Sean O'Brien on two performances he will forever cherish from his rugby career
"I've given all I can give."
Even as he said the words, the London Irish fixture sheet said different from what Sean O'Brien was stating.
In the same week that Dan Leavy was forced to retire, at the age of just 27, O'Brien has announced he will hang up his boots at the end of the season. He does so at the age of 34 and as a Six Nations winner, a four-time European Cup winner with Leinster and a serial league winner. He was also a British & Irish Lion in 2013 and 2017.
As a co-host of House of Rugby, along with Alex Goode, O'Brien sat down for an exclusive chat about his impending retirement. During a heartfelt and and up-front chat, the Carlow native spoke about the two games he is most proud of.
Sean O'Brien on proudest rugby memories
During his exclusive House of Rugby chat, Sean O'Brien was asked what games stood out clearest, and proudest, in his 15-season professional career.
"I look back on my career," he said, "and I'm proud of what I've done. I've achieved and won more than I ever dreamt of.
"From starting off at Ballon Rathoe in the Community Games to go on to the rugby club in Tullow, and on to playing with the Lions in 2013 and, in New Zealand, 2017. I'm very happy with what I've given, and sacrificed, in my career to got where I got and, hopefully, put some smiles on people's faces."
"My best games... I was probably on fire at the 2011 World Cup but, at the World Cup in 2015... I know I was banned after it, but that game against France was one of my best games in an Ireland shirt.
"I played New Zealand, in 2013, the time we got beaten in the 84th minute. That was another favourite of mine, until we lost [the quarter final to Argentina]. Those are the games that stand out to me."
2013 against New Zealand and 2015 against France. One loss and one victory, albeit with a ban for seeing to Pascal Papé in an early clash. Objectively speaking, O'Brien was brilliant in both games.
His proudest Lions memory, from the winning tour to Australia in 2013 and the drawn Test Series with the All Blacks in 2017, was finishing off a superb team try at Eden Park in the First Test against New Zealand.
When you go closer to home, he is of course proud of the achievements with Leinster, and the personal accolades, but prouder still of being able to represent Tullow and Carlow on the world stage.
The biggest thing he will miss, once he does hang it up in the summer?
"The changing room, after a win. Everything you've done during the week to get yourself to that moment, you've succeeded in... being there with all your brothers, and the lads you've soldiered with - and all the craic that comes with it - that's what I'll remember."
WATCH OUR EXCLUSIVE SEAN O'BRIEN INTERVIEW