One of the most talked about moments in Irish sport, Conor O'Shea played a unique role in the build up to England's visit to Croke Park in 2007.
At 37-years old, O'Shea had been working for England's Rugby Union at the side. Overseeing the regional academies, the former Irish international was charged with demonstrating to Jonny Wilkinson, Andy Farrell, Mike Tindall and the like, why this trip to Dublin may not quite be like others before it.
Drafted by England boss Brian Ashton to speak to the players, O'Shea revealed to Paul Kimmage today the remit he was handed:
He wanted me to give the young English guys a sense of where they were playing so no one was offended.
You know what young fellas are like, 'It's only a pitch' could have been grabbed by the media and blown into anything. So he just wanted them to understand.
Meeting them the week of the game, O'Shea discussed how close things did come to going very much awry. Describing the flight from England to Dublin a few days before the game, O'Shea pinpointed a scenario that very nearly undid all of his preparatory work:
You know the way you have armed police at airports? Well, when they were flying out, someone tried to get one of the players to pose with a gun!
A sight that would have unquestionably caused all manner of madness, the Limerick-born man - like most of an Irish persuasion who watched that day - looks back at the whole event with great fondness; one moment more than most:
When I was doing TV, I always stood outside for the anthems, just to feel the atmosphere.
Amhrán na BhFiann was sung like you've never heard it in your life. ... The BBC studio was beside us. Jerry Guscott was standing outside and I remember he turned to me straight after the anthem: "We are fucked!"
You can, and should, read the entire interview in today's Sunday Independent.