Irish Rugby legend Paul O’Connell was honoured this afternoon with a special doctorate from the University of Limerick.
The former Irish captain was made a Doctor of Science in recognition of his contribution to sport.
Speaking at the ceremony at the University of Limerick, O’Connell spoke of his time at UL and his surprise at receiving the award.
“The University of Limerick has played a massive role in my life and I am a bit overwhelmed by this honour.”
In reference to his new title, he added: “I won’t be demanding my family call me Dr Paul or anything like that.”
University of Limerick President, Don Barry, commenting on the award said: “Today I am very proud that UL bestowed upon Paul our highest honour. He was already an important member of the UL family, but today he accepted a place in the history of this institution.”
The 36-year-old has had a long association with the University. His first venture came as a teenager at the UL pool, where the Limerick native used to train.
He pursued his third level career at the college, studying Computer Engineering and later serving on the board of the UL Foundation.
O’Connell used the base at the UL Arena to train with Munster, going on to play for the province on 178 occasions, winning two European Cups (2006, 2008), three League titles (2003, 2009, 2011) and a Celtic Cup in 2005.
On the national stage, O’Connell captained his country in a successful international career that saw him win 108 caps, star in four World Cups, win four Triple Crowns, two 6 Nations championships and a Grand Slam.
After signing a two-year contract with French side Toulon, O’Connell suffered a hamstring injury in Ireland’s victory over France in last month’s Rugby World Cup which is set to keep the second row out of action for up to eight months.