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About the book
  • Published: 15 May 2012
  • ISBN: 9781848270978
  • Imprint: Transworld Ireland
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $27.99

Joking Apart

My Autobiography




A direct, honest and revealing autobiography by one of Ireland's most popular sports people.

Donncha O'Callaghan is one of Ireland's leading international rugby players, and a stalwart of the Munster side. He was a key figure in the Irish team which won the IRB 6 Nations Grand Slam in 2009, and has won two Heineken Cup medals and two Magners League titles with Munster.

But that success did not come easy. For such a well known player with a larger-than-life reputation, his long battle to make a breakthrough at the highest level is largely unknown. In this honest and revealing autobiography, Donncha talks in detail about the personal setbacks and disappointments at Munster and the unconventional ways he dealt with the frustration of not making the team for four of five years in his early 20s.

He had a parallel experience with Ireland where it took him nearly six years to get from fringe squad member to established first choice player. Here he talks candidly about how he brought discipline to his game, and about his relationships with the coaches who had overlooked him and the second row rivals who had kept him on the bench. The book finishes with Donncha's account of the 2011 World Cup.

Donncha talks also with great warmth about a hectic childhood that was shaped by the death of his father when he was only six years old. One of the heroes of his story is his mother Marie who showed incredible strength and resourcefulness to rear a family of five on her own.

Often deservedly regarded as 'the joker in the pack', what is often less well known is the serious attitude and intensely professional approach Donncha brings to his rugby. Joking Apart gives the full picture, showing sides of the man that will be unfamiliar to followers of Irish rugby and will surprise the reader.

  • Pub date: 15 May 2012
  • ISBN: 9781848270978
  • Imprint: Transworld Ireland
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $27.99

About the Author

Donncha O'Callaghan

Donncha O'Callaghan was born in Cork in 1979. He began playing rugby at Highfield Rugby Club before going on to play for the Christian Brothers College, Cork, side which won the Munster Schools Senior Cup in 1998. In the same year, he played on the Ireland U19 World Championship winning side which included other future stars like Brian O'Driscoll and Paddy Wallace. First capped for Ireland in 2003, he has played more than 80 times for Ireland, forming a formidable second row partnership with Paul O'Connell. He has won both the Heineken Cup and the Magners League twice with Munster and has been on two tours with the British and Irish Lions, having the honour of captaining the Lions against the Southern Kings in South Africa in 2009.

Donncha became a UNICEF Ireland Ambassador in 2009. He married his long time girlfriend, Jenny Harte, in December 2009, and their first child, Sophie, was born in July 2010.


Praise for Joking Apart

“An excellent autobiography”

Matt Cooper, The Last Word

“A compelling read, ... a story of glory and friendship, of fear and uncertainty and of love. Love of rugby, love of Munster, love of the life he has led”

Rugby World

“A bright, energetic and poignant depiction of a colourful sportsman”

The Sunday Times

“You can't put it down... a tremendous read, highly recommended”

Irish Examiner

“A inspiring story”

Irish Independent


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