O’Driscoll missed the whole of this year’s Six Nations after shoulder surgery but in only his fifth game back for his province the 33-year-old was a key figure in the win.
Two of his fellow Irish internationals also played starring roles in the comeback victory as full-back Rob Kearney slotted over a long rang drop goal and created Cian Healy’s try while Jonathan Sexton was near faultless with the boot.
And O’Driscoll admitted to being a relieved man after clinging on in the closing stages in Bordeaux to seal a hard-fought 19-15 win.
“It’s just very exciting, it really is,” O’Driscoll told the Irish Times. “All the hard work of coming back from injury and from surgery is to play in those big games and to test yourself.”
“It’s nice when the test comes out on the right side and you get a positive result. It makes all that hard graft worthwhile.
“That first 20-25 minutes was so quick and so tough, but those things, they can’t go for 80 minutes and you’ve just got to hang tough.
“It’s hugely fulfilling to be able to play and win in those types of games because that’s not for the faint-hearted.”
If Leinster can overcome Ulster in their all Irish final at Twickenham on 19 May then they will become the first team in history to win three European crowns in four years.
But O’Driscoll is refusing to get too far ahead of himself as the end of the season approaches.
“It’s hard to immediately kind of rank it but it feels great because it was one of those games that was really going to test us as a side, and question whether we were up to winning in France and it’s great to get through that,” he added.
“Clermont are probably the best team in France at the moment and now that they’ve won their first French championship this was the next thing that they were after – they really wanted to lift that Heineken Cup.
“To give ourselves the chance to win three in four years is great but that’s all it is – an opportunity. There’s still a lot of playing left and I’m sure that there’ll be a province will think that their team can do a job on us.”
© Sportsbeat 2012
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