Ronan O’Gara to be awarded Freedom of Cork

Former rugby player says he is ‘very humbled and honoured’ by the council’s decision

Before becoming Racing 92 skills coach Ronan O’Gara won 128 caps for Ireland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Before becoming Racing 92 skills coach Ronan O’Gara won 128 caps for Ireland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Former rugby player Ronan O’Gara says he is “very humbled and honoured” by the decision of Cork City Council to award him the Freedom of Cork.

Mr O’Gara, who played outhalf for Munster and Ireland tweeted his reaction to the news from Cork City Council.

“Thanks to the people of Cork who have always backed me. Proud of where I come from. Very humbled and honoured,” tweeted Mr O’Gara who currently coaches with Racing 92 in Paris.

A father of five, Mr O’Gara was born in San Diego in California but grew up in Cork where he attended Presentation Brothers College and played schools rugby .

He later played with Cork Constitution before being capped by Munster and Ireland and he remains the leading scorer in the Heineken Cup with 1,365 points during a 16-year career with the province.

During his career Mr O’Gara won 128 caps for Ireland and is the second most capped Irish player ever after Brian O’Driscoll.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Des Cahill proposed Mr O’Gara for the Freedom of Cork, saying that he wanted to honour his immense contribution to rugby at all levels for over 25 years.

He said that Cork as a city always had a great regard for its sportsmen and women and it had been some time since a sport personality had been honoured with the award.

Among those who have received the award in the past are Roy Keane, Sonia O’Sullivan, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín Niall Toibin, Jack Lynch, Peter Barry, Mary McAleese and US presidents Woodrow Wilson and John F Kennedy.

Cllr Cahill said that an exact date for the ceremony had yet to be finalised as account had to be taken of Mr O’Gara’s commitments with Racing 92 but he hoped it would take place in May.