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Leinster vs Munster

Leinster | Official Matchday Programme of Leinster Rugby | Issue 03 Leinster Rugby vs Munster Rugby | United Rugby Championship Saturday 22 October | KO 5.15pm | Aviva Stadium

Leinster | Official Matchday Programme of Leinster Rugby | Issue 03
Leinster Rugby vs Munster Rugby | United Rugby Championship
Saturday 22 October | KO 5.15pm | Aviva Stadium

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LEINSTER<br />

VS<br />

€6 | ISSUE 03 | LEINSTER RUGBY OFFICIAL MATCHDAY PROGRAMME<br />

munster<br />

SAT 22 nd OCTOBER<br />

AVIVA STADIUM<br />

KO 5.15PM


Our People, Our Home<br />

TWELVE COUNTIES. ONE SHIRT.<br />

Aaron Craig<br />

From a lad wearing <strong>Leinster</strong> blue to the RDS, to<br />

designing this season’s shirt. Aaron Craig’s journey has<br />

been amazing. The adidas Designer talks us through<br />

his design and what it means to create the shirt for his<br />

boyhood club.<br />

How did you begin working with adidas?<br />

When I was at the National College of Art and Design Dublin, I learned<br />

of adidas’ intern program. A lifelong fan of the brand, I knew it was an<br />

amazing opportunity. Luckily, I got to join adidas as an intern in 2016<br />

and I’ve been in Herzogenaurach (adidas HQ) ever since. I’m now a<br />

licensed apparel designer for some of the biggest teams in the world.<br />

What drew you to this project?<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> asked if there were any Irish designers at adidas HQ they<br />

could collaborate with. For a lad who comes from <strong>Leinster</strong> that grew<br />

up supporting the team, this was a massive bucket list moment. My<br />

grandfather even worked the entrance gates the RDS and Donnybrook<br />

for years.<br />

What was your inspiration for the design?<br />

The inspiration came quite naturally. Each county of <strong>Leinster</strong> was to be<br />

represented equally with their heraldic crests – instantly recognisable<br />

symbols. I wanted to recount my own <strong>Leinster</strong> memories too. That<br />

meant introducing the darker blue sleeves and the collegiate gold<br />

detailing. To me, it’s a design that could be worn by players from any<br />

generation, from O’Driscoll to Sexton.<br />

How do you keep designs fresh year on year?<br />

We work closely with clubs to find authentic and fresh stories. At<br />

adidas, we also want to be at the forefront of performance technologies<br />

and sustainability. So every year we work to combine the two.<br />

Which design excited you the most?<br />

On a professional level, I designed the Spanish national team kits for<br />

the World Cup this season. The biggest sporting event there is. But,<br />

on a personal level, being part of the first adidas Celtic jersey in 2020<br />

and now seeing the framed <strong>Leinster</strong> kits in my parents’ home in Dublin<br />

might just be level with the World Cup.<br />

How does it feel to see your designs worn by thousands of fans?<br />

Seeing your jersey enjoyed by fans is definitely one of the most<br />

rewarding aspects of our jobs. Seeing people of all ages around Dublin<br />

on game day. Outside the pubs and cafés around the RDS. It’s a real<br />

pinch yourself moment for sure.


Newstead Building A,<br />

UCD,<br />

Belfield,<br />

Dublin 4<br />

#LEIVMUN<br />

The Line up<br />

Telephone:<br />

012693224<br />

Fax:<br />

012693142<br />

E-mail:<br />

information@leinsterrugby.ie<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie<br />

6<br />

24<br />

EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT<br />

President: Debbie Carty<br />

Chief Executive: Michael Dawson<br />

Honorary Secretary: Stuart Bayley<br />

Honorary Treasurer: Michael McGrail<br />

RUGBY MANAGEMENT<br />

Head Coach: Leo Cullen<br />

Senior Coach: Stuart Lancaster<br />

Head of Rugby Operations:<br />

Guy Easterby<br />

Assistant Coach: Robin McBryde<br />

Backs Coach: Andrew Goodman<br />

Kicking Coach: Emmet Farrell<br />

Contact Skills Coach: Seán O’Brien<br />

14<br />

PROGRAMME CREDITS<br />

Editorial Team: Marcus Ó Buachalla<br />

& Paul Cahill<br />

Advertising: Gary Nolan<br />

Design: Julian Tredinnick,<br />

Ignition Sports Media<br />

Photography: Sportsfile<br />

Chief Steward: Sword Security<br />

Ambulance: St. John’s Ambulance<br />

Medilink<br />

Event Control & Safety Services:<br />

Eamonn O’Boyle & Associates<br />

72<br />

Stay<br />

connected<br />

& keep<br />

up-to-date<br />

86<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 3


Debbie Carty welcome<br />

PRESIDENT, LEINSTER RUGBY 2022/23<br />

On behalf of <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby, I would<br />

like to welcome you all to the Aviva<br />

Stadium for this afternoon’s match<br />

against our old rivals <strong>Munster</strong> in<br />

Round 6 of this season’s BKT United<br />

Rugby Championship.<br />

I am delighted that we will be<br />

producing both a virtual and<br />

printed match programme for<br />

this match for the first time in<br />

two years! Covid-19 impacted<br />

a lot of things and the way we<br />

do things and it impacted on<br />

a lot of companies, including<br />

the company that used to<br />

print our programmes. But the<br />

communications team back at the<br />

Branch, feel they might have a<br />

solution so this afternoon’s game<br />

and match programme is being<br />

done on a trial basis to see where<br />

the appetite is at for a return to<br />

hard copy programmes!<br />

Once off? Or a full return? We shall see!<br />

But I know many of our supporters enjoy<br />

the mementos from games so great to<br />

see it back today.<br />

I wish to extend a warm welcome to<br />

Dublin to our <strong>Munster</strong> visitors and<br />

congratulate Ger McNamara on his<br />

appointment as President to <strong>Munster</strong><br />

Rugby. To the squad, their Head<br />

Coach, Graham Rowntree and their<br />

management team, I hope you are<br />

enjoying your visit here for the URC<br />

match.<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> have won their last five<br />

matches in the URC and I would like<br />

to congratulate the <strong>Leinster</strong> squad<br />

captained by Garry Ringrose on their<br />

win over Connacht last week and they<br />

will be confident heading into tonight’s<br />

match. But, of course, we can never be<br />

complacent around <strong>Munster</strong> especially<br />

as they had a great win against the<br />

Bulls last weekend so we expect this<br />

afternoon to be a challenging and<br />

physical match as always.<br />

I have no doubt that Leo and his squad<br />

are up for the challenge and we look<br />

forward to the season ahead.<br />

With Autumn Internationals and a Six<br />

Nations it will be a busy rugby season,<br />

but I know you will join me in wishing<br />

Leo and the squad every success. I look<br />

forward to meeting our many supporters<br />

of the <strong>Leinster</strong> team be it in Energia Park,<br />

the RDS Arena, the Aviva Stadium and<br />

beyond.<br />

On the domestic front, all competitions;<br />

Bank of Ireland <strong>Leinster</strong> Leagues,<br />

Energia WAIL and AIL are all up and<br />

running as the teams start the task of<br />

taking their teams towards promotion<br />

from their divisions, with most Clubs<br />

fielding 2nds and 3rds teams this year<br />

it promises to be an exciting season<br />

ahead.<br />

I would like to congratulate MU Barnhall<br />

on the running of their Buffalo Blitz<br />

recently, after an absence of two years<br />

it was great to see all the teams; with<br />

national and international teams taking<br />

part, it was a huge success.<br />

A lot of our clubs that were awarded<br />

Sports Capital Funding over the last two<br />

years have been very busy updating<br />

their clubs, grounds and facilities.<br />

Congratulations to Skerries RFC on<br />

their new 3G pitch, Wicklow RFC on<br />

their new dressing rooms and gym,<br />

Stillorgan/Rathfarnham RFC on both<br />

their 50th Anniversary and to finally<br />

achieving their dream of having their<br />

own grounds and pitches in Heavy Park,<br />

and to Kilkenny RFC on their new gym<br />

and dressing rooms and improving their<br />

pitches and Club Grounds. Well done<br />

to all clubs who are currently in the same<br />

position and are busy working away to<br />

upgrade their clubs.<br />

I’d like to take this opportunity to<br />

congratulate Lansdowne FC and<br />

their President Mick Dawson on their<br />

150th Anniversary and their recent<br />

successful book launch and gala ball to<br />

commemorate this great occasion.<br />

I would like to welcome to the Aviva<br />

Stadium this afternoon the mini rugby<br />

teams who will play at half time in the<br />

Bank of Ireland Mini Games. To the<br />

players from all four rugby clubs, your<br />

coaches and parents, I know you will<br />

all enjoy the occasion. I would ask all<br />

supporters to show your appreciation<br />

and cheer on these young stars of the<br />

future when they play at half time.<br />

It would be remiss of me not to mention<br />

our CEO Mick Dawson who retires at<br />

the end of this month.<br />

Mick has led <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby to greatness<br />

over his 21 years at the helm and it has<br />

4 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


With Autumn<br />

Internationals<br />

and a Six<br />

Nations it<br />

will be a busy<br />

rugby season,<br />

but I know you<br />

will join me in<br />

wishing Leo and<br />

the squad every<br />

success.<br />

been a great honour for me to have<br />

worked with him and be guided by him<br />

over the last few years. I wish him well<br />

in his retirement and look forward to<br />

meeting him on the circuit in his position<br />

as President of Lansdowne FC this year.<br />

To our title sponsor Bank of<br />

Ireland, great patrons of both our<br />

professional and domestic games,<br />

who along with all our premium<br />

partners and suppliers, who do<br />

so much to support <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby, I offer my sincere<br />

thanks.<br />

Finally, to you the fans, our<br />

Season Ticket Holders,<br />

members of the Official<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Supporters Club<br />

and friends of <strong>Leinster</strong>,<br />

I thank you for the<br />

contribution you make on<br />

match days.<br />

I am sure this afternoon<br />

will be no different as you<br />

get the roar going and<br />

the flags waving to cheer<br />

on the boys in blue to<br />

another victory.<br />

Let us hope for an energetic,<br />

exciting and injury free<br />

match tonight.<br />

Debbie Carty<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby President<br />

2022/23<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 5


Leo Cullen<br />

head Coach Welcome<br />

Good afternoon and welcome to the Aviva<br />

Stadium for today’s fixture against our<br />

timeless provincial rivals <strong>Munster</strong>.<br />

A special welcome to Graham<br />

Rowntree, also known as ‘Wig’,<br />

my old Leicester Tigers teammate,<br />

who gets to experience his first<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> v <strong>Munster</strong> game as head<br />

coach of the visitors.<br />

As we all know, the form book goes out<br />

the window for interprovincial derby<br />

games, so even though <strong>Munster</strong> are<br />

probably not where they want to be in<br />

the league table, we know that means<br />

nothing once the game kicks off – and<br />

we expect a formidable challenge.<br />

For me, this fixture will always echo back<br />

to my last meeting with Anthony Foley.<br />

It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years<br />

since his untimely passing – a sad day<br />

for Irish rugby. Whether you are a red or<br />

a blue, Axel will always be remembered<br />

fondly and we wish the best for Olive<br />

and their two boys, now and in the future.<br />

6 | www.leinsterrugby.ie<br />

As always, there’s been huge interest<br />

in today’s match and I want to say how<br />

much we all appreciate everyone who<br />

has turned up to cheer on their respective<br />

team.<br />

Provincial loyalty is a cornerstone of Irish<br />

rugby and when you see some of the<br />

challenges taking place in the English<br />

game at the moment, it drives home<br />

how lucky we are to count on such a<br />

loyal supporter base. It’s vital that we<br />

do everything we can to safeguard our<br />

provincial identity as a real point of<br />

difference in the professional game.<br />

A big thanks to all our supporters<br />

who braved the elements in Galway<br />

last weekend. There was a fantastic<br />

atmosphere in the Sportsground even<br />

though scores in the game were very<br />

hard to come by.<br />

Every provincial derby game produces<br />

a different challenge, and we know we<br />

have to be ready for whatever today’s<br />

match throws at us.<br />

A big thanks to all the team’s sponsors,<br />

in particular Bank of Ireland. After a<br />

long time without crowds, it has been<br />

fun to have more and more matchday<br />

activations and other events around<br />

games.<br />

On that note, we were delighted to<br />

welcome DigitalWell on board this week<br />

as Official Communications Partner and<br />

Official Secure Collaboration Partner to<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby.<br />

