Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll brings us up to date with life in the Ireland camp. Today he gives us the lowdown on his Paris post-match feast and just how bad his table tennis has become!
It’s getting to be a bit too much of a habit having to hand over the captain’s duties to Paul O’Connell at the post international banquets. In fairness he’s well used to it but once again in Paris, injury meant that I was forced back to the hotel immediately after the game to begin the rehabilitation process.
When I picked up the knee injury on the pitch I thought there might be a ligament issue – as it transpired it was bone bruising – but was told that the joint was structurally sound.
After getting it strapped up at half-time, I didn’t really give it a second thought until, that is, after the match.
It’s amazing what adrenaline camouflages during a match but once you start to cool down afterwards, every little ache and pain makes itself known.
The knee was a bit tender to the touch and the advice was to go straight back to the hotel and elevate the joint: that’s the knee not the hotel!
The walking wounded – that’d be Kearns (Rob Kearney), Leo (Cullen) and I and our significant other halves – retired to the team room in the hotel and ordered burgers, chips and pizza. It’s funny how much you appreciate something like that when it is a very occasional treat. It was gorgeous.
Kevin McLaughlin had won his first cap the previous week so he got the full treatment bestowed on any debutant from his team-mates, while some of the French players helped out too. Suffice to say that he didn’t look or sound too chipper the following morning. He was consoled with the knowledge that we’ve all been that soldier.
I had a few days off, ran the usual errands and then reported for training with Leinster before heading for Cork and a two-day Ireland camp.
Most of the first day was taken up with meetings, which were very productive and I suppose cathartic. We need to park the French match and while it wasn’t easy given the huge disappointment, we can’t slope around feeling sorry for ourselves.
On a more serious note I am really concerned by my table tennis form. It’s been disastrous since I’ve had my eyes lasered.
There was a time in school when I’d have given that olden day table tennis legend Desmond Douglas – he played for England and was a European champion – a run for his money. Now it’s about all I can do to beat Brian Greene (the Irish squad”s athletic trainer and physio) and we’re not taking about setting the bar high here.
The eye surgery has been so positive and life enhancing in every other regard except for table tennis. There’s no doubt, it’s a worry. I can’t see myself getting that Stiga sponsorship unless there’s a drastic improvement.
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