18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
On 20 October 2006, the influential lock will celebrate his 27th birthday on the same day that the 12th season of the Heineken Cup kicks off.
Ireland international and Lions player, O'Connell has featured in five Heineken Cup seasons so far in his career. The lock made his first Heineken Cup appearance in an away match against NEC Harlequins, when he replaced Mick O'Driscoll in the 51st minute of the match. On that occasion Munster were triumphant, beating Harlequins in Twickenham Stoop by 8-24.