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Is This 2003 Paul Kimmage-Brian O'Driscoll Interview Relevant Again?

Is This 2003 Paul Kimmage-Brian O'Driscoll Interview Relevant Again?
By Conor Neville
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Paul Kimmage has abruptly quit as Brian O'Driscoll's ghostwriter for the centre's upcoming autobiography. No reason has been given for his resignation.

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Kimmage is noted as a fantastic interviewer, but also an abrasive one who can quickly grow irritable and cranky if an interviewee isn't giving him enough to work with. And he has not always been enthused by Brian O'Driscoll as a media performer. In the course of an interview with O'Driscoll in the Sunday Times, penned during the 2003 Six Nations (and, obviously, it should be borne in mind that this was 11 years ago), Kimmage gave the following verdict on a Drico press conference.

Ever sat through an O’Driscoll press conference? Check your pulse. You wish you were dead. It’s like root-canal treatment. Or listening to Alan Shearer. One-on-one with a microphone and a room full of reporters and all of the flair that distinguishes O’Driscoll on the field is abandoned. He sits, sucking on his Powerade with that curiously vacant “Back in 10 minutes” look and rarely deviates from the script. Playing sure. Playing safe. Instinctively kicking to touch.

For large parts of the interview, Kimmage's tone suggested that he was not that interested by O'Driscoll as a person.

MEET Drico. Maybe you already have. Maybe you’ve got one just like him at home? (Just answer “yes” to one of the following.) Does your son wear a baseball cap? Is Dumb and Dumber his favourite movie? Does he communicate in language you don’t understand? “He’s a big unit.” (Translation: He’s a very big lad.) “Take a chill pill.” (Ignore the mortgage, work and all your responsibilities and have a kebab.)

During the interview, O'Driscoll disagreed with Will Greenwood's assertion, put to him by Kimmage, that it's best to speak your mind to the media.

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“Are you not overly conscious of saying the right thing — Will Greenwood would argue that you should just tell it as it is?” “No,” he (O'Driscoll) replies, “I have to say I disagree with Will on that.”

“He calls it spiel,” I persist. “Or his ‘Alan Shearer’ head.”

“Well I think there’s a lot to be said for the Alan Shearer head,” O’Driscoll says. “A lot to be said. The tabloids are the only people who gain from controversial comments. There’s no benefit to your team or coach. Occasionally you are going to make a slip-up and come out with something you don’t want to, but I think I would probably be an Alan Shearer a lot of the time.”

 

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