18 June, 2011

O'Gara: "Players feel Paul's plight:"

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Paul Darbyshire & Ronan O'Gara together: 2011 Magners League Final
In advance of this weekend's Munster Rugby Cycle for Paul Darbyshire and Motor Neuron Diseases (MND) Ireland;  Ronan O'Gara has talked about the profound effect that the Australian's illness has had on him and other Munster players.  
O'Gara was one of the first people the Munster fitness coach contacted when he was initially diagnosed with MND.
Darbyshire phoned him while still in hospital in the Bons Secours Cork.  
"When I reached the Bons, he was in floods of tears and basically said 'I'm goosed.'
"I'll never forget that moment," continued the record breaking fly half.
"I was telling him he was jumping the gun, that he had to be positive, but MND is only diagnosed after the specialist has ruled absolutely everything else out.  When something like that happens to a friend, you question a lot of things.  It has a massive impact on all of us who are close to him.   He's not just a coach, he's a close friend, a mate."
Paul Darbyshire as he will be remembered
The closeness of O'Gara and Darbyshire has its foundations in their living close to each other in Rochestown and spending a lot of time away from the training ground in each other's company.  And it's a friendship that was cemented when the 41 year-old asked O'Gara to become godfather to his two sons, Jack (seven years old) and Harry (10 months).
"It's a massive responsibility, and that responsibility goes to a whole new level when Paul passes away, which is going to happen soon."
Munster backroom staff celebrate 2011 Magners League win
"Being godfather is not something I take lightly and knowing what's coming, I know I will face a lot more responsibility in the near future.

Munster Rugby Cycle for Paul Darbyshire and Motor Neurone Disease Ireland starts tomorrow, Sunday 19th June from Musgrave Park in Cork.   See http://www.mycharity.ie/event/munster_rugby_charity_cycle/    for more details.
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