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My favourite speech(es): Rory Best

Continuing our summer series on TheJournal.ie of public figures’ favourite speeches, the Ireland and Ulster rugby captain picks a selection of great speeches from the movies.

Rory Best
Rory Best
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE AUTHOR AND former presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan once said: “A speech is poetry: cadence, rhythm, imagery, sweep!  A speech reminds us that words, like children, have the power to make dance the dullest beanbag of a heart.”

One can not underestimate the power of a good speech or the effectiveness of a speech’s key line.

With that in mind, over the course of the summer TheJournal.ie is asking some of the most prominent figures in Irish society from politicians to sports stars to nominate their favourite speech of all time and tell us why they like it so much.

Today: We recently asked the Ulster and Ireland hooker Rory Best, who has captained both club and country, to talk about his inspiration and any speeches he particularly identifies with and he told us of a few that came to mind:

Well it’s hard really to give examples but you get it in films like the likes of Braveheart and even the one like Gladiator and stuff like that – Any Given Sunday, you know all of those.

They’re probably overplayed in team environments but there is just small moments. Like I remember Ronan O’Gara when away in Paris the night before the game, Brian (O’Driscoll) said his bit and ROG stepped in, he only said a few words just about this not being just a game, that it means so much more and he sort of just talked a wee bit. Bits and pieces like that stick out in your mind.

At the time I was a wee bit younger, and I remember thinking if this is what this means for this man who has sort of 80 or 90 caps, he’s 33 or whatever he was at the time, and you know it means the world to him it makes you stand up and go: “This is massive deal!”

Sometimes you can take it a bit for granted how important it is.

The speech delivered by Mel Gibson playing ‘William Wallace’ in the Academy Award-winning film Braveheart:


The speech by Russell Crowe playing ‘General Maximus Decimus Meridius’ in the Academy Award-winning Gladiator:


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The speech by Al Pacino as ‘Coach Tony D’Amato’ in the Oliver Stone film Any Given Sunday:

Finally, while we do not know exactly what Ronan O’Gara and Brian O’Driscoll said to Best and the Irish rugby squad but it was prior to Ireland’s Six Nations clash with France at the Stade de France which they lost narrowly.

Read more from our ‘Favourite Speeches’ summer series

About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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