Alan Quinlan’s Fascinating Insight Into The Mindset Of Ronan O’Gara


Honesty, willingness to improve and sheer determination.

Three traits that Ronan O’Gara possessed according to his former teammate Alan Quinlan. O’Gara wasn’t the biggest of ten’s, and sure his defence was questionable at times- but that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the greatest playmaker’s the game has ever seen.

Writing in his Irish Independent column, Quinlan has revealed the Ronan O’Gara he knows and it makes for a fascinating read. He describes how O’Gara was never afraid to tackle an issue head on and how he spoke with great clarity and poise in the dressing room.


If we lost a game on a Saturday, he’d never be afraid to tackle the issue head on. If a fella needed to be f***ed out of it, he’d give it to them straight.

He could speak with clarity and could speak like a coach, dissecting the issues, explaining how things had gone wrong, pointing the finger outwards and then pointing it back to himself.

That was another of O’Gara’s great traits. He could be tetchy but he could also be bluntly honest even if he was surrounded by men who were so much physically bigger.

Quinlan also describes O’Gara’s belief in himself and willingness to learn that made him the player he was. He also notes that O’Gara was not afraid to put his hand up if he had made a mistake. A true measure of any man.


From a very early age, ROG was well able to be vocal. Playing as an out-half, he had to be. The guy possessed this seriously impressive, inner belief as well as a brilliant desire to get better and stronger. The day he missed the kicks which could have won us the Heineken Cup against Northampton? He didn’t mope or sulk.

Instead, he got his head down and learned from the experience.

The days he missed tackles or made mistakes in matches? He’d stand up in the dressing room afterwards and say, ‘Look, I f***ed up. It was not good enough and I will do what I can to get better.’

And he did.

That was what made him such a successful player, that willingness to learn, that knowledge that in a game as physical as rugby, there had to be a certain amount of emotion, a high work-rate and a strong mentality.

You can read the full piece in its entirety here.

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