Ronan O'Gara has been at the heart of Munster and Irish rugby for the past fifteen years. Now, as he comes to the end of a glittering playing career, it is time for him to reflect on those many successes and occasional failures with the straight-talking attitude that has become his trademark. Never one to shy away from the truth, the result is Ronan O'Gara: Unguarded.
Packed full of anecdotes and analysis of the teammates O'Gara has been proud to share the shirt with, and of the coaches he has played under - often in controversial circumstances - this is the definitive record of an era when Munster rose to triumph in Europe, and Ireland to win the Grand Slam, before crashing down to earth again. It is simply the must-have rugby book of the year.
Ronan O'Gara was born in 1977 in Sacramento, California, and educated at Presentation Brothers College and University College Cork, captaining Pres to the Munster Junior and Senior Schools Cup and winning an All-Ireland Under-20 winners' medal with UCC in 1996. For over a decade he played at out-half for Munster and Ireland, winning two Heineken Cups and the Grand Slam, and was a member of the British & Irish Lions touring teams in 2001, 2005 and 2009. O'Gara announced his playing retirement in May 2013 as the most capped player and all-time highest scorer for both Munster and Ireland, while also holding the Heineken Cup record for points. He is now assistant coach at Paris-based Racing Metro.
Gerry Thornley has been the rugby correspondent of the Irish Times since 1997 and is a regular contributor and rugby analyst on both television and radio. His previous book Trevor Brennan: Heart and Soul (Red Rock Press) won the William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year in 2007.
Compelling... You have to admire the stones it takes to set out his stall. But then, it's entirely in keeping with how he played.
Irish Times, Best Sports Books of the Year
Anyone interested in life coaching or self-awareness will be fascinated by O'Gara's revealing and unabashed self-analysis.
Irish Independent, Best Sports Books of the Year
Adroitly constructed... his reflections on his recently concluded playing career contain enough cordite to remind one of the searing honesty and single-mindedness that drove this individual to perfection. Few escape his wrath.
A rollicking read... he speaks with naked emotion, raw candour, and even that rare commodity in sportsmen, forthrightness.
Revealing... Unguarded is a reflection on a playing career that saw him earn the respect of the rugby world and win almost all the game has to offer. Off the field, the Corkman was known for his phlegmatic pronouncements and this book is marked out by similar straight-talking.
Sunday Business Post