Welcome also to Tadgh McElroy, who<br />

joins us as hooker cover for the next few<br />

months. With a couple of injuries in the<br />

squad, Tadgh brings some important<br />

experience to our group and we hope he<br />

goes well when given opportunities.<br />

I’d like to sign off by saying a big thank<br />

you to Mick Dawson for everything he<br />

has done, not only for <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby but<br />

also for me personally.<br />

Professional sport can be a cut-throat<br />

business at times, but Mick has always<br />

had an amazing ability to maintain the<br />

‘dual mandate’ of <strong>Leinster</strong>, in other<br />

words balancing the professional<br />

with the amateur ethos of our great<br />

club.<br />

We have shared some brilliant<br />

days together and we will miss<br />

him greatly.<br />

In the meantime, I’m sure he’ll<br />

have plenty to keep him busy<br />

as President of Lansdowne FC,<br />

especially as they celebrate 150<br />

proud seasons.<br />

We look forward to welcoming<br />

Mick and Aileen back here for<br />

many years to come.<br />

Again, thank you to everyone for turning<br />

out to support their province and here’s<br />

to a cracking game of rugby!<br />

Leo


I’d like to sign<br />

off by saying a<br />

big thank you to<br />

Mick Dawson for<br />

everything he has<br />

done, not only for<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby<br />

but also for me<br />

personally.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 7


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laura<br />

lynch<br />

BANK OF IRELAND<br />

CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER<br />

A very warm welcome to the<br />

Aviva Stadium from Bank of<br />

Ireland, for what promises<br />

to be a hugely exciting game<br />

against <strong>Munster</strong> Rugby.<br />

Whilst we know that Leo Cullen<br />

and his squad engage in the<br />

pursuit of excellence for all their<br />

matches, we’re sure that they<br />

would have had a circle in the<br />

calendar around this fixture at<br />

the start of the season, providing<br />

as it does such massive levels of<br />

anticipation and excitement for<br />

true blue rugby fans.<br />

I wish Leo and all the players the best of<br />

luck today.<br />

On behalf of Bank of Ireland, I want to<br />

congratulate Mick Dawson - a man who<br />

has done so much for <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby for<br />

the past 21 years.<br />

As CEO, he has overseen the remarkable<br />

progress of <strong>Leinster</strong> over the past two<br />

decades, both on and off the pitch - and<br />

the organisation has flourished under his<br />

direction.<br />

I would personally like to wish Mick a<br />

very happy retirement and a successful<br />

season as President of Lansdowne FC.<br />

How fitting that your last home game as<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby CEO would be on the<br />

doorstep of your own home club.<br />

I congratulate the <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby U-19s<br />

who recently received a lap of honour<br />

at the RDS Arena in recognition of their<br />

tremendous achievement in winning their<br />

interprovincial series. Well done to all<br />

involved - it’s great to be starting another<br />

season with such positivity across our 12<br />

counties.<br />

Best of luck to the Portarlington,<br />

Enniscorthy, Blessington and Carlingford<br />

minis teams taking part in our half-time<br />

games this afternoon, and also to our<br />

match day mascots. We hope you have<br />

a wonderful day with your friends and<br />

families at the Aviva Stadium.<br />

Finally, to you the <strong>Leinster</strong> supporters.<br />

The challenge today and over the<br />

coming weeks is to keep your boundless<br />

energy levels high for the boys in blue as<br />

they face a series of tough challenges.<br />

Your support is hugely important as<br />

that sea of blue plays a pivotal role in<br />

ensuring that we #NeverStopCompeting.<br />

Enjoy the game,<br />

Laura Lynch.<br />

BANK OF IRELAND<br />

CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 9


Did you know?<br />

• <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby have a 100%<br />

winning record after five<br />

rounds of the BKT United Rugby<br />

Championship.<br />

• The <strong>Leinster</strong>men have<br />

lost only once at home in<br />

any competition since last<br />

November and that by a solitary<br />

point to the Vodacom Bulls in<br />

last season’s semi-final.<br />

• <strong>Leinster</strong> have played twentyfive<br />

previous fixtures at<br />

Landsdowne Road/Aviva Stadium<br />

in the Championship with their<br />

only defeat being 23-34 to<br />

<strong>Munster</strong> in October 2014.<br />

• <strong>Munster</strong>’s two victories so<br />

far in the BKT United Rugby<br />

Championship were both in home<br />

fixtures against Zebre and<br />

Vodacom Bulls<br />

• The <strong>Munster</strong>men have won<br />

only once away from home in the<br />

Championship since January 24-<br />

17 against Ulster in Belfast in<br />

April.<br />

• <strong>Munster</strong>’s most recent<br />

victory at Aviva Stadium was<br />

49-12 over Connacht behind<br />

closed doors in August 2020,<br />

although they did draw there<br />

24-all against Toulouse in last<br />

season’s European Champions Cup<br />

quarter final, albeit eventually<br />

losing the penalty shootout 2-4.<br />

• The two provinces have met<br />

on 165 previous occasions with<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> having the edge by 105<br />

wins to 49 with eleven games<br />

drawn.<br />

• <strong>Leinster</strong> have lost only one of<br />

their last nine fixtures against<br />

their fiercest rivals: 3-27 at<br />

the RDS Arena in the Rainbow Cup<br />

in April 2021.<br />

COMPARISON<br />

Overall URC head-to-head record:<br />

Played 45, <strong>Leinster</strong> won 30, <strong>Munster</strong> won 15.<br />

Last 3 URC results:<br />

30 Sep - Ulster (A) W 20-13 1 Oct - Zebre (H) W 21-5<br />

8 Oct - Sharks (H) W 54-34 7 Oct - Connacht (A) L 11-20<br />

14 Oct - Connacht (A) W 10-0 15 Oct - Bulls (H) W 31-17<br />

URC 2022/23<br />

1ST - W5 D0 L0 - 23PTS<br />

10TH - W2 D0 L3 - 11PTS<br />

WWWWW (23pts)<br />

URC form<br />

LLWLW (11pts)<br />

Top try scorer<br />

5 - Dan Sheehan 2 - Gavin Coombes, Niall Scannell<br />

Top points scorer<br />

26 - Ross Byrne 30 - Ben Healy<br />

Date Venue L M <strong>Leinster</strong> scorers <strong>Munster</strong> scorers<br />

Fri 4<br />

Sep 20<br />

Sat 23<br />

Jan 21<br />

Sat 27<br />

Mar 21<br />

Sat 24<br />

Apr 21<br />

Sat 2<br />

Apr 22<br />

Sat 21<br />

May 22<br />

Aviva Stadium (SF) 13 3 Ronan Kelleher(T) Johnny Sexton(C/2P) JJ Hanrahan(P)<br />

Thomond Park 13 10 Ross Byrne(C) Jordan Larmour(T) Johnny<br />

Sexton(2P)<br />

Tadhg Beirne(T) JJ Hanrahan(C/P)<br />

RDS Arena (TF) 16 6 Jack Conan(T) Ross Byrne(C/3P) Joey Carbery(2P)<br />

RDS Arena (RC) 3 27 David Hawkshaw(P) Conor Murray(2T) Joey Carbery(2C/2P)<br />

Penalty Try(T)<br />

Thomond Park 34 19 James Lowe(2T) Ross Byrne(C/4P) Garry<br />

Ringrose(T) Jimmy O'Brien(T)<br />

Aviva Stadium 35 25 Harry Byrne(2C/3P) Cormac Foley(T) Scott<br />

Penny(T) Rory O'Loughlin(T) Penalty Try(T)<br />

Damian de Allende(T) Joey Carbery(C/4P)<br />

Mike Haley(T) Jack O'Donoghue(T) Conor<br />

Murray(T) Joey Carbery(2C/2P)<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 13


sh<br />

14 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


dan<br />

eehan<br />

the big interview<br />

BY MARCUS Ó BUACHALLA<br />

A second interprovincial derby<br />

in the space of eight days is<br />

enough to get anyone giddy<br />

and <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby hooker, Dan<br />

Sheehan, is no different.<br />

As he settles his 6’3 frame into<br />

a seat at the <strong>Leinster</strong> base in<br />

UCD, he is still excited by the job<br />

done at the weekend out west in<br />

Galway and equally enthused by<br />

what lies ahead.<br />

First things first, a win against Connacht<br />

Rugby in near apocalyptic conditions.<br />

“Always going down to the Sportsground<br />

it’s difficult anyway, but then when the<br />

conditions come into play, it makes it<br />

even harder. So when you look back on<br />

it, to go there, in those conditions, and to<br />

win and also to keep them scoreless is a<br />

pretty good outcome.<br />

“Like every game, there are areas for<br />

us to improve and we’ve got a brilliant<br />

game now to look forward to, to try and<br />

improve on those things.”<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 15


What frustrated them and what’s to<br />

improve on?<br />

“I suppose when you score so early and<br />

then don’t add to it for a while, that’s<br />

one element. So to keep the scoreboard<br />

ticking along especially after such a<br />

strong start, you want to build on it and<br />

we didn’t do that.<br />

“Against that I think we have to be<br />

happy with our defensive performance.<br />

We were under the pump a fair bit<br />

and under our posts a bit but we didn’t<br />

concede anything and against a team<br />

like Connacht to hold them out for a full<br />

game is very satisfying.”<br />

In his post-match comments to media,<br />

Jimmy O’Brien mentioned the wind in<br />

Galway and that usually it plays one<br />

way and you can read it from there and<br />

that read stays fairly consistent, but that<br />

the wind last Friday was a different beast<br />

altogether.<br />

Swirling and changing direction at will.<br />

It made conditions for catching the ball<br />

for back three players like O’Brien very<br />

challenging. As it did for Ross Byrne and<br />

Ciarán Frawley on kicking duties and<br />

indeed for Sheehan and John McKee on<br />

throwing duties at hooker.<br />

Those are the nights that ask serious<br />

questions of your technique and your<br />

process.<br />

“For somewhere like the Sportsground,<br />

which is an exposed stadium, during<br />

the week we make sure that we have<br />

the conversations internally about the<br />

conditions but also the different options<br />

we have depending on how the weather<br />

plays out.<br />

“Especially around lineout time, the wind<br />

in Galway impacts different parts of the<br />

pitch differently. One stand, depending<br />

on how it’s blowing, could cover some<br />

of that wind, but another position on the<br />

pitch could be completely at the mercy of<br />

the elements.<br />

“Being able to manipulate the opposition<br />

to be able to win an easy ball at the<br />

front or a different option and to keep it<br />

tight, so I think, in that moment you have<br />

to stick to the process and that comes<br />

back to being prepared during the week<br />

and seeing all the possibilities good and<br />

early. Nothing should surprise you on<br />

match day if you’ve your prep done.<br />

“It won’t always go your way especially<br />

in conditions like that but then it’s about<br />

the next moment and not getting bogged<br />

down in it. Forget it. Next moment and<br />

move on.”<br />

In Sheehan’s ear on Friday evening were<br />

the Connacht fanatics in the Clan Terrace<br />

and a packed-out Sportsground, looking<br />

to put him off, but there were also the<br />

familiar voices of Messrs. Dooley and<br />

Murphy in the Connacht pack.<br />

Two old friends, turned foes, and doing<br />

their best to make sure that Sheehan<br />

and Co. knew they were in a game,<br />

especially at scrum and lineout time.<br />

He smiles as he reflects on the<br />

interactions. All part and parcel of the<br />

modern match day environment, both on<br />

and off the pitch.<br />

“It was great to see the lads after the<br />

game, definitely. But before the game or<br />

during the game, we were all ready to<br />

bite each other’s ears off! But that’s what<br />

you’d expect. Them going at us, and us<br />

at them. We’d expect no different.<br />

“It’s always a challenge coming against<br />

players like that. Peter and Josh know<br />

what we are about, inside out, and<br />

especially given they were here in<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> recently, it’s probably even<br />

