O'Connell considers move away from Munster
October 19, 2013
Paul O'Connell helped the Lions to their series win over Australia in the summer © Getty Images
Munster legend Paul O'Connell has admitted he is pondering leaving the province when his contract finishes at the end of the season.
O'Connell has been at Munster since 2001 and is a rare breed, a one-club man. But that could all change at the end of the season. His contract is up with Munster and at 34, age is not on his side.
The British & Irish Lions lock has experienced huge success with the men in red and helped them win Heineken Cup titles in 2006 and 2008. He has also won 85 caps for Ireland and played in seven Tests for the Lions.
Regardless of where he goes at the end of the season, he will go down as one of Ireland's greats but he may finish his career away from Munster with a number of French clubs sure to be interested in his services.
"I'm out of contract this summer," O'Connell told the Daily Mail. "If I had to consider my options somewhere else I certainly would. It's a big regret of mine not having played abroad. I've lived in Limerick all my life and while I love it here, I would like to experience life abroad. I haven't started discussing my contract yet, so we'll see what happens."
Ireland has already seen start fly-half Jonny Sexton leave Leinster and opt for a lucrative move to Racing Metro while Clermont are reportedly keen on Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien. O'Connell admits a move to France does have its benefits.
"I think certainly more and more people are going to go there from a financial point of view and also because of the facilities," O'Connell continued. "What clubs like Racing Metro have now is second to none. The French Top 14 is turning into a fantastic league.
"Those clubs have very big squads too, so players maybe won't have to play as many games as they would in the past, which has been a big fear for players going to France. If the money keeps going the way it is, it could become a big headache for the home unions."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
It was another bumper year of rugby action in 2014; join us as we take a look back at some of the season's top statistics
Salary caps, Saints, sinners and scrums - Monday Maul looks back at the key talking points from an eventful weekend
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14