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Brian O’Brien – RIP

28th February 2023 By The Editor

Brian O

Brian O'Brien, rest in peace, with the recorded version of "Stand Up and Fight". INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Munster Rugby Hall of Fame member and stalwart of the game Brian O’Brien has passed away aged 83.

Playing an integral role across the Munster and Irish rugby landscape O’Brien is a former player, selector, coach and manager.

The centre played in Shannon’s first ever Munster Senior Cup Final in 1959 and following provincial representation went on to become the club’s first ever international player, winning his first cap in 1968.

‘Briano’ spent almost 15 years playing with Shannon’s senior team, and following his retirement from playing, coached Shannon to Munster Senior Cup titles in 1977 and 1978. Serving on the IRFU Senior Selection Committee, he was also part of the 1983 British and Irish Lion’s selection committee.

Manager of the Irish U21 team and the Shannon team that won the four in a row, he went onto become Team Manager of the Munster men’s team before being appointed Manager of the Irish Men’s National side in 2000.

Brian O'Brien

As Munster manager, Brian O’Brien leads the team in ‘SUAF’, with the late Tom Tierney pictured on the far right of the group.

As a Munster selector and team manager, O’Brien’s further impact on the province came by way of introducing his “Stand Up and Fight” party piece, with the song becoming a Munster Rugby anthem for over 20 years.

He was inducted into the Munster Rugby Hall of Fame in 2014.

Munster Rugby President Ger McNamara offered his condolences on behalf of the province, “It is with great sadness that I pass on condolences to Brian’s wife Olive, and children Siobhan, Brendan, Aidan, Ronan, Padraic, Maura and the wider O’Brien family, on behalf of everyone in Munster Rugby.

“Briano’s love of the game was forged from his playing days with Shannon RFC, with his ongoing commitment to the game seen across his coaching and management roles with club, province and beyond.  His legacy will live long in the history of Munster Rugby, may he rest in peace.”

Fair to say Briano’s memory will forever live in the hearts and minds of the rugby community across the province with the final words best said by song,

“Thanks a lot, I’m sure glad to be –

“To be where I can see,

“So many friends of mine.


“Until you hear the bell,

“Stand up and fight,

“Stand up and fight like hell.”

Brian O'Brien

Ireland Rugby Tour 2003 – Manager Brian O’Brien gives a jersey to the headmaster of Taupau College in Tonga pictured with Declan Kidney, Munster Team Manager Niall O’Donovan and Eddie O’Sullivan.


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