POC: Losing My Pal Donal Helped Me Keep The Lions Injury In Perspective
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Paul O’Connell has revealed how tragic teen activist Donal Walsh helped him to cope with his Lions tour heartbreak.
The Munster and Ireland lock struck up a friendship with the brave anti-suicide campaigner over the years and has described him as a “special” person.
The player, 33, told how Kerry lad Donal, who lost his cancer battle in May aged 16, put things into perspective for him. Dad-of-one Paulie — who has three-year-old son Paddy with fiancée Emily O’Leary — was forced out of the Lions tour last month after breaking an arm.
He admitted: “I was obviously disappointed to get injured after the first Test but it was something I’d worked hard to get on and I was probably lucky to make it in the end. It wasn’t devastating. I’m a lot older now and I’ve experienced a lot. I’m better at dealing with it. I’ve Paddy and my wedding to look forward to. I lost a friend of mine this summer, Donal Walsh, and it put things into perspective for me.”
Paul and Emily — who’ve been together for 13 years — tie the knot tomorrow week in France.
Speaking to Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE radio, he joked: “I thought she’d never ask me to marry her, to be honest. We’re really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great few days.”