Paul O'Connell's Little Known Retort To Prince William One Of His Finest Moments

Paul O'Connell's Little Known Retort To Prince William One Of His Finest Moments

Paul O'Connell's status as the great wit of modern Irish rugby is built on a series of off-the cuff comments and charming interviews.

If he were so inclined, he could be a star at those Will Carling hosted after-dinner speaking events that populate YouTube. You know the kind of carry-on.

In his 2012 autobiography, John Hayes recounted a tale which would bring the house down at one of those events. It involved Paulie, a Prince, and an oblique reference to the 800 years.

During the 2005 Lions Tour, Prince William visited the camp to meet Clive Woodward and his famously engorged squad of players.


A big rugger man, William was keen to make clear to the Munster boys that he knew all about Thomond Park and the reputation of Limerick rugby.

It was six years before his grandmother eventually set foot on Irish soil but his father had already visited Ireland a decade earlier. Still, William was wary of the logistics involved in coming to Ireland.

At one stage of the tour Prince William turned up to meet him (Woodward) at training one day. William is a big rugby fan and he came into our dressing room after one of the games and went round shaking our hands. I was sitting next to O'Connell. William told him he'd heard of Munster rugby and the legendary Thomond Park.

So Paulie said to him he should come over for a game some time. William said he'd love to but it wouldn't be easy; a visit like that to Ireland would take a bit or organising. And quick as a flash O'Connell fires back, 'Some of your ancestors hadn't much problem coming over to Ireland.' He kinda half said it under his breath so I wasn't sure if Prince William had heard it or not. But I had and I nearly fell off my seat laughing.

To think of the hassle that Ronan O'Gara got for leaving his hands in his pockets a few seconds too long.

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