more of an issue. And then you had<br />

Dave Hawkshaw playing at centre and<br />

16 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


these are the big days, the interpros,<br />

the European games, the massive games<br />

you want to be involved in.<br />

Adam (Byrne) is obviously there as<br />

well.<br />

“The lads are all going well at Connacht<br />

and you’d wish them well. Four great<br />

lads. I know Adam wasn’t playing on<br />

Friday but the other three lads definitely<br />

caused us issues at times in areas that<br />

they knew they could exploit.<br />

“That happens though. Not just in this<br />

game but in games between all the<br />

provinces. There is that familiarity that we<br />

all have from time in with Ireland or from<br />

lads moving clubs and it’s an element<br />

to these games that we all have to deal<br />

with.<br />

“If anything it probably adds to the mix<br />

for these games and the uncertainty of<br />

how that knowledge plays out.”<br />

With the Autumn internationals around<br />

the corner, Sheehan has to be happy<br />

with his stats.<br />

He has four starts from five games<br />

for <strong>Leinster</strong> so far this season and a<br />

remarkable five tries, including four in the<br />

game against Benetton Rugby. He also<br />

has two Player of the Match awards to<br />

his name.<br />

When you add that into the mix and<br />

a successful and historic test series win<br />

against New Zealand with Ireland,<br />

things are going well but he is very quick<br />

to distance himself from too much praise,<br />

in particular around his try-scoring feats.<br />

Instead he credits the work of scrum<br />

coach Robin McBryde and a different<br />

focus over the last few seasons.<br />

“I haven’t scored in the last two games,<br />

to be fair,” he jokes, “but to be honest,<br />

the reality is that the work is done<br />

elsewhere and I am just at the end of that<br />

work.<br />

“Robin came in a few years ago now<br />

but he put a huge emphasis on our<br />

maul work and on our set-piece so it’s<br />

something that we’ve relied on heavily in<br />

the last two seasons in particular to give<br />

us access into games and to put points<br />

on the scoreboard so I think if you look<br />

at any of our hookers we’ve all scored<br />

more tries that would be expected from<br />

that position. It’s not just me.<br />

“It’s something that we can really look<br />

forward to and try to improve even more<br />

as the season progresses.”<br />

To the <strong>Munster</strong> Rugby game today and<br />

a first home interpro of the season and<br />

similar to the Connacht game last week,<br />

there is more than a sense of familiarity<br />

with this one.<br />

Yes there are the international bonds<br />

forged during historic tours to New<br />

Zealand but there is also the small matter<br />

of the former <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby contact skills<br />

coach, Denis Leamy, now back in a<br />

red tracksuit as the <strong>Munster</strong> defence<br />

coach.<br />

Sheehan enjoyed working with Leamy,<br />

first in his role with the ‘A’ team and<br />

then in the last year as he worked with<br />

the Senior team.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 17


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“Two season ago when I was playing<br />

a lot of <strong>Leinster</strong> ‘A’ rugby, Leams would<br />

have been heavily involved with that<br />

team. He was great to work with.<br />

“He was great for the small details.<br />

The detail around the breakdown in<br />

particular and I suppose the dark arts<br />

of rugby and it’s been interesting to see<br />

some of those ideas or even some of the<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> ideas play out now in some of<br />

the things we’ve seen from <strong>Munster</strong> so<br />

far this season.<br />

“So that is something we need to adapt<br />

to. But yeah, for Leams, he’s had a huge<br />

impact on my game over the last two<br />

years in particular. I enjoyed working<br />

with him.”<br />

What have they scouted in the five<br />

<strong>Munster</strong> Rugby performances to date?<br />

There has been a lot of chatter in media<br />

and amongst supporters, but what has<br />

the <strong>Leinster</strong> brains trust seen?<br />

“I think for a start it’s only natural with<br />

a new coaching team and then a few<br />

changes in their squad, that it will take a<br />

while to get going but over the last few<br />

games we can see things taking shape<br />

and they are up and running.<br />

“There is a change though, you can<br />

definitely see that. I think we are seeing<br />

a more expansive game that they are<br />

trying to play and for them, a game up<br />

in Dublin, in the Aviva Stadium, against<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> is the perfect game to really kickstart<br />

their season.<br />

“If they can put in a performance on<br />

Saturday nobody will be talking about<br />

the games until now because that will<br />

have them confident again. That is<br />

what we have to ready ourselves for, a<br />

physical game, backs to the wall, them<br />

coming out fighting and knowing they<br />

need to deliver.<br />

you have to stay focused<br />

as much as you can on the<br />

here and now and not get<br />

distracted by what’s coming<br />

down the line.<br />

“We have to acknowledge that and<br />

be ready for it but also have our own<br />

ambition and our own mindset and goals<br />

front and centre. Focus on ourselves<br />

and a performance in front of our own<br />

supporters and what we want to take<br />

from the game.”<br />

There have been big games up to now<br />

in the BKT United Rugby Championship<br />

season, including two interpros, but this<br />

feels different. As it should.<br />

“Especially in the Aviva, these are the<br />

big days, the interpros, the European<br />

games, the massive games you want to<br />

be involved in.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 19


“Great crowd and noise, family and<br />

friends there. You couldn’t ask for me.<br />

And then it’s <strong>Munster</strong>. It’s always a big<br />

day. All the boys are really excited to get<br />

stuck into their opposite number because<br />

the points are crucial for the URC table<br />

but then you’ve also got the Irish coaches<br />

looking in and the games around the<br />

corner.”<br />

He has mentioned the small matter of<br />

South Africa, Fiji and Australia in passing<br />

and it’s clear it’s in the back of his head<br />

but he also knows that thinking too<br />

far ahead won’t do him or any of his<br />

colleagues in blue any favours.<br />

“Exactly. I know it’s a cliché but you will<br />

only pull on an Ireland jersey by going<br />

well in a blue one so you have to stay<br />

focused as much as you can on the<br />

here and now and not get distracted by<br />

what’s coming down the line.<br />

“Everyone is looking for consistency in<br />

the week-to-week games and that edge<br />

that you can bring so this week, that’s<br />

all I can focus on and then whatever<br />

happens after that, I’ll focus on that.”<br />

This afternoon at 5.14pm one man who<br />

has been consistency personified, over<br />

many years, will lead <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby out<br />

onto the Aviva Stadium turf.<br />

Johnny Sexton is Sheehan’s captain for<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> and for Ireland, but is now on his<br />

final few laps of the track, with retirement<br />

after the 2023 Rugby World Cup wellflagged.<br />

It’s not quite time to hang up the boots<br />

yet for Sexton, but what has the 24-yearold<br />

Sheehan made of the last few years<br />

training and playing alongside him.<br />

“I talk about consistency week to week<br />

and that’s it for me.<br />

“He drives the standards more than<br />

anyone I’ve ever met, at club or<br />

international level. The standards that<br />

he shows and expects from others<br />

is something that has had a massive<br />

impact over all the squads that he’s been<br />

involved with over the last 15, 20 years.<br />

“You can see that in the way people<br />

react to him, play for him, show up<br />

around him. He’s the ultimate captain.<br />

He’s someone that you want to play for,<br />

you don’t want to let him down.”<br />

The ‘ultimate captain’ reference has been<br />

challenged externally over the last few<br />

weeks especially off the back of the Cell<br />

C Sharks game and some of Sexton’s<br />

discussions with the referee in<br />

that game, but internally, there<br />

is nothing but support for<br />

Sexton and Sheehan knows<br />

exactly what he wants from<br />

his captain.<br />

“Johnny’s hugely<br />

passionate and gets<br />

himself into any game, no<br />

matter what it is.<br />

“But that is also his role.<br />

To have those chats with<br />

the ref, in the right way of<br />

course and respectfully,<br />

but at times he has to<br />

get his point across too<br />

and I think in a match<br />

when you are away<br />

from the action,<br />

or you hear<br />

something on the<br />

ref mic, it can<br />

get blown out<br />

of proportion,<br />

but I think it<br />

just shows<br />

I think you<br />

can clearly<br />

see that<br />

he’s always<br />

going to be<br />

there for his<br />

teammates<br />

and it’s<br />

exactly what<br />

you want in a<br />

captain.<br />

20 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


how passionate he is about his team<br />

mates, about winning, about <strong>Leinster</strong> and<br />

about Ireland as well.<br />

“I think you can clearly see that he’s<br />

always going to be there for his<br />

teammates and it’s exactly what you<br />

want in a captain.”<br />

As our chat concludes, talk drifts towards<br />

family, his roots and indeed his ties to<br />

Lansdowne FC.<br />

His late grandfather, Denis Shaw, played<br />

for <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby back in the 1950s,<br />

while his father Barry would have played<br />

for UCD in the 80s and 90s, and his<br />

uncle Derry Shaw was President of<br />

Lansdowne for the 2019/20 season.<br />

Talk also drifts towards Mick Dawson,<br />

the <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby CEO, who departs<br />

at the end of the month after 21 years<br />

in the hot seat.<br />

Dawson, like Sheehan, is a proud<br />

Lansdowne FC man, and as he takes<br />

his bow from <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby he does so<br />

as Lansdowne celebrate 150 years in<br />

existence and with Dawson as President<br />

for that special celebration.<br />

Sheehan was one of the guests of<br />

honour at the recent gala ball and<br />

reflects fondly on Dawson’s legacy but<br />

also the role of Lansdowne in his own<br />

career to date after playing for the club<br />

in the Energia All-Ireland League having<br />

impressed for Dublin University FC prior<br />

to that.<br />

“Lansdowne has been a big part of my<br />

life, but not just my life, it’s been part of<br />

the narrative to my family life and we’ve<br />

had links with the club for years.<br />

“A good few uncles and family friends<br />

growing up, it’s the club you went to<br />

watching games and three seasons ago<br />

with my uncle, Derry, as President of<br />

Lansdowne, it was one of my proudest<br />

moments to pull on the famous jersey and<br />

to play for him.<br />

“That was huge for me, it really was, and<br />

to get a good season with them and to<br />

pull on the jersey a good few times, it still<br />

means a lot to this day because it’s such<br />

a historic club as well. They’ve the 150th<br />

anniversary celebrations this year and<br />

it’s brilliant for Mick.<br />

“Mick being President for a special year,<br />

he has done a huge amount already for<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> and is now doing even more<br />

for Lansdowne and really showing his<br />

support for the 150th year.<br />

“Lansdowne will always be close to my<br />

heart and it was a great night at the ball.<br />

It was brilliant to catch up with coaches<br />

I’ve had like Mike Ruddock and Mark<br />

McHugh, all these great people that I’ve<br />

had in my life, guiding me and giving<br />

me advice.<br />

“Even looking back on my time with<br />

Mike and one of the first things he<br />

showed me when I met him was a scrum<br />

machine. It was one of the things that I<br />

really wanted to develop at the time and<br />

he made sure that I was developing and<br />

he took special notice because he knew<br />

it was an area that I needed to improve<br />

to get into the professional game and<br />

I’ve a huge amount to be thankful<br />

for. Thankful to Mike and thankful to<br />

Lansdowne.”<br />

As he talks in a calm, measured and<br />

mature manner, you forget that he is still<br />

so young.<br />

At 24 years of age, his best days are<br />

arguably still ahead of him, but for now,<br />

let’s take his own advice from earlier.<br />

Let’s enjoy the moment now, let’s<br />

enjoy his performances and what he’s<br />

achieving. Let’s enjoy the game today.<br />

And down the line will look after itself.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 21


