It's only a few short months since the Irish social media fraternity almost burst with expressions of love for the most charismatic Irish player in modern history. Get ready for it to happen all over again today.
#ThanksPaulie is already trending. Many of the messages express disappointment that advice from medics forced the decision but all acknowledged his incredible contribution to Ireland and Munster.
Really disappointing to see @Paul_OConnell having to retire. Sensational career in Red & Green. Simply irreplaceable.
— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) February 9, 2016
Wishing @Paul_OConnell every success in retirement, an amazing leader & inspiration to a generation of future rugby players.
— Gordon D'Arcy (@Gordonwdarcy) February 9, 2016
— Craig Telford (@chigmeister) February 9, 2016
— Laura-Jane Jones (@MissLJJ) February 9, 2016
Paul O'Connell's career ended by injury but he went out at the top, one of the best ever, playing at his best in beating France at Rwc15.
— Matt Cooper (@cooper_m) February 9, 2016
— Colin Moran (@CollieMoRugby) February 9, 2016
Already missing the sight of Paul O'Connell on a pitch. What's a maul without him roaring in it. Big Fearsome Giant dragged off by doctors.
— DaveTynan (@dave_tynan) February 9, 2016
Paul O'Connell always himself. On the pitch, in interviews, everywhere.
— Kieran Cunningham (@KCsixtyseven) February 9, 2016
— Aoife Savage (@AoifeSav) February 9, 2016
— Fiona Donnellan (@fionadonnellan) February 9, 2016
Sad to see @Paul_OConnell retire, but what a legend on and off the field. Pleasure to share the same field with and against him.
— gethin jenkins (@gethinjenkins1) February 9, 2016
Heartbroken for @Paul_OConnell thanks for the wonderful days you gave us in red & green. A joy to watch but above all, an absolute gent.❤️?
— Fiona Kelleher (@_F1ONA_) February 9, 2016
A true sporting hero. Great days in Tom clifford Park, thomond pk and many other places. #thankspaulie
— DT (@wandatt) February 9, 2016
The Greatest to ever wear the green. #ThanksPaulie
— Brian Mulcahy (@BriansBeard) February 9, 2016
Pity that Paul O'Connell didn't get to chose his exit from playing but fitting he finished in Green competing & leading as always #Legend
— Bernard Jackman (@bernardjackman) February 9, 2016
— Graeme (@Graeme_OBrien) February 9, 2016
— Rob Henderson (@robhendo13) February 9, 2016
— jamie heaslip (@jamieheaslip) February 9, 2016