Donncha O’Callaghan On How He Used To Share Wages With A Munster Teammate

How times have changed.

An almighty amount of money has found its way into rugby over the last few years, particularly in France and England thanks to billionaire owners and huge tv and commercial deals.

As a result wages have sky-rocketed, with some of the world’s best now commanding seven-figure salaries. In Ireland however, things haven’t quite reached those scales, but a top player can still in and around €500k-a-season.

Back in the day however, there was nowhere near that kind of money around. 15 years ago in Munster, there were a handful of 35k-a-season contracts floating around and that’s about it.

Those contracts were so scarce, Donncha O’Callaghan has revealed that he split on with Marcus Horan in order to secure one! Writing in his Times column, O’Callaghan explains:

“I felt by now I was worth a Munster contract. So too did Marcus Horan, though. There were a limited number of €35,000s to go around. Only Deccie could have come up with the following solution — and got us to agree to it. With Marcus being a prop and me a lock you couldn’t call it job sharing, but we halved the contract money: €17,500 each for the new season.

So, come the next negotiation, as an established Munster player accustomed to playing in front of huge crowds, having played for Ireland A and closing in on my first cap, I resolved to try to break the €20,000-a-year ceiling.

The problem with that, said Deccie, was it would mean giving Marcus less.

Give Marcus less? How could I possibly take money from Marcus? We were a band of brothers! So on we marched to the next season, still sharing a wage.”

Peter O’Mahony, Simon Zebo and the likes don’t realise how lucky they have it.

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