Malcolm O’Kelly was delighted to end his professional rugby career on a winning note as he helped the Barbarians to a three-try victory over Ireland in Friday’s uncapped international.
Ireland internationals Malcolm O’Kelly and Alan Quinlan put in impressive shifts as the Baa Baas bounced back from losing to England to record a deserved win over a Ronan O’Gara-led Irish side.
Having missed out on the Magners League title with Leinster last weekend, this Limerick success was a fitting way for the 35-year-old O’Kelly to bow out.
His stellar career included 92 caps for Ireland and a record 188 appearances for Leinster, and he picked out last year’s Heineken Cup triumph and Ireland’s 2004 Six Nations win over Twickenham as particular highlights.
Proudly wearing his Templeogue College socks for his fourth and final appearance for the Baa Baas, the big lock reflected: “It was fantastic and an unbelievable way to finish my career.
“To have the opportunity to play for the Baa Baas was too good to refuse and the chance to finish against my country is a memory I’ll never forget.”
O’Kelly got a rapturous reception as he was called ashore during the second half, which is something he will clearly cherish.
“I never thought I’d get a standing ovation at Thomond Park. They’re a great crowd, it shows the respect they have and I’m looking forward to coming down here again in the future as a supporter.
“I’m looking forward to the future, there are so many challenges ahead and I’m still young enough to enjoy life! I’ve had a great career.”