Joking Apart: My Autobiography

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Transworld Publishers Limited, Oct 31, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages
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Donncha O’Callaghan is one of Ireland’s leading international rugby players, and a stalwart of the Munster side. He was a key figure in the Irish team which won the IRB 6 Nations Grand Slam in 2009, and has won two Heineken Cup medals and a Magners League title with Munster. But that success did not come easy. For a player who has been capped more than 70 times for Ireland, won two Heineken Cups with Munster, and been on two Lions tours, his long battle to make a breakthrough at the highest level is largely unknown. In this revealing autobiography, Donncha talks in detail about the personal setbacks and disappointments at Munster and the unconventional ways he dealt with the frustration of not making the team for four of five years in his early 20s. He had a parallel experience with Ireland where it took him nearly six years to get from fringe squad member to established first choice player. Here he talks candidly about his relationships with the coaches who overlooked him and the second row rivals who kept him on the bench. Donncha talks with great warmth about a hectic childhood that was shaped by the death of his father when he was only six years old. Unusually for a Cork rugby player, he came from a working class background and one of the heroes of his story is his mother Marie who showed incredible strength and resourcefulness to rear a family of six on her own. Often regarded as "the joker in the pack," Donncha has worked hard, with dedication and intensity, to reach the high standards required of a professional rugby player. There have been many highs and lows along the way. His autobiography is a fascinating account of a storming career, filled with anecdotes about the players and managers he has worked with. This is the full picture, showing sides of the man that will be unfamiliar to followers of Irish rugby and will surprise the reader.

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About the author (2011)

Donncha O'Callaghan was born in Cork in 1979. He began playing rugby at Highfield Rugby Club before going on to play for the CBC Cork side which won the Munster Schools Senior Cup in 1998. In the same year, he played on the Ireland U19 World Championship winning side which included other future stars like Brian O'Driscoll and Paddy Wallace. First capped for Ireland in 2003, he has played more than 70 times for Ireland, forming a formidable second row partnership with Paul O'Connell. He has won the Heineken Cup twice with Munster and has been on two tours with the British and Irish Lions, having the honour of captaining the Lions against the Southern Kings in South Africa in 2009. Donncha married his long time girlfriend, Jennifer Harte, in December 2009, and their first child, Sophie, was born in August 2010.

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