the start of the league) and the young guys get up and get to play in front of the big crowds and on TV and it definitely helps their development."
- ON HIS GOLFING PROWESS -
"I used to play golf a lot when I was young - I got down to four or five (handicap) but I'm on the way back up now.
"This is probably the first year that I've actually played a lot of golf during the summer and practised a bit and gotten close to my old handicap."
- ON HIS FAVOURITE GOLFERS -
"I suppose growing up, the Irish guys were the ones I would've followed. Philip Walton, the time he had the great year when he won the English Open and went on and played in the Ryder Cup and did so well, he would have been the main one.
"The last few years - Padraig Harrington, obviously, and Darren Clarke. And I think Paul McGinley is a big one for me, he seems to be really conscious of his Irishness and really proud of his Irishness, and a really modest guy. He'd probably be the main one at the moment."
- ON HIS K CLUB TRIP -
"I'm going up (to the K Club) on Sunday. We've training on Friday, and on Saturday my brother's going back to live in the States. Sunday is probably the day you should be watching on TV because you can go from match to match, but I think it would be a pity if you had the chance to go and didn't take it."