O’Connell reflects ahead of goodbye

Paul O'Connell's focus is solely on producing a good performance instead of another goodbye ahead of his final Test on Irish soil.

Saturday will be O'Connell's last Test for Ireland at home ahead of his international retirement after the Rugby World Cup.

The Ireland captain will be sorely missed by all Irish supporters but admitted that he was looking to build up his fitness against Wales.

"It's all about this game. There seems to be a final everything for me recently…final game in Thomond Park, final game for Munster and I suppose it just drags on a little bit," O'Connell told the Irish Rugby website.

"Certainly with Munster in those last final weeks I thought about it a lot, but it hasn't really bogged me down this week. It's my first start (of the season), so it's more about where I'm going to be in terms of my play and fitness. That's where my mind is at at the moment.

"It's still been two-and-a-half months since I last started a game, so I'm eager to get out and see where I am and put in a good performance rather than dragging on a long goodbye."

O'Connell also reflected on his favourite memories from Tests at home in Ireland, with many sticking out including more recently involving his son, Paddy.

"There's plenty of them…the England game in 2007, but that was in Croke Park, winning the Triple Crown game (in 2004), the first one against Scotland, was an important day. It seems a long time ago now.

"Big November internationals, when we started regularly competing with and beating southern Hemisphere teams were important days. Particularly this year's Six Nations where Paddy was able to come into the dressing room after games with me and hang around.

"I remember Claw (Peter Clohessy) doing that with (his son) Luke when I was 'young' and Claw was old!

"I'd say those two…we won two big games against France and England (earlier this year) and Paddy was in the changing room afterwards. They were the days I really enjoyed."