• Home
  • /
  • Rugby
  • /
  • BOD Thinks Paul O'Connell Will Be Ireland Coach Before O'Gara

BOD Thinks Paul O'Connell Will Be Ireland Coach Before O'Gara

BOD Thinks Paul O'Connell Will Be Ireland Coach Before O'Gara
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
Share this article

For Munster fans, the successful move into coaching for two heroes of the province, Ronan O'Gara and Paul O'Connell, has been one of the most satisfying storylines of recent years.

O'Gara enjoyed terrific success during spells on the coaching staff at Racing 92 and the Crusaders, before moving to another level as head coach of La Rochelle.

Saturday saw the most impressive triumph of his coaching career thus far, as he masterminded a huge comeback win for La Rochelle in the Champions Cup final against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium, the club's second consecutive triumph in the competition.

With Andy Farrell's contract as Ireland head coach set to expire in 2025, O'Gara has been one of the names most heavily tipped to take the role of his successor. One Ireland legend, however, thinks the IRFU will look elsewhere.

Teammate to both during his time as a player, Brian O'Driscoll thinks that Paul O'Connell is likely to be Ireland head coach before Ronan O'Gara, in comments made on Off the Ball this week.

Brian O'Driscoll tips Paul O'Connell for Ireland job


While his former Munster and Ireland teammate is making waves in France, Paul O'Connell has quietly built an excellent reputation since joining Andy Farrell's Ireland coaching staff in early 2021.

Paul O'Connell

15 March 2023; Forwards coach Paul O'Connell with players, from left, Ryan Baird, Rob Herring, Jack Conan, Andrew Porter and Conor Murray during Ireland rugby squad training at the IRFU High Performance Centre at the Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

O'Connell has filled the role of forwards coach during a brilliantly successful period for the Irish team, which has brought a series win in New Zealand, and a Six Nations Grand Slam this year. His work on the lineout, in particular, has stood out, and he is another former player who may have eyes on the top job with Ireland.

Speaking to Off The Ball earlier this week, Brian O'Driscoll commented on the chances of Ronan O'Gara taking over the Ireland job - and said that he cannot see the La Rochelle coach taking the job ahead of O'Connell:


I do not see a situation where ROG is going to be managing Ireland before Paulie. In my eyes [Paulie's next]. I think that progression piece is all important to teams and definitely from an international point of view, particularly if you have had usccess.

The progression of Andy from the great stuff that Joe Schmidt did, and bringing in his coaching ticket has been huge. I'm sure he would say that it's not like he tore up the play sheet and started afresh - he took lots of the success with him.

Now, Paulie is doing that and quietly going about his business as the assistant coach and the forwards coach. Look at how the team has changed since he came in, it's been significant.

I would say the likelihood is that Paulie will - if that is his appetite - go on to become the national coach after Andy.

That might not be for a few years if Andy decides to stay on, who knows what's coming down the line. But I would definitely suggest that ROG might have to hold on.

I don't necessarily know if those two work as as a unit. Yes, they have been teammates, but it doesn't always work perfectly.

There is no doubt that both Paul O'Connell and Ronan O'Gara will be leading contenders for the Ireland job whenever Andy Farrell ultimately departs - and it will be fascinating to see if O'Connell's presence in the Ireland camp gives him the edge.

Speaking earlier this week, O'Gara said that he hoped to coach Ireland in the future, but that he understood he would have to earn the right to the job.

SEE ALSO: O'Gara v Sexton: Five Chapters Of One Of Irish Sport's Great Rivalries

Ronan O'Gara Johnny Sexton

Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are now subscribed!

Share this article

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com