IRISH RUGBY LEGEND, Shane Horgan, cut a delighted figure after carrying the Olympic torch for a leg of its visit to Dublin today.
The Meathman took the flame from Marlborough Street to Custom House Quay in Dublin 1.
But while fellow torch-bearer, Olivia O’Toole, had no trouble with the weight of the iconic item; Horgan admitted he no longer felt in peak condition:
“It’s about the first running I’ve done for a year so I was struggling. They briefed us beforehand on how light the torch and all the procedures. I think it ran really smoothly.” The retired winger told Des Cahill of RTE.
“It was fantastic,” Horgan said of the atmosphere surrounding the event, “all along the way there were different groups of people and on O’Connell street in particular with Jedward, it was like a concert.
“In Stephens Green aswell there is a massive crowd out and a beautiful day, it’s really fantastic.”
Horgan admitted, that he found the experience much less comfortable than pitting himself a troop of 17 stone (plus) men out to inflict pain for 80 minutes.
“In rugby, I like to think I knew what I was doing to some degree, but you don’t really know what you’re doing with the Olympic torch, so it’s definitely nerve-wrecking, but it was great fun.”
Horgan, like the other 40 tasked with carrying a torch, will now be able to keep the golden flame holder and he underlined the rarity of its appearance in this part of the world.
“It’s really nice, it’s an amazing thing to have and it’s the kind of thing you’ll have forever. The Olympics isn’t coming back here any time soon, so it’ll be a nice memento to have in the house.”
At present, many of Horgan’s former team-mates with club and country are gearing up for the biggest test the sport has to offer: three games against the World Champions, New Zealand. The 33-year-old pointed to Scotland’s unlikely win over Australia as reason for optimism.
“They’re going to have a tough game out there, I don’t think they’ll be thinking about Olympic torches, it’ll be heads down for the All Blacks.
“It was an unbelievable result for Scotland yesterday. It’s a difficult time of year for the southern hemisphere teams and we might catch them on the hop.”