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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joking apart, this is a great autobiography!, 3 Dec 2011
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When I realised Donncha O'Callaghan was releasing an autobiography, I was keen to read it for two reasons. Firstly, I've always felt that outside of Irish supporters, DO'C is quite underrated as a player; and in addition, most books on people who are seen as jokers or messers often reveal a lot more under the veneer. True, DO'C is no Keith Moon in this respect, but it is definitely the case that there is far more to DO'C than someone famous for pulling pranks and having a bit of a laugh.

DO'C is frank - and at times, searingly honest - about his abilities as a player, his relationships with various squad members past and present, his opponents, his work ethic, his family and the effect of coaches and managers during his time as a player for both Munster and Ireland. For example I did not appreciate how long DO'C had to wait until he was accepted as a fully-fledged regular for both club and country, and the associated frustrations and insecurities are apparent, with nothing spared. In addition to this, I feel as though the book captures the emotion of all the highs and lows of the Munster/Ireland sides during his career very well, with most major tournaments and tests being given due attention without the narrative appearing formulaic in any way.

I also enjoyed the commentary throughout the book that showed the evolution of Rugby Union from shaking the amateur status toward the high-level fitness, technical game that it is today - DO'Cs playing career started under the mafioso of Peter Clohessy and Micky Galwey, who themselves represent the last vestiges of the old attitudes of playing the game. As with Ronan O'Gara's autobiography, you get a great sense of what goes on in the Munster dressing room; and the now legendary team ethic and merciless slagging sessions set the provincial team apart as unique amongst top level clubs.

Inevitably, despite DO'Cs apparent tiredness of the joker label, there are some really funny tales to tell, aside from all the famous ducks and ripped shorts anecdotes - some genuine laugh-out-loud moments exist; both from DO'Cs exploits, and from his delivery of on/off-field antics of people he has met along the way (personal favourite - DO'C being roared at if he can play no. 10 after a tough training tackle on Humphs...!)

It is worth noting that DO'C wrote the book with Denis Walsh, the writer who also assisted Ronan O'Gara with his own autobiography. However, DO'Cs book is more focussed on his own struggles and successes on a personal level - such as the intriguing relationship with Declan Kidney throughout his career, and the seemingly endless second row contenders for the Irish jersey in his early days. As with O'Gara's book, you certainly feel as though this is in Donncha's own words, which adds to the enjoyment of the read.

However, as with any active sportsperson who releases a book before retirement, there is always a sense of incompleteness - in this case, the book finishes with the recent 2011 World Cup campaign, and obviously with the disappointment of elimination still fresh, the book does end rather suddenly. I was also hoping for a bit more long-term views on his playing career, particularly how he feels about Ireland and how far in the horizon he is looking at this stage of his life.

It is easy to see why DO'C is such a popular character - but I admit I was guilty in thinking he was quite one-dimensional. This book definitely proves this is not the case. Highly recommended, even to the most casual rugby fan.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very honest and funny, 6 Dec 2011
This book is a good read, it is very honest and funny. It is a good insight into Donncha O'Callaghan and the challanges he faced with Munster.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars xx, 8 April 2013
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This review is from: Joking Apart: My Autobiography (Paperback)
Turned up fast, looks like the picture, could i ask for more from a product that does this no, very happy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 17 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Joking Apart: My Autobiography (Paperback)
good book
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read!, 14 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Joking Apart: My Autobiography (Paperback)
A good read but not a great read. Documents well the career of Donncha and some of his background but lack a little something.
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1 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Donncha O'Callaghan, 2 Dec 2011
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Book received as advertised and well within the agreed time limit. Looking forward to a good read as I fell sure it will be,
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Joking Apart: My Autobiography
Joking Apart: My Autobiography by Donncha O'Callaghan (Paperback - 10 May 2012)
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