Ross O’Carroll-Kelly is the great Nearly Man of Irish rugby – and he doesn’t mean that in a big-headed way.
After leading Castlerock College to victory in the Leinster Schools Senior Cup final of 1999, great things were predicted for the man generally regarded as the most handsome out-half of his generation. However, he failed to deliver on his promise for a number of reasons, none of which he wants to get into now – mainly because he wouldn’t give Warren Gatland the satisfaction of mentioning his name.
In recent years, Ross has concentrated his efforts on becoming one of Ireland’s most promising middle-aged coaches. Determined to give something back – and encouraged, no doubt, by the generous remuneration package on offer – he recently inspired his old school to victory in the 2029 Leinster Schools Junior Cup. His triplet boys were in the starting XV, although obviously on merit, and he resents the insinuation that it was any other way.
When he’s not inspiring the next generation of Irish players, Ross is working as an estate agent for Hook, Lyon and Sinker, doing his bit to create the economic miracle that is Ireland’s latest property bubble.
He is still, unbelievably, married to Sorcha. Less unbelievably, he still does alright on the side.