Paul Jeremiah O'Connell (born 20 October 1979 in Limerick) is an Irish rugby union player who plays lock for Munster and Ireland. He also captained the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa.
O'Connell was a star swimmer when he was younger, starting his training with Seal Swimming club under the watchful guidance of Jim Riordan and Jerry Ryan before moving on to the Limerick squad. O'Connell attended the Model School, and Ard Scoil Ris in Limerick and played rugby under Des Harty's tutelage, representing Irish Schools in 1997–98 along with current international teammate Gordon D’Arcy. He also played five consecutive games with the Ireland U21s, with Donncha O’Callaghan as his second row partner. He also represented Young Munster R.F.C. before moving on to represent Munster, Ireland and the Lions. O'Connell has completed 3 out of 4 years of a Computer Engineering degree at the University of Limerick, deferring the remainder of the degree in order to concentrate on rugby.
O'Connell made his debut for Ireland against Wales in the Six Nations 2002, scoring a try.