Tuesday, January 19, 2010

O’Driscoll is Irish sports star of the year

It was Vince Lombardi, that wizened sports sage whose advice so often transcended his limited field of Gridiron, who reminded us that “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

It is no coincidence that Ireland's greatest sporting ambassadors have retained an inextricable fidelity to Lombardi's tenet, none more so that the latest addition to the stellar collection of Irish Independent/Jury's Croke Park SportsStars of the Year, Brian O'Driscoll.

His selection is a representation of the extraordinary levels to which he continually aspires, and the expectations he so often exceed.

Ireland's historic Grand Slam triumph and Leinster's Heineken Cup successes were, of course, team triumphs and last night's winner was the first to deflect the paeans of praise and cite that his was a reward shared by all who toiled with him.

And yet when one reflects on achievements that marked a year of unprecedented success in Irish rugby, it is difficult to eradicate the searing image imprinted upon the events by the imposing figure of Ireland's greatest ever exponent of the game.

Whether it was racing home a 70-yard intercept try with renewed vigour and more trustworthy hamstrings in Rome, or impudently burrowing beneath a stout English pack from an impossibly tight angle close to the try-line, O'Driscoll's interventions were clearly identifiable in their genius and timing.

When destiny rapped its knuckles on the door throughout this extraordinary season — who can forget the almost inhuman physical energy expended during the Lions series? — O'Driscoll answered the call every single time.

Ireland V Scotland Hospitality

Ireland V Wales Hospitality

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