ODriscoll hailed as Leinster win Celtic League trophy

Brian O’Driscoll’s Leinster colleagues hailed the retiring centre as he ended his career with yet another winner’s medal in Dublin on Saturday.

The Irish province beat Glasgow 34-12 to secure their fourth Celtic League trophy, becoming the first side to retain the title in the process.

The build-up to the game had been dominated by O’Driscoll’s impending retirement after an illustrious 15 year career at the top of the game.

But the three-quarter lasted only eight minutes of his last outing after picking up a calf injury.

He left the field to a predictable cacophonous reception and his team-mates went on to secure an ultimately comfortable victory.

Two tries from Zane Kirchner plus further scores from Shane Jennings and Gordon D’Arcy gave the Irish province a handsome win, with fly-half Jimmy Gopperth adding 14 points with the boot.

Glasgow, who were well in the game until fading badly in the final quarter, could only manage four penalties through young fly-half Finn Russell.

O’Driscoll and fellow retiree Leo Cullen lifted the trophy in the warm evening sunshine, with the former chaired around the ground before his adoring public.

Head coach Matt O’Connor acknowledged his side had been motivated by the chance to send O’Driscoll out in fitting fashion.

He said: “Brian O’Driscoll has been immense. They don’t make them like that any more and we are just privileged to have him in the environment.

“It’s not all about one guy but there’s no doubt everyone here wanted to make sure he, Leo and the other guys who are leaving us went out in the right way.

“We have worked really hard all year. They deserve it because they worked really hard throughout the season.

“It was a tough battle. We knew that it would be and we needed to put our best performance to beat Glasgow and it is no disgrace to lose to our team.”

Skipper Jamie Heaslip added: “It was great for us to be able to send off a guy who has given so much to Leinster rugby and to Irish rugby with a trophy.

“He has been unbelievable to play alongside.

“We knew it would not be easy and, to be fair to Glasgow, I don’t think the score reflected the way the two sides played, but we are over the moon to finish like that.”

For Glasgow this was a first major final, but they could not quite reproduce the exceptional late-season form that had propelled them to second in the league table.

But head coach Gregor Towsend backed his side to bounce back and go one better next season.

He said: “We have made real progress over the last couple of years and a lot of these players are still going to be here for a few more years.

“We have been in semi-finals, we have been in the final this year and we have to make sure we go one better next year.

“It was a great occasion, but we were just not good enough on the day. We had some chances we did not take and just ran out of a bit of steam.”


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