O’Driscoll book reveals US arrest


Published: Sunday 19th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Brian O’Driscoll has recalled being wrongfully arrested for assault and how the shock of a friend’s death left him a sobbing wreck.

The arrest happened on a trip to New York with friends to watch an REM concert and left him fearing he would face prosecution and a media scandal until just days before the 2009 Six Nations, when the case against him was dropped.

After the gig O’Driscoll and two friends were accused of pushing in a crowded lift. The book says his friend Damien O’Donoguhe used his elbow in self-defence to stop a drunk audience member from punching him.

The police were called and the man claimed he was attacked by O’Driscoll.

The legendary Irish rugby player – widely regarded as one of the best centres of all time – recalls the details in The Sunday Times, which is serialising his book The Test.

It details how he was taken to a notorious Manhattan jail known as The Tombs where his mug shot was taken and his fingerprints entered into the US justice system.

He says he was forced to sleep on the floor alongside the “most wasted looking guy in the cell” who was “shaking from the DT’s, dribbling and moaning, twitching and farting”.

The investigation hung over O’Driscoll for the rest of his holiday, turning it in to a “nightmare” during which he was weighed down by a “sense of panic, the worry about what’s coming next”, the book says.

In it he also remembers his friend Barry, who committed suicide, and tells how he began to sob when he called the man’s fiancee.

He says: “She listens as the emotions pour out of me, more than I knew was there.”

After the New York arrest, O’Driscoll feels he is still not believed even after Mr O’Donoguhe came forward to clear his name,

The book says he believes the prosecutors “suspect his motives: taking a bullet for his buddy, the well-know Irish sports guy”. It says: “Even after Damo files a sworn affidavit, absolving me of any responsibility and stating that he acted in self-defence, it drags on through the summer.”

He says he was stunned that the story did not leak to the media and was told the case against him had been dropped about 10 days before the 2009 Six Nations.

O’Driscoll counts captaining the Ireland Rugby team from 2004 up until the 2013 Six Nations and captaining Leinster Rugby for three seasons from 2005/6 – 2007/8 among his career successes.

He also captained the British and Irish Lions for their 2005 tour of New Zealand. He has 133 Test caps, including 125 for Ireland and 8 for the British and Irish Lions.

Published: Sunday 19th October 2014 by The News Editor

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