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Keith Wood Told Of Paul O'Connell's Unparralled Impatience In His Early Ireland Days

Keith Wood Told Of Paul O'Connell's Unparralled Impatience In His Early Ireland Days
By PJ Browne Updated

Off The Ball dug into their archives following Paul O'Connell's retirement on Tuesday.

One of the clips featured Keith Wood relating a story of O'Connell's incredible desire to improve, not just as an individual but as a team.

On The Last Word With Matt Cooper, Eddie O'Sullivan told of his standout memory of O'Connell. It was of him playing through the pain barrier with a collarbone injury while 30 points down against France in 2006.

This will to win was not just evident off the pitch, but also on it.

From the early days of his Ireland career, according to Wood, O'Connell was vocal with his impatience to see the Ireland team progress.

Video: TV3 And Keith Wood's Tribute To Paul O'Connell Is Simply Superb

He was so impatient with everything and he was a total pain in the neck. He complained about everything in his own little way and he would press every little nerve that he possibly could because he was in a rush to do well. That was something he never really stopped doing. He was always trying to push things a little bit further, a little bit harder.

I remember we had a conversation driving up for the World Cup in 2003. He said, 'Jeez Woody, aren't we so fit now? Aren't we really, really fit?' And I said 'Yeah, we're pretty fit.'

He said 'Would we be the fittest team around?' and I said 'Not a chance, England are about four years ahead of us.' He said 'Why aren't we training harder? Why aren't we pushing it harder?' I said 'You might be able to take it Paul, but I wouldn't last another couple of weeks.' The Claw wouldn't have made the next training session or whatever it was.

It takes a little bit of time for that change but he was impatient and wanted great things immediately when he arrived.

That marks him out because a lot of guys try to bed themselves into a team and try to see where the seniority lies, if it lies anywhere. He didn't, he actually wanted to be involved immediately and wasn't shy about saying so.

Picture credit: Sportsfile

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