Donncha O’Callaghan named Cork Person of the Month

Munster rugby legend honoured for glittering career and work as Unicef ambassador

Donncha O’Callaghan with his wife Jenny arriving at the wedding of Brian O’Driscoll and Amy Huberman in 2010. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Donncha O’Callaghan with his wife Jenny arriving at the wedding of Brian O’Driscoll and Amy Huberman in 2010. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

It may not have been a great weekend for Munster, who were trounced in the final of the Guinness Pro12 by Llanelli Scarlets, but for one of the province’s former greats, there at least was the consolation of being chosen as Cork Person of the Month.

Former Munster and Irish lock Donncha O’Callaghan is still playing top-class rugby in the UK with the Worcester Warriors in the English Aviva Premierships and, in recognition of his continuing achievement, he has been chosen as the Cork Person of the Year for May.

Cork Person of the Year founder Manus O’Callaghan paid tribute to the 38-year-old father of four who, in addition to being capped 94 times for Ireland, holds the record as the most-capped Munster player of all time with some 268 appearances for the province under his belt.

“Donncha O’Callaghan is a remarkable sportsman, and, importantly, is a fantastic ambassador for Cork – his involvement with the Munster and Ireland teams over the years marks some of the most memorable events in the history of Irish rugby,” said Mr O’Callaghan.

‘Social conscience’

“His commitment to his sporting career is matched only by his sense of humour, his humility and his social conscience through his extraordinary work with Unicef. He is a most worthy recipient of the Cork Person of the Month award.”

Mr O’Callaghan noted that the former Munster lock, who began his career with Highfield RFC, won an U-19 World Championship on an Irish team featuring Brian O’Driscoll before winning Triple Crowns and a Grand Slam in the green jersey as well as Celtic Leagues and Heineken Cups with Munster.

He has also toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions and played for the Barbarians, and last month was offered a further year’s extension to his contract by Worcester after being voted Player of the Season by the club when he helped them stay in the Aviva Premiership.

‘Passionate ambassador’

“A passionate ambassador for his native Cork throughout his playing career, Donncha’s keen sense of social justice is evidenced by his work with UNICEF, joining the international children’s organisation as a Goodwill Ambassador in 2009,” said Mr O’Callaghan.

“Since that time, he has made visits to South Africa, Haiti, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, and has been awarded a ‘Contribution to Society Award’ for his work with Unicef and, as winner of the May monthly award, his name will go forward for possible selection as Cork Person of the Year 2017.”

Last year’s Cork Person of the Year was won by Irish Olympic silver medallists, rowers Gary and Paul O’Donovan, and among the other sports stars to win the award over the years were soccer star Roy Keane, athlete Sonia O’Sullivan and GAA star Jimmy Barry Murphy.