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O’Connell has won two Heineken Cups with Munster.
The Heineken Cup is the competition the Irish provinces live and breathe for, but it holds a particular affection for Munster who, after years of trying, got their hands on it at last in 2006.
O’Connell’s part in that triumph was instrumental, and he has been in the engine room of the province’s efforts in Europe for years.
He is one of those few players capable of raising his performance level for the big occasion and has done so on countless Heineken Cup days for Munster.
Notably, he returned from a long injury lay-off last season to play in the quarter-final at Harlequins, where he was the best player on the field by a mile, a performance that sealed his spot on the plane to Australia for the Lions tour.