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Irish jewel vows to ignore the hype

Lions hero Brian O'Driscoll will be keeping his dancing feet firmly planted on Australian soil despite his virtuoso efforts in today's first Test.

The 22-year-old son of a Dublin doctor, the jewel of Irish rugby, was the toast of the British Isles after ripping the Wallabies apart with his scything runs.

O'Driscoll was a thorn in the Australian side, scoring one try and creating another for winger Jason Robinson to lay the foundations for the Lions' astonishing triumph and then produced some crunching defence to consolidate the hard-won gains.

From Blackrock to Brisbane, O'Driscoll has come a long way in a short time but the quietly-spoken Leinster man is certain to remain unfazed by his continued rise to fame.

"I don't see any reason to change," he said. "I don't think there's an awful lot to it. You just go along with your everyday life."

He may be back-page news from Dublin to Dubbo but O'Driscoll may not even witness the headlines.

"I try not to read a lot of it about myself, although I enjoy reading about others," he added.

"You know when to and when not to pick up the papers. You know if you've had a poor game and if you've missed a try-saving tackle the next day you don't pick up a paper and read about it.

"I've scored a couple of tries in games and thought I played fairly average and yet got the headlines. In a nutshell, I'm probably the best person to judge my performances and that's all that really counts.

"The only pressure I'm concerned about is the pressure I put on myself and the expectation of what the coach perceives my ability brings to the team.

"Those are the only two things I'm worried about. Beyond that, it's a lot of media hype."

The Blackrock College man has been the darling of Irish rugby ever since he scored his memorable hat-trick of tries against the French in Paris in the spring of 2000.

He was as automatic a selection for the Lions tour as fellow countryman Keith Wood and, if he is still not as recognisable as the bald-headed hooker, he is more cherished, especially at the tender age of 22.

And yet he remains a man who would rather melt into the background than occupy the spotlight.

"I was in town the other day and wearing a pair of shades, I was hardly recognised," he said.

"It comes in bursts, particularly after games. If you've played well, it seems the whole country has been watching.

"But the day the people stop recognising you is the day you are starting to play poorly so, as much as it is a pain, I wouldn't give it up for anything."

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