0<br />

10<br />

Action<br />

replay<br />

FRIDAY 14TH OCTOBER 2022<br />

SPORTSGROUND<br />

REFEREE: FRANK MURPHY<br />

ATTENDANCE: 6,997<br />

UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP<br />

SCAN THIS QR CODE FOR<br />

THE FULL MATCH REPORT<br />

SCAN THIS QR CODE FOR<br />

THE MATCH HIGHLIGHTS<br />

CONNACHT:<br />

Conor Fitzgerald, John Porch, Byron Ralston, David<br />

Hawkshaw, Mack Hansen, Jack Carty (capt),<br />

Colm Reilly; Peter Dooley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay<br />

Bealham, Niall Murray, Gavin Thornbury; Josh<br />

Murphy, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Paul Boyle.<br />

REPLACEMENTS: Grant Stewart for Heffernan<br />

(59), Denis Buckley for Dooley (44), Jack Aungier<br />

for Bealham (62), Oisin Dowling for Thornbury<br />

(55), Conor Oliver for Hurley-Langton (55), Caolin<br />

Blade for Reilly (50), Tom Daly for Fitzgerald (65),<br />

Ciaran Booth.<br />

YELLOW CARD: N Murray<br />

LEINSTER:<br />

Jimmy O’Brien, Liam Turner, Garry Ringrose (capt),<br />

Charlie Ngatai, Rob Russell, Ross Byrne, Cormac<br />

Foley, Ed Byrne, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Ross<br />

Molony, James Ryan, Caelan Doris, Josh van der<br />

Flier, Jack Conan.<br />

REPLACEMENTS: John McKee for van der Flier<br />

(70), Andrew Porter for Byrne (44), Michael<br />

Ala’alatoa for Furlong (40), Joe McCarthy for<br />

James Ryan (62), Martin Moloney, Nick McCarthy<br />

for Foley (54), Ciarán Frawley for Russell (72),<br />

Robbie Henshaw for Ngatai (46).<br />

TRY: C. Foley CON: R. Byrne PEN: C. Frawley<br />

A very tough<br />

game and we’re<br />

just delighted<br />

to get the four<br />

points and get<br />

home! The wind<br />

was across<br />

the pitch so it<br />

was different<br />

to what we are<br />

used to here.<br />

I thought we<br />

managed it well<br />

enough. And then<br />

to keep them out<br />

for 80 minutes,<br />

was very<br />

satisfying.<br />

Jimmy O’Brien<br />

22 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


We start the<br />

game well and<br />

had some more<br />

chances to<br />

push on but we<br />

couldn’t quite<br />

nail them. The<br />

crowd are into<br />

everything here<br />

and Connacht<br />

players feed<br />

off that. So it’s<br />

a great<br />

reflection on<br />

provincial rugby<br />

in Ireland.<br />

Leo Cullen<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 23


CYM Rugby Club,<br />

Terenure, celebrate Ten<br />

Years of Women’s Rugby<br />

BY EMMA LOUISE KEOGH, LEINSTER WOMEN’S RUGBY PRO<br />

Ten years ago this season<br />

women’s rugby did not exist at<br />

CYM RFC, while numbers for the<br />

men’s section were languishing.<br />

Fast forward to 2022 and a<br />

decade of women’s rugby is being<br />

celebrated and it’s been a decade<br />

which has transformed the<br />

fortunes of the entire club, a club<br />

with almost 100 years of history<br />

behind it.<br />

The women’s team started life in the<br />

then-development league of Division<br />

4. They quickly moved up to Division 2<br />

as numbers and the quality of players<br />

grew. Then in 2017, CYM women’s team<br />

secured promotion to Division 1 with<br />

a victory over Tullow in the Division 2<br />

League Final in Donnybrook. They spent<br />

four years in Division 1, before moving<br />

back to Division 2 this season.<br />

Beyond the results on-field and just<br />

as importantly, the establishment of a<br />

women’s team has allowed the club to<br />

flourish and mature.<br />

There is much more engagement in the<br />

club, female representation at executive<br />

level has been transformational, the club<br />

has a much greater role in community<br />

social responsibility and charity work,<br />

and we have had a few club weddings<br />

along the way!<br />

This October, to drum up interest, the<br />

CYM women held their annual Give It<br />

A Try night, welcoming players of all<br />

standards to join them for a fun-filled intro<br />

to rugby session, followed by a good<br />

chinwag and hot cuppa in the clubhouse<br />

afterward.<br />

A serious effort from everyone in the<br />

club prior to the night resulted in over<br />

30 women giving rugby a try and<br />

reinvigorated the team. This spark<br />

between new and veteran players has<br />

created a brilliant learning and friendly<br />

environment.<br />

Since then, CYM women won their first<br />

game of the season away to Balbriggan<br />

in Round 1 of the Bank of Ireland <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby Women’s League, with six new<br />

players in that squad, all of whom joined<br />

the Give It A Try night.<br />

“I’ve been only playing with CYM - and<br />

rugby itself! - for a month” says Sligo<br />

native Grace Filan who is now a member<br />

of CYM RFC.<br />

“The team has made me feel welcomed<br />

and capable both on and off the pitch<br />

through ice breakers incorporated in<br />

drills, detailed tutorials with videos,<br />

a buddy system, all of the women<br />

answering any questions, as well as<br />

baked goods and nights out! It’s been<br />

great to take up a sport, learn new skills,<br />

and join such a wholesome community.”<br />

The recently appointed captain, Noreen<br />

Cassidy, is no stranger to sports as a<br />

24 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


proud Mayo woman who grew up<br />

playing football for Aghamore and<br />

camogie for Na Brídeoga, Tooreen.<br />

Lacrosse even took her fancy once she hit<br />

the bright lights of college life in National<br />

University of Ireland, Galway and in<br />

2019 Cassidy represented Ireland with<br />

the women’s national Lacrosse Team in<br />

international competitions.<br />

Her rugby career didn’t start until 2017,<br />

where she took up social tag rugby<br />

for the summer season with her work<br />

colleagues, but CYM soon caught her<br />

eye at the Give It A Try night and it was<br />

all positive from there.<br />

“CYM has given me the opportunity<br />

to play an amazing sport but more<br />

importantly make lifelong friends. I got<br />

to play with Connacht last season for<br />

the interpros which was a huge honour,<br />

I learned a lot and hopefully brought<br />

that back to improve my club game and<br />

confidence as well.”<br />

Cassidy isn’t the only one with an<br />

interprovincial cap under their belt.<br />

Former women’s captain Rachel Horan,<br />

an Offaly native, and centre Grace Tutty<br />

of Limerick were both selected for <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby in recent seasons.<br />

Horan featured in the <strong>Leinster</strong> squad for<br />

four consecutive years (2016-2019),<br />

skipped a year due to the pandemic<br />

putting a kibosh on things, and finally<br />

in the 2021 season, where she played<br />

alongside former CYM teammate<br />

and now Irish International Hannah<br />

O’Connor.<br />

Tutty was also selected for the 2019<br />

squad, but unfortunately due to an ACL<br />

injury, had to put her <strong>Leinster</strong> dreams<br />

aside for the time-being. But she’s<br />

definitely one to watch!<br />

“It’s great for CYM to be celebrating ten<br />

years of women’s rugby this season. The<br />

introduction of women’s rugby to our club<br />

has completely revolutionised the way<br />

we run the club and how we consider all<br />

aspects of the game.<br />

“We are really looking forward to<br />

marking ten years of the CYM Women’s<br />

team with a special celebration later<br />

in the season,” said Bernard Murray,<br />

President of CYM RFC.<br />

Despite the recent drop in divisions, CYM<br />

RFC’s tenacious spirit, the addition of two<br />

pedigree coaches, and the reinvigoration<br />

of players new and old, means only good<br />

things for the Terenure-based club.<br />

CYM RFC has much more to offer its<br />

members than just an outlet to stay fit, it is<br />

a place for people to come and get that<br />

vital sense of belonging.<br />

There are 12 nationalities represented<br />

in the club not to mention someone from<br />

every county in Ireland, even Leitrim!<br />

If you’re interested in trying out rugby<br />

and meeting the women from this<br />

tenacious club, they’re running a second<br />

Give It A Try night on Thursday 27<br />

October 2022 at Terenure Sports Club,<br />

kicking off at 7pm.<br />

You can keep in touch and find out more<br />

on their social media.<br />

TRAINING TIMES:<br />

Tuesdays & Thursdays<br />

from 19:00 - 20:30 every week.<br />

Twitter: @cymrugby<br />

Instagram: @cymrfcterenure<br />

Facebook: CYMRugbyClubTerenure<br />

If you are<br />

interested in<br />

taking up rugby<br />

or you would like<br />

to follow our<br />

updates, check out<br />

our social media<br />

channels:<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Women<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>Womens<br />

@<strong>Leinster</strong>Women<br />

womenspro@leinsterrugby.ie<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 25


© 2022 adidas AG


leo<br />

the lion’s<br />

kids<br />

corner<br />

ANAGRAMS<br />

Can you un-jumble<br />

the names of these<br />

academy players?<br />

MY MINOR<br />

JIBE<br />

NO ORAL<br />

DRUM JAR<br />

spot the difference!<br />

Can you find all six?<br />

zoomed in!<br />

WHo is this leinster player<br />

having an extreme close-up?<br />

how did you do?<br />

ANAGRAMS<br />

Jimmy O’Brien, Jordan Larmour<br />

ZOOMED IN!<br />

Jamie Osborne<br />

a...<br />

...maze...<br />

...ing<br />

can you make<br />

your way<br />

through the<br />

maze to the<br />

ball?<br />

28 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Effective teamwork begins and<br />

ends with communication.<br />

Communication<br />

plays a vital role<br />

in any team,<br />

in any field.<br />

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AZTO<br />

with<br />

scott penny<br />

A – Action: If you could be a superhero,<br />

which would you be?<br />

Iron Man<br />

B – Boyhood: Who was your favourite<br />

sporting idol growing up?<br />

Rafael Nadal<br />

C – Childhood: What is your favourite<br />

childhood memory?<br />

Family ski trips to France<br />

D – Dish: What’s your go-to pre-match<br />

meal?<br />

Pancakes with banana and honey<br />

E – Education: What was your favourite<br />

subject in school?<br />

Maths<br />

F – Film buff: What’s your favourite film?<br />

The Dark Knight<br />

G – Groove: Who is the best dancer in<br />

the squad?<br />

Michael Milne<br />

H – Holiday: What’s your favourite<br />

holiday destination?<br />

Rosslare<br />

I – Inside: Who is the worst to sit beside<br />

in the dressing room?<br />

Rónan Kelleher (very messy!)<br />

J – Joker: Who is the funniest in the<br />

squad?<br />

Rhys Ruddock<br />

K – Kick-off: What’s your favourite time<br />

of the day to play a match?<br />

5pm<br />

L – Languages: How many languages<br />

can you speak?<br />

Three<br />

M – Music: Your favourite artist and<br />

song right now?<br />

Queen and Bohemian Rhapsody. Old<br />

school.<br />

30 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


N – Number: Do you have a<br />

lucky number?<br />

Nope<br />

O – Others: What’s your<br />

favourite sport outside of rugby?<br />

Golf<br />

P – Pal: Who is your best mate in<br />

the squad?<br />

Don’t have a single best mate,<br />

they all are!<br />

Q – Quirky: Who has the most<br />

interesting fashion sense?<br />

Jamison Gibson-Park<br />

R – Red Carpet: Who is the most<br />

famous contact in your phone?<br />

Johnny Sexton<br />

S – Superstitions: Do you have<br />

any matchday routines?<br />

Just a stretching routine<br />

T – Trim: What’s the worst<br />

haircut you’ve ever had?<br />

Pre-Junior Cup game haircut<br />

from 2014!<br />

U: Under pressure: Who in the<br />

squad would be the best in a<br />

bad situation?<br />

Ryan Baird<br />

V – Verified: How often do you<br />

use social media?<br />

30 minutes a day probably<br />

W – Worst fear: What are you<br />

most scared of?<br />

Snakes<br />

X – X-ray: Have you ever broken<br />

any bones?<br />

Yes my hand last season<br />

Y – Youth: Where did you grow<br />

up?<br />

Stillorgan in Dublin. Kilmacud<br />

Crokes Abú!<br />

Z – Zoo: What’s your favourite<br />

animal?<br />

Gorilla<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 31


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Family is at the Heart of<br />

Portarlington RFC<br />

BY BARRY LAMBKIN<br />

Portarlington Rugby Club, who<br />

won the 2021/22 Bank of Ireland<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby Junior Club of the<br />

Year Award, is a club at the centre<br />

of its community and right at the<br />

centre of the club are the families<br />

who see the club as their home<br />

away from home.<br />

One such family is the Fitzpatrick family<br />

and <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby have caught up with<br />

them to find out more about how they<br />

became involved with this vibrant club<br />

and what part it plays in their family life.<br />

Bobby Fitzpatrick is a native of<br />

Portarlington and played with some great<br />

youth teams at the club during the 1990s.<br />

When he returned from college he also<br />

played with the club’s senior team and<br />

says that the highlight of that time was a<br />

tour to Barcelona.<br />

“It was an unbelievable experience and<br />

really strengthened the bonds in the<br />

squad. I have some incredible memories<br />

of that tour and enjoyed every minute<br />

both on and off the field.”<br />

Bobby then moved to the US in 2009<br />

with his wife Francie where he joined<br />

Seattle Rugby Club. He had the<br />

opportunity to play both 7s and 15s and<br />

competed in the Canadian BC League<br />

and the US National Championships.<br />

“I was lucky to have great teammates<br />

and coaches including former Ireland<br />

and Ulster prop Justin Fitzpatrick and the<br />

King of 7s Waisale Serevi. In fact, myself<br />

and Justin were both in hospital one<br />

weekend and welcomed new babies into<br />

the world but we still made it to match the<br />

next morning and thankfully we won!”<br />

Francie and Bobby at the recent 10s<br />

tournament that they organised.<br />

Francie is Seattle born and bred but she<br />

travelled to Edinburgh for her third year<br />

of college and it was there that she met<br />

Bobby. She returned home after that year<br />

and graduated in 2005 but Bobby’s<br />

charm was strong enough to lure her to<br />

Ireland and when she moved over, she<br />

played with one of Portarlington’s first<br />

senior women’s teams in 2007/08.<br />

When she returned to the US with Bobby<br />

in 2009, she wasn’t able to continue<br />

playing as she was busy with four young<br />

kids but when they all made the move to<br />

Ireland in 2018, Francie hoped to play<br />

again. The following year she joined<br />

the PortDara women’s team and she<br />

continues to be an important member of<br />

the team.<br />

When Francie and Bobby brought their<br />

kids out to join the club’s minis teams<br />

they were immediately encouraged to<br />

get involved with coaching and they<br />

both agreed straight away. The club<br />

had only started to develop girls minis<br />

teams at U8s, 10s and 12s and so their<br />

experience was a huge addition to the<br />

coaching group.<br />

This season Francie has taken on the<br />

role of Director of Rugby for PortDara<br />

(an amalgamation of Portarlington RFC<br />

and Cill Dara RFC for girls youths and<br />

women’s rugby).<br />

Herself and Bobby both still coach<br />

Portarlington’s minis girls and Francie<br />

is part of the club’s minis management<br />

team which is tasked with continuing the<br />

development of minis coaches, working<br />

with the club’s CCRO Páidí Mahon to<br />

recruit new players and to come up with<br />

new innovative ideas so make the minis<br />

experience as inclusive and as much fun<br />

as possible while developing core skills of<br />

both the boys and girls.<br />

In fact, the management team have<br />

organised a club trip to watch their U-12s<br />

boys playing in the half time exhibition<br />

match this evening and over 350 players<br />

and parents have travelled to be with<br />

us tonight! That really is a sign of a<br />

vibrant club with families at the heart of<br />

everything that they do.<br />

The Fitzpatrick family at minis training<br />

in Portarlington<br />

Francie is very positive about the role that<br />

she can play in developing rugby for girls<br />

and women in the club.<br />

“I'm thrilled to be Director of Rugby this<br />

season and have already got to know<br />

some great people at both clubs. We<br />

expanded the PortDara Committee this<br />

year with people taking on specific<br />

roles, which is really helping us set the<br />

foundation for a great season ahead. It's<br />

great to be part of a group where we're<br />

working towards the same goal - fun,<br />

competitive rugby for girls and women in<br />

our community.”<br />

Francie and Bobby recently ran an<br />

invitational 10s tournament for senior<br />

women’s teams. The day was a huge<br />

success with clubs from all over <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

travelling to Portarlington for the event.<br />

And it was a real family affair with<br />

Francie both playing and coordinating<br />

while Bobby managed things pitch side<br />

and their kids Keeley (11), Corina (9),<br />

Gavin (7) and Aoife (5) ran the tuck<br />

shop, updated the scoreboard and<br />

helped with the BBQ.<br />

Days like that and families like the<br />

Fitzpatrick family are the reason that<br />

people are drawn to our clubs. Their<br />

commitment to volunteering and to finding<br />

new ways to encourage more and more<br />

people to get involved and experience<br />

the joys of being part of a club and a<br />

team means that the future of their club is<br />

in good hands.<br />

Well done Bobby and Francie. Everyone<br />

at <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby applauds you for your<br />

hard work.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 35


leinster<br />

squad 2022/23<br />

season<br />

Vakhtang Abdaladze #1263<br />

Prop<br />

DOB 6 Feb 1996<br />

HEIGHT 1.85m (6’ 1”)<br />

WEIGHT 121kg (19st 1 lb)<br />

Michael Ala’alatoa #1301<br />

9<br />

CAPS<br />

Prop<br />

DOB 28 August 1991<br />

HEIGHT 1.91m (6’ 3”)<br />

WEIGHT 126kg (19st 11lbs)<br />

Ryan Baird #1278<br />

Second Row<br />

DOB 26 July 1999<br />

HEIGHT 1.98m (6’ 6”)<br />

WEIGHT 113kg (17st 9lbs)<br />

8<br />

CAPS<br />

Ed Byrne #1222<br />

Prop<br />

DOB 9 September 1993<br />

HEIGHT 1.80m (5’ 11”)<br />

WEIGHT 115kg (18st)<br />

6<br />

CAP<br />

Harry Byrne #1280<br />

2<br />

CAPS<br />

Outhalf<br />

DOB 22 April 1999<br />

HEIGHT 1.91m (6’ 3”)<br />

WEIGHT 95kg (14st 11lbs)<br />

Ross Byrne #1236<br />

Out-half<br />

DOB 8 April 1995<br />

HEIGHT 1.91m (6’ 3”)<br />

WEIGHT 92kg (14st 5lbs)<br />

13<br />

CAPS<br />

Thomas Clarkson #1285<br />

Prop<br />

DOB 22 February 2000<br />

HEIGHT 1.85m (6’ 1”)<br />

WEIGHT 118kg (18st 7lbs)<br />

Jack Conan #1223<br />

30<br />

CAPS<br />

7<br />

CAPS<br />

No 8<br />

DOB 29 July 1992<br />

HEIGHT 1.93m (6’ 4”)<br />

WEIGHT 110kg (17st 4 lbs)<br />

36 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Will Connors #1264<br />

9<br />

CAPS<br />

Max Deegan #1256<br />

1<br />

CAPS<br />

Brian Deeny #1306<br />

Caelan Doris #1268<br />

20<br />

CAPS<br />

Back Row<br />

DOB 4 April 1996<br />

HEIGHT 1.96 (6’ 5”)<br />

WEIGHT 99kg (15st 8lbs)<br />

No 8<br />

DOB 1 October 1996<br />

HEIGHT 1.93m (6’ 4”)<br />

WEIGHT 110kg (17st 4lbs)<br />

Second Row<br />

DOB 2 March 2000<br />

HEIGHT 1.99m (6’ 6”)<br />

WEIGHT 118kg (18st 8lbs)<br />

Back Row<br />

DOB 2 April 1998<br />

HEIGHT 1.94m (6’ 4”)<br />

WEIGHT 106kg (16st 10lbs)<br />

Cormac Foley #1299<br />

Scrum-half<br />

DOB 24 October 1999<br />

HEIGHT 1.81m (5’ 11 ”)<br />

WEIGHT 90kg (14 st 2 lbs)<br />

Ciarán Frawley #1265<br />

Out-half<br />

DOB 4 December 1997<br />

HEIGHT 1.92m (6’ 3”)<br />

WEIGHT 98kg (15st 5lbs)<br />

Tadhg Furlong #1220<br />

60<br />

CAPS<br />

13<br />

CAPS<br />

Prop<br />

DOB 14 November 1992<br />

HEIGHT 1.85m (6’ 1”)<br />

WEIGHT 125kg (19st 8lbs)<br />

Jamison Gibson-Park #1247<br />

Scrum-half<br />

DOB 23 February 1992<br />

HEIGHT 1.76m (5’ 9”)<br />

WEIGHT 80kg (12st 8lbs)<br />

20<br />

CAPS<br />

Cian Healy #1142<br />

118<br />

CAPS<br />

2<br />

CAPS<br />

Robbie Henshaw #1251<br />

60<br />

CAPS<br />

9<br />

CAPS<br />

Jason Jenkins #1310<br />

1<br />

CAP<br />

Dave Kearney #1158<br />

19<br />

CAPS<br />

Prop<br />

DOB 7 October 1987<br />

HEIGHT 1.85m (6’ 1”)<br />

WEIGHT 116kg (18st 4lbs)<br />

Centre / Full Back<br />

DOB 12 June 1993<br />

HEIGHT 1.91m (6’ 3”)<br />

WEIGHT 99kg (15st 8lbs)<br />

Lock<br />

DOB 2 December 1995<br />

HEIGHT 2.03 m (6’ 8”)<br />

WEIGHT 124kg (19st 5lbs)<br />

Wing / Full Back<br />

DOB 19 June 1989<br />

HEIGHT 1.81m (5’ 11”)<br />

WEIGHT 90kg (14st 2lbs)<br />

Hugo Keenan #1253<br />

23<br />

CAPS<br />

Rónan Kelleher #1277<br />

18<br />

CAPS<br />

Jordan Larmour #1258<br />

30<br />

CAPS<br />

James Lowe #1262<br />

15<br />

CAPS<br />

Full Back<br />

DOB 18 June 1996<br />

HEIGHT 1.85m (6’ 1”)<br />

WEIGHT 92kg (14st 4lbs)<br />

Hooker<br />

DOB 24 January 1998<br />

HEIGHT 1.85m (6’ 0”)<br />

WEIGHT 110kg (17st 5lbs)<br />

Wing<br />

DOB 10 June 1997<br />

HEIGHT 1.78m (5’ 10”)<br />

WEIGHT 88kg (13st 12lbs)<br />

Wing / Full Back<br />

DOB 8 July 1992<br />

HEIGHT 1.88m (6’ 2”)<br />

WEIGHT 105kg (16st 7lbs)<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 37


Joe McCarthy #1303<br />

Nick McCarthy #1241<br />

Luke McGrath #1206<br />

19<br />

CAPS<br />

Michael Milne #1279<br />

Second Row<br />

DOB 26 March 2001<br />

HEIGHT 1.98m (6’ 6”)<br />

WEIGHT 119kg (18st 8lbs)<br />

Scrum Half<br />

DOB 25 March 1995<br />

HEIGHT 1.8m (5’ 11”)<br />

WEIGHT 84kg (13st 3lbs)<br />

Scrum Half<br />

DOB 3 February 1993<br />

HEIGHT 1.75m (5’ 9”)<br />

WEIGHT 82kg (12st 12lbs)<br />

Prop<br />

DOB 5 February 1999<br />

HEIGHT 1.83m (6’ 0”)<br />

WEIGHT 115kg (18st 1lbs)<br />

Martin Moloney #1300<br />

Ross Molony #1233<br />

Charlie Ngatai #1311<br />

1<br />

CAP<br />

Jimmy O’Brien #1272<br />

Back Row<br />

DOB 19 October 1999<br />

HEIGHT 1.88m (6’ 2”)<br />

WEIGHT 104kg (16st 5lbs)<br />

Lock<br />

DOB 11 May 1994<br />

HEIGHT 2.00m (6’ 6”)<br />

WEIGHT 116kg (18st 4lbs)<br />

Centre / Full Back<br />

DOB 17 August 1990<br />

HEIGHT 1.87 m (6’ 2”)<br />

WEIGHT 102kg (16st 1lbs)<br />

Back Three<br />

DOB 27 November 1996<br />

HEIGHT 1.84m (6’ 0”)<br />

WEIGHT 89kg (14st 0lbs)<br />

Tommy O’Brien #1283<br />

Jamie Osborne #1294<br />

Scott Penny #1271<br />

Andrew Porter #1246<br />

46<br />

CAPS<br />

Wing<br />

DOB 28 May 1998<br />

HEIGHT 1.83m (6’ 0”)<br />

WEIGHT 95kg (14st 3lbs)<br />

Centre<br />

DOB 16 November 2001<br />

HEIGHT 1.93m (6’ 4”)<br />

WEIGHT 97.5kg (15st 5lbs)<br />

Flanker<br />

DOB 22 September 1999<br />

HEIGHT 1.85m (6’ 1”)<br />

WEIGHT 104kg (16st 4lbs)<br />

Prop<br />

DOB 16 January 1996<br />

HEIGHT 1.84m (6’ 1”)<br />

WEIGHT 114kg (17st 13lbs)<br />

Garry Ringrose #1237<br />

44<br />

CAPS<br />

Rhys Ruddock #1167<br />

27<br />

CAPS<br />

Charlie Ryan<br />

James Ryan #1259<br />

46<br />

CAPS<br />

Centre<br />

DOB 26 January 1995<br />

HEIGHT 1.87m (6’ 2”)<br />

WEIGHT 96kg (15st 1lbs)<br />

Back Row<br />

DOB 13 November 1990<br />

HEIGHT 1.91m (6’ 3”)<br />

WEIGHT 113kg (17st 9lbs)<br />

Lock<br />

DOB 3 February 1999<br />

HEIGHT 2.01m (6’ 7”)<br />

WEIGHT 115kg (18st 1lbs)<br />

Lock<br />

DOB 24 July 1996<br />

HEIGHT 2.00m (6’ 7”)<br />

WEIGHT 115kg (18st 1lbs)<br />

38 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Johnny Sexton #1127<br />

108<br />

CAPS<br />

14<br />

CAPS<br />

Dan Sheehan #1286<br />

10<br />

CAPS<br />

James Tracy #1211<br />

6<br />

CAPS<br />

Liam Turner #1287<br />

Out-half<br />

DOB 11 July 1985<br />

HEIGHT 1.88m (6’ 2”)<br />

WEIGHT 90kg (14st 2lbs)<br />

Hooker<br />

DOB 17 September 1998<br />

HEIGHT 1.91m (6’ 3”)<br />

WEIGHT 110kg (17st 5lbs)<br />

Hooker<br />

DOB 2 April 1991<br />

HEIGHT 1.85m (6’ 1”)<br />

WEIGHT 106kg (16st 9lbs)<br />

Centre<br />

DOB 14 July 1999<br />

HEIGHT 1.73m (5’ 8”)<br />

WEIGHT 93kg (14st 9lbs)<br />

Josh van der Flier #1228<br />

43<br />

CAPS<br />

Flanker<br />

DOB 25 April 1993<br />

HEIGHT 1.87m (6’ 2”)<br />

WEIGHT 103kg (16st 3lbs)<br />

for full squad profiles<br />

please scan this qr code<br />

Coaching<br />

Staff 2022/23<br />

Stuart<br />

Lancaster<br />

Senior Coach<br />

season<br />

Leo Cullen<br />

Head<br />

Coach<br />

Emmet<br />

Farrell<br />

Kicking Coach and<br />

Lead Performance Analyst<br />

Robin<br />

McBryde<br />

Assistant Coach<br />

SEÁN<br />

O’BRIEN<br />

CONTACT SKILLS Coach<br />

ANDREW<br />

GOODMAN<br />

ASSISTANT COACH<br />

Guy<br />

Easterby<br />

Head of Rugby Operations<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 39


We always strive to be<br />

A beat ahead<br />

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The Irish Times is proud to be official media partner to <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby.<br />

With unparalleled rugby coverage we look forward to keeping you up to<br />

date with everything on and off the field in the 2022/23 season.


ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND<br />

LEAGUE ROUND-UP<br />

BY ROBERT DEACON<br />

With just three rounds completed<br />

of the men’s Energia All-Ireland<br />

League it is probably too early in<br />

the season to assess where teams<br />

are in terms of how their overall<br />

league campaign.<br />

Each club has sixteen matches remaining<br />

so a long, long way to go before next<br />

April when titles are won, promotion<br />

decided or relegation avoided. However,<br />

a good start is important for team moral<br />

and confidence and a number of the<br />

eighteen <strong>Leinster</strong> clubs competing across<br />

the five divisions have made a promising<br />

start.<br />

Division 1A<br />

In Division 1A, where five clubs from<br />

the province are competing, it is the two<br />

teams that contested last season’s final<br />

that are nailing their colours to the mast<br />

good and early with both teams still<br />

unbeaten.<br />

Terenure, beaten finalists in that epic<br />

encounter in the Aviva Stadium last<br />

April, have certainly shown their intent<br />

with three out of three victories against<br />

<strong>Munster</strong> opposition. They lead the table<br />

by virtue of having picked a four try<br />

bonus point in each match.<br />

Clontarf, the current champions, have<br />

started the campaign with victories over<br />

Lansdowne at home and UCD and<br />

Ballynahinch on the road for an excellent<br />

start in their bid to retain the title.<br />

They sit in third place, a point behind<br />

Terenure and on equal points with Dublin<br />

University FC who also have made an<br />

excellent start with three straight wins.<br />

One of those came against fellow<br />

students and arch-rivals UCD.<br />

Both Lansdowne and UCD have not had<br />

the start to the campaign they would<br />

have wished for, with both clubs still<br />

waiting for their first win. Lansdowne sit in<br />

seventh place with UCD a place behind<br />

in eight. Both clubs have picked up two<br />

losing bonus points in narrow defeats<br />

and there is no doubt their fortunes will<br />

change as the campaign gets deeper into<br />

the season.<br />

Division 1B<br />

There are four <strong>Leinster</strong> clubs in Division<br />

1B, and it is Old Belvedere who head<br />

the quartet in third place, on ten points,<br />

behind leaders UCC. The Anglesea Road<br />

men have had two wins to date, one of<br />

which was a last play victory against<br />

Naas.<br />

St. Mary’s also have had one success<br />

so far but have managed to pick up four<br />

bonus points to sit in sixth place with eight<br />

points.<br />

Old Wesley, are in eight place with six<br />

points, again having only one victory<br />

which came with a bonus point success,<br />

first time out against Naas. The Kildare<br />

men have yet to get off the mark but there<br />

is a long way to go in this campaign<br />

and there will be many twists and turns<br />

throughout the season in this division.<br />

Division 2A<br />

Division 2A sees three <strong>Leinster</strong> clubs<br />

plying their trade, Navan, Blackrock and<br />

MU Barnhall.<br />

Navan having been relegated from<br />

Division 1B last season have made a<br />

promising start with two home wins to<br />

date. They sit in third place with ten<br />

points, four behind leaders Queen’s<br />

University, and on equal points with<br />

newly promoted Blackrock in fourth<br />

position, who also have won their two<br />

home matches.<br />

MU Barnhall, lie in seventh position with<br />

one victory, but have picked up three<br />

bonus points, so still all to play for in this<br />

division.<br />

Division 2B<br />

In Division 2B, Greystones top the table<br />

in first place on points difference, after<br />

winning three form three, and are looking<br />

to gain promotion after narrowly missing<br />

out last season.<br />

Malahide, are in sixth place, one point<br />

ahead of Wanderers in seventh, both<br />

with one win, Wanderers success being<br />

against newly promoted Enniscorthy<br />

who have yet to get off the mark and lie<br />

in ninth place having gained two bonus<br />

points.<br />

Division 2C<br />

Division 2C, has Skerries and Tullamore<br />

representing the province, and both clubs<br />

have enjoyed two victories from three<br />

games to date. The Offaly men lie in<br />

fourth place, six points off the lead and<br />

one point ahead of the seasiders, so an<br />

exciting encounter is anticipated when<br />

the two sides clash.<br />

Round four takes place next Saturday the<br />

29th with plenty of top-quality club rugby<br />

across all five divisions. Check out the<br />

IRFU and club websites, and social media<br />

outlets for details of fixtures near you.<br />

The Energia All Ireland League continues<br />

to go from strength to strength and never<br />

fails to entertain.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 43


Donal McEvoy - RIP<br />

Last September,<br />

Donal McEvoy<br />

sadly passed<br />

away after a<br />

long illness.<br />

He was a native of Clonbur, in<br />

Galway, but he was no stranger<br />

to those in the 12 counties of<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>, having been born in<br />

Wexford and having played<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Schools rugby with<br />

Roscrea and later again, playing<br />

number ten with Lansdowne FC.<br />

He was also highly regarded in Kilmacud<br />

Crokes where he and his family were<br />

members and indeed in golfing, fishing<br />

and shooting circles where his warm and<br />

friendly demeanour opened many a door<br />

and started many a conversation.<br />

Through his company Wildan Sports he<br />

represented some of the biggest brands<br />

in the golfing world and it is through his<br />

association with Rhino Rugby that many<br />

of you reading this today will recognise<br />

the name and the face.<br />

But to many within <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby, he was<br />

so much more than that.<br />

“Integrity and passion are the two words<br />

that spring to mind when I reflect on<br />

Donal,” says Philip Lawlor, Head of the<br />

Rugby Department in <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby.<br />

“Donal had a very easy manner and a<br />

passion for sport that made him easy to<br />

know and work with. He was very astute<br />

and in building the relationship between<br />

Rhino and <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby.<br />

“He along with Barry Brennan made sure<br />

that the club and school game was at the<br />

forefront of all discussions. The benefits<br />

that accrued through the relationship<br />

continues to positively impact our rugby<br />

development programmes.<br />

“Donal’s love of all things Lansdowne<br />

was very evident. He enjoyed being<br />

part of the coaching team of the club’s<br />

U-16/17 transition year side over many<br />

years. His coaching experience and<br />

involvement with Lansdowne gave us<br />

plenty of time to discuss the merits of<br />

player and coaching philosophies.<br />

“He enjoyed sitting down and discussing<br />

all things rugby. For Donal it was rightly<br />

all about the player experience and<br />

ensuring they were involved in a learning,<br />

fun and safe environment. We would<br />

discuss the merits of the club/school/<br />

youth programmes and all the activity<br />

involved in sustaining and driving the<br />

game at all levels and how Rhino could<br />

compliment this by providing resources<br />

suitable for coaches and players.<br />

“Donal was a gentleman who, on<br />

a business and personal level, was<br />

very enjoyable to be around, he was<br />

knowledgeable and understanding of<br />

what rugby development was all about<br />

and his integrity was to the fore. He is<br />

missed but his legacy in how to engage<br />

and build a positive beneficial working<br />

relationship with <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby will<br />

endure.”<br />

Barry Brennan, who Philip mentions<br />

above, also remembers a brilliant<br />

character and workmate and despite his<br />

Galway roots and time spent playing<br />

rugby in Sydney, his deep passion for<br />

Lansdowne.<br />

“When he returned from Australia,<br />

Lansdowne became his second home,<br />

where his beloved four boys excelled<br />

over the past 20 years.<br />

“He became a much-valued coach,<br />

particularly at U-17 level. As Philip has<br />

already mentioned, there are countless<br />

stories of Donal quietly supporting player<br />

prospects, particularly from non-rugby<br />

backgrounds.<br />

“But he just loved everything about<br />

Lansdowne.<br />

“The mix of Dublin and provincial<br />

players from a wide range of sporting<br />

backgrounds. The strong focus on<br />

under-age and junior rugby which under<br />

pinned the success at Senior level.<br />

Donal would have revelled in the 150th<br />

Year celebrations this year. Also more<br />

important than his own involvement to him<br />

has been the success there of his boys,<br />

particularly Dan who continues to perform<br />

at Senior level.”<br />

As well as missing a business partner in<br />

Rhino Rugby, Barry will miss his friend.<br />

“Donal loved nothing more, as a<br />

passionate Galway man, but born in<br />

Enniscorthy, than going to Croke Park to<br />

see Galway or Wexford perform. We<br />

often celebrated or drowned our sorrows<br />

in Mulligans afterwards!<br />

“Fishing and shooting were his other great<br />

hobbies. He loved nothing more that<br />

fishing on the Lough Mask, near Clonbur<br />

where the McEvoy Galway roots are<br />

deeply embedded.<br />

“He will be greatly missed by us that<br />

knew him and worked with him but our<br />

thoughts and our hearts are still very much<br />

with Gill and the boys and his family.”<br />

Indeed all our thoughts at <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby are still with Donal’s wife Gill, his<br />

treasured sons, William, Daniel, Andrew<br />

and Alex, and his extended family and<br />

friends.<br />

May he rest in peace.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 45


compiled by stuart farmer<br />

media services limited<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Player<br />

Statistics<br />

SQUAD<br />

CAP<br />

NO<br />

DEBUT<br />

2022/23 SEASON FOR LEINSTER LEINSTER CAREER<br />

ALL GAMES URC EPCR ALL GAMES PRO14/URC EPCR<br />

App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts<br />

SINCE LAST TRY<br />

CAPS<br />

VAKHTANG ABDALADZE 1263 2 DEC 17 0+3 - - 0+3 - - - - - 0+20 2 10 0+19 2 10 0+1 - - 5 -<br />

MICHAEL ALA'ALATOA 1301 25 SEP 21 4+1 - - 4+1 - - - - - 16+14 3 15 15+7 2 10 1+7 1 5 7 WS 9<br />

RYAN BAIRD 1278 27 APR 19 3 1 5 3 1 5 - - - 22+19 8 40 20+14 8 40 2+5 - - 2 IR 8<br />

LEE BARRON 1308 23 APR 22 - - - - - - - - - 0+2 - - 0+2 - - - - - - -<br />

ED BYRNE 1222 9 FEB 14 2+2 - - 2+2 - - - - - 29+60 12 60 29+47 11 55 0+13 1 5 6 IR 6<br />

HARRY BYRNE 1280 28 SEP 19 - - - - - - - - - 21+15 6 183 21+14 6 178 0+1 - 5 15 IR 2<br />

ROSS BYRNE 1236 4 SEP 15 3+2 - 26 3+2 - 26 - - - 88+45 9 852 74+23 4 622 14+22 5 230 16 IR 13<br />

TOM CLARKSON 1285 29 AUG 20 - - - - - - - - - 6+12 - - 6+12 - - - - - - -<br />

JACK CONAN 1223 20 FEB 14 2 - - 2 - - - - - 93+26 25 125 65+16 16 80 28+10 9 45 12 IR 33<br />

WILL CONNORS 1264 9 FEB 18 1+3 - - 1+3 - - - - - 19+10 2 10 18+10 2 10 1 - - 16 IR 9<br />

CHRIS COSGRAVE 1305 26 MAR 22 - - - - - - - - - 1+1 - - 1+1 - - - - - - -<br />

MAX DEEGAN 1256 3 DEC 16 1 - - 1 - - - - - 44+41 24 120 41+29 22 110 3+12 2 10 6 IR 1<br />

BRIAN DEENY 1306 23 APR 22 0+1 - - 0+1 - - - - - 2+1 - - 2+1 - - - - - - -<br />

CAELAN DORIS 1268 28 APR 18 2 - - 2 - - - - - 49+8 8 40 35+6 6 30 14+2 2 10 4 IR 20<br />

CORMAC FOLEY 1299 24 APR 21 1+2 1 5 1+2 1 5 - - - 3+5 2 10 3+5 2 10 - - - 1 -<br />

CIARAN FRAWLEY 1265 17 FEB 18 1+2 - 9 1+2 - 9 - - - 32+27 7 188 29+19 5 172 3+8 2 16 5 -<br />

TADHG FURLONG 1220 1 NOV 13 1 - - 1 - - - - - 86+42 10 50 48+34 3 15 38+8 7 35 7 IR 66<br />

JAMISON GIBSON-PARK 1247 2 SEP 16 - - - - - - - - - 60+56 22 110 49+30 15 75 11+26 7 35 2 IR 20<br />

MARCUS HANAN 1295 19 FEB 21 - - - - - - - - - 0+3 - - 0+3 - - - - - - -<br />

CIAN HEALY 1142 5 MAY 07 0+2 - - 0+2 - - - - - 160+91 30 150 93+58 16 80 65+32 13 65 3 IR 118<br />

ROBBIE HENSHAW 1251 8 OCT 16 3+1 1 5 3+1 1 5 - - - 69+3 17 85 32+2 8 40 37+1 9 45 2 IR 63<br />

JASON JENKINS 1310 17 SEP 22 4 2 10 4 2 10 - - - 4 2 10 4 2 10 - - - 1 SA 1<br />

DAVE KEARNEY 1158 16 MAY 09 3 1 5 3 1 5 - - - 153+23 53 265 127+16 46 230 25+6 7 35 3 IR 19<br />

HUGO KEENAN 1253 5 NOV 16 - - - - - - - - - 41+3 9 45 28+3 5 25 13 4 20 2 IR 23<br />

RONAN KELLEHER 1277 22 FEB 19 1+1 - - 1+1 - - - - - 30+8 13 65 17+6 11 55 13+2 2 10 9 IR 18<br />

JORDAN LARMOUR 1258 2 SEP 17 3 - - 3 - - - - - 67+10 27 135 43+7 20 100 24+3 7 35 5 IR 30<br />

TEMI LASISI 1304 12 MAR 22 - - - - - - - - - 0+1 - - 0+1 - - - - - - -<br />

JAMES LOWE 1262 2 DEC 17 - - - - - - - - - 63+2 47 235 39+1 28 140 24+1 19 95 2 IR 15<br />

JOE MCCARTHY 1303 29 JAN 22 0+2 - - 0+2 - - - - - 8+5 1 5 8+2 1 5 0+3 - - 4 -<br />

NICK MCCARTHY 1241 19 DEC 15 0+3 - - 0+3 - - - - - 9+40 5 25 9+34 5 25 0+6 - - 9 -<br />

LUKE MCGRATH 1206 5 MAY 12 4 2 10 4 2 10 - - - 118+61 43 215 83+49 35 175 35+12 8 40 3 IR 19<br />

JOHN MCKEE 1307 23 APR 22 0+3 1 5 0+3 1 5 - - - 2+4 1 5 2+4 1 5 - - - 2 -<br />

46 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


SQUAD<br />

CAP<br />

NO<br />

DEBUT<br />

2022/23 SEASON FOR LEINSTER LEINSTER CAREER<br />

ALL GAMES URC EPCR ALL GAMES PRO14/URC EPCR<br />

App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts<br />

SINCE LAST TRY<br />

CAPS<br />

MICHAEL MILNE 1279 28 SEP 19 0+1 - - 0+1 - - - - - 1+17 2 10 1+17 2 10 - - - 16 -<br />

MARTIN MOLONEY 1300 24 APR 21 0+2 - - 0+2 - - - - - 2+7 - - 2+7 - - - - - - -<br />

ROSS MOLONY 1233 20 FEB 15 5 - - 5 - - - - - 87+57 5 25 77+42 4 20 10+15 1 5 21 -<br />

BEN MURPHY 1309 21 MAY 22 - - - - - - - - - 0+1 - - 0+1 - - - - - - -<br />

CHARLIE NGATAI 1311 17 SEP 22 3+2 - - 3+2 - - - - - 3+2 - - 3+2 - - - - - - NZ 1<br />

JAMIE OSBORNE 1294 30 JAN 21 1 - - 1 - - - - - 14+6 1 5 14+6 1 5 - - - 15 -<br />

JIMMY O'BRIEN 1272 23 NOV 18 4 - - 4 - - - - - 47+10 16 84 38+9 10 54 9+1 6 30 6 -<br />

SEAN O'BRIEN 1297 12 MAR 21 - - - - - - - - - 0+3 - - 0+3 - - - - - - -<br />

TOMMY O'BRIEN 1283 20 DEC 19 - - - - - - - - - 10+11 6 30 10+9 6 30 0+2 - - 2 -<br />

MAX O'REILLY 1291 2 JAN 21 1 - - 1 - - - - - 9+1 1 5 9+1 1 5 - - - 9 -<br />

SCOTT PENNY 1271 23 NOV 18 1 - - 1 - - - - - 35+7 23 115 35+7 23 115 - - - 2 -<br />

ANDREW PORTER 1246 2 SEP 16 3+1 1 5 3+1 1 5 - - - 44+51 15 75 32+32 11 55 12+19 4 20 2 IR 46<br />

GARRY RINGROSE 1237 12 SEP 15 3+1 2 10 3+1 2 10 - - - 103+3 32 168 63+2 21 113 40+1 11 55 2 IR 44<br />

RHYS RUDDOCK 1167 6 DEC 09 2 2 10 2 2 10 - - - 158+54 14 70 120+35 12 60 37+17 2 10 2 IR 27<br />

ROB RUSSELL 1302 3 OCT 21 3 1 5 3 1 5 - - - 6+2 1 5 6+2 1 5 - - - 2 -<br />

CHARLIE RYAN - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -<br />

JAMES RYAN 1259 2 SEP 17 1+2 - - 1+2 - - - - - 53+8 3 15 28+3 1 5 25+5 2 10 21 IR 46<br />

JOHNNY SEXTON 1127 27 JAN 06 1+1 1 19 1+1 1 19 - - - 157+29 27 1633 90+22 14 876 65+7 12 726 1 IR 114<br />

DAN SHEEHAN 1286 23 OCT 20 4 5 25 4 5 25 - - - 13+20 21 105 12+13 18 90 1+7 3 15 3 IR 10<br />

ANDREW SMITH 1292 2 JAN 21 - - - - - - - - - 1+1 - - 1+1 - - - - - - -<br />

ALEX SOROKA 1296 28 FEB 21 0+1 - - 0+1 - - - - - 2+4 - - 2+4 - - - - - - -<br />

JAMES TRACY 1211 4 NOV 12 - - - - - - - - - 64+77 18 90 57+48 17 85 7+29 1 5 5 IR 6<br />

LIAM TURNER 1287 23 OCT 20 1 - - 1 - - - - - 5+2 - - 5+2 - - - - - - -<br />

JOSH VAN DER<br />

1228 11 OCT 14 3 1 5 3 1 5 - - - 93+24 19 95 55+18 9 45 38+6 10 50 3 IR 43<br />

FLIER<br />

JOHNNY SEXTON 1127 27 JAN 06 8+3 - 107 2+2 - 24 6+1 - 83 156+28 26 1614 89+21 13 857 65+7 12 726 24 IR 108<br />

DAN SHEEHAN 1286 23 OCT 20 6+10 10 50 5+3 7 35 1+7 3 15 9+20 16 80 8+13 13 65 1+7 3 15 1 IR 10<br />

ANDREW SMITH 1292 2 JAN 21 - - - - - - - - - 1+1 - - 1+1 - - - - - - -<br />

ALEX SOROKA 1296 28 FEB 21 1+2 - - 1+2 - - - - - 2+3 - - 2+3 - - - - - - -<br />

DEVIN TONER 1128 27 JAN 06 6+8 - - 6+5 - - 0+3 - - 212+68 4 20 146+47 4 20 63+21 - - 63 IR 70<br />

JAMES TRACY 1211 4 NOV 12 7+5 4 20 7+4 4 20 0+1 - - 64+77 18 90 57+48 17 85 7+29 1 5 5 IR 6<br />

LIAM TURNER 1287 23 OCT 20 - - - - - - - - - 4+2 - - 4+2 - - - - - - -<br />

JOSH VAN DER FLIER 1228 11 OCT 14 15+1 7 35 7+1 1 5 8 6 30 90+24 18 90 52+18 8 40 38+6 10 50 4 IR 43<br />

KICKING<br />

2022/23 SEASON FOR LEINSTER LEINSTER CAREER<br />

ALL GAMES URC EPCR ALL GAMES PRO14/URC EPCR OVERALL<br />

SUCCESS<br />

RATE<br />

C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG ATT Career<br />

%<br />

- - - HARRY BYRNE - - - - - - - - - - 63 9 62 8 1 1 92 78.26%<br />

ROSS BYRNE 80.00% 10 2 - 10 2 - - - - 264 92 1 205 63 1 59 29 - 455 78.24%<br />

CIARAN FRAWLEY 100.00% 3 1 - 3 1 - - - - 57 13 - 54 13 - 3 - - 84 83.33%<br />

JIMMY O'BRIEN - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - 2 - - - - - 4 50.00%<br />

GARRY RINGROSE - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - 4 - - - - - 6 66.67%<br />

JOHNNY SEXTON 87.50% 7 - - 7 - - - - - 272 307 11 136 171 7 129 132 4 722 80.19%<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 47


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Bank of Ireland<br />

Match Day Mascots<br />

Cormac<br />

De Búrca<br />

Age: 10<br />

School: St Olafs NS Balally Dublin 16<br />

Class: 4th Class<br />

Hobbies: Rugby, soccer, GAA and Fortnite.<br />

Favourite Rugby Player: Garry Ringrose<br />

and Jordan Larmour<br />

Maria<br />

McCarthy<br />

Age: 10<br />

School: Scoil Bhríde, Naas, Co. Kildare<br />

Class: 5th Class<br />

Hobbies: Gymnastics, football and Girl Guides<br />

Favourite player: Johnny Sexton<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 49


Squads<br />

matchday<br />

15<br />

14<br />

13<br />

12<br />

11<br />

10<br />

9<br />

Ciarán FRAWLEY<br />

Jimmy O’BRIEN<br />

Garry RINGROSE<br />

Robbie HENSHAW<br />

Jamie OSBORNE<br />

Johnny SEXTON [C]<br />

Luke McGRATH<br />

FULL BACK<br />

RIGHT WING<br />

OUTSIDE CENTRE<br />

INSIDE CENTRE<br />

LEFT WING<br />

FLY HALF<br />

SCRUM HALF<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

6<br />

7<br />

8<br />

Cian HEALY<br />

Dan SHEEHAN<br />

Tadhg FURLONG<br />

Jason JENKINS<br />

James RYAN<br />

Max DEEGAN<br />

Scott PENNY<br />

Caelan DORIS<br />

LOOSE HEAD PROP<br />

HOOKER<br />

TIGHT HEAD PROP<br />

SECOND ROW<br />

SECOND ROW<br />

BLINDSIDE FLANKER<br />

OPENSIDE FLANKER<br />

NUMBER 8<br />

16<br />

17<br />

18<br />

19<br />

20<br />

21<br />

22<br />

23<br />

John McKEE<br />

Andrew PORTER<br />

Michael ALA’ALATOA<br />

Ross MOLONY<br />

Jack CONAN<br />

Nick MCCARTHY<br />

Ross BYRNE<br />

Rob RUSSELL<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT


officials<br />

REFEREE: ANDREW BRACE (IRFU, 83RD COMPETITION GAME)<br />

ASSISTANT REFEREE: PETER MARTIN (IRFU)<br />

ASSISTANT REFEREE: OISIN QUINN (IRFU)<br />

TMO: MARIUS JONKER (SARU)<br />

FULL BACK<br />

Jack CROWLEY 15<br />

RIGHT WING<br />

OUTSIDE CENTRE<br />

INSIDE CENTRE<br />

LEFT WING<br />

FLY HALF<br />

SCRUM HALF<br />

Shane DALY<br />

Dan GOGGIN<br />

Rory SCANNELL<br />

Liam COOMBES<br />

Joey CARBERY<br />

Conor MURRAY<br />

14<br />

13<br />

12<br />

11<br />

10<br />

9<br />

LOOSE HEAD PROP<br />

HOOKER<br />

TIGHT HEAD PROP<br />

SECOND ROW<br />

SECOND ROW<br />

BLINDSIDE FLANKER<br />

OPENSIDE FLANKER<br />

NUMBER 8<br />

Jeremy LOUGHMAN<br />

Diarmuid BARRON<br />

Keynan KNOX<br />

Jean KLEYN<br />

Tom AHERN<br />

Jack O’DONOGHUE [C]<br />

John HODNETT<br />

Gavin COOMBES<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

6<br />

7<br />

8<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

Scott BUCKLEY<br />

Dave KILCOYNE<br />

James FRENCH<br />

Jack O’SULLIVAN<br />

Ruadhan QUINN<br />

Paddy PATTERSON<br />

Ben HEALY<br />

Patrick CAMPBELL<br />

16<br />

17<br />

18<br />

19<br />

20<br />

21<br />

22<br />

23


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offical leinster<br />

supporters club<br />

At the end of the 2001/02 season the honours<br />

board in the old Donnybrook office of<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby simply noted one engraving<br />

“Celtic League Winners 2001/02”.<br />

Fast forward 20+ years and it<br />

reads something quite different<br />

and whilst players, coaches,<br />

backroom staff and personnel<br />

are all to be credited in some<br />

shape or form with this, the<br />

one consistency over those two<br />

decades has been outgoing CEO,<br />

Mick Dawson.<br />

He has seen an extraordinary evolution<br />

during the most successful period of our<br />

143 year history and when you read<br />

through just some of the accolades,<br />

you can’t help but stop and think of the<br />

blood, sweat and tears Mick has shed<br />

in that time to get us to where we are<br />

today.<br />

Four Heineken Champions Cups (2009,<br />

2011, 2014 and 2018), a Challenge<br />

Cup (2013), the now URC on eight<br />

occasions, six Women’s Interprovincial<br />

titles, two British and Irish Cups and two<br />

Celtic Cups.<br />

Add to that a move from Donnybrook to<br />

the RDS, state of the art facilities in UCD,<br />

former coaches such as Michael Cheika<br />

and Joe Schmidt alongside current<br />

coaches Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster<br />

and sprinkle in the dazzling array of<br />

both home-grown and overseas talent<br />

and it’s clear to see this is a juggernaut<br />

that has built up a tremendous amount of<br />

steam and will continue to roll long after<br />

Mick has tidied the last of the papers on<br />

his desk, removed his signed photo of<br />

Brian O’Driscoll off the wall and exited<br />

Newstead Building A for the last time.<br />

Back in November 2001 when Mick<br />

first arrived on the scene into leaky<br />

portakabins with no computers and no<br />

access to email, he may have asked<br />

himself some difficult questions as to<br />

what he was about to embark upon!<br />

The office wasn’t great but when<br />

coupled with a pitch in Donnybrook<br />

that could break ankles mid-January, it<br />

must’ve been a real head scratcher for<br />

him.<br />

One of the first big challenges Mick<br />

undertook was to oversee the move of<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> less than a mile from our spiritual<br />

home in Donnybrook to our new home in<br />

the RDS. Previous capacity was a mere<br />

6,500 however the RDS as we know<br />

can hold a rip-roaring 18,500 at full<br />

capacity and this is what a team wants<br />

to see when their backs are against the<br />

wall.<br />

Add to that, over 12,000 season<br />

ticket holders year in, year out and<br />

infrastructural projects like the Ken Wall<br />

Centre of Excellence in Energia Park, it’s<br />

been some innings from him.<br />

That is before you talk about the<br />

Academy players coming through in<br />

their droves as well as a successful<br />

girls and women’s player pathway that<br />

continues to develop playing talent for<br />

the senior <strong>Leinster</strong> team as well as the<br />

national side.<br />

This really is a team, a club, an<br />

organisation and a structure for Mick to<br />

be proud of.<br />

Mick being Mick though, he is not one<br />

to sit back on his laurels and relax as he<br />

is taking up a new role as President of<br />

Lansdowne FC for what is their 150th<br />

year. In doing so he’ll maintain a proud<br />

family tradition of following in the<br />

footsteps of his brother Mark, father Jack<br />

and grandfather Michael who too were<br />

also past presidents of the club.<br />

Whilst the OLSC don’t deal with Mick on<br />

a day to day basis, it’s clear he sees the<br />

role and the impact the committee and<br />

the supporters have on the <strong>Leinster</strong> set-up<br />

and this is a credit to him and one we<br />

are very thankful for.<br />

Those in attendance at the Supporters<br />

Q&A over the recent summer with Mick,<br />

Leo Cullen and Tania Rosser can see<br />

what <strong>Leinster</strong> means to Mick and how<br />

this wasn’t an easy decision for him.<br />

There’s an old Irish proverb, the work<br />

praises the man, and it’s clear to see this<br />

with Mick.<br />

Your OLSC Committee<br />

54 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


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Both online and in person, we give advice and support to<br />

help young people aged 12 to 25 years-old.<br />

jigsaw.ie<br />

Jigsaw is a registered charity in Ireland.


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www.leinsterrugby.ie | 57


Blessington RFC -<br />

An Introduction!<br />

BY KEVIN GREENE<br />

Blessington<br />

RFC is a<br />

young club<br />

which is<br />

building<br />

from the<br />

grassroots<br />

up.<br />

As a result, this U-12s team<br />

playing during the Bank of<br />

Ireland Half-Time Minis at Aviva<br />

Stadium this afternoon, will have<br />

pride of place when the club’s<br />

history is written.<br />

In those early days in 2016, two of our<br />

U-12s – Carter and Hugo – were the<br />

youngest of the ‘starting fifteen’ kids to<br />

join the club six years ago. Now, the club<br />

has over 200 kids (tots to U-14s) and the<br />

U-12s squad playing today now have 24<br />

players with new recruits Evan and Ryan<br />

joining only this year to help numbers<br />

even more.<br />

Ryan loves it and said, “in my first game,<br />

I managed to score a try. I remember<br />

being tackled by a player, but I could<br />

see the line and I just said to myself keep<br />

pushing, keep driving and I got the ball<br />

down. It was an amazing day.”<br />

The Blessington Minis play teams across<br />

the North Midlands league, and with<br />

each match, the team is developing their<br />

quick ball technique and teamwork. The<br />

hospitality of those teams has been great,<br />

and we enjoy hosting them at our pitches<br />

in Russborough House, where we train on<br />

Tuesday evenings. To say our clubhouse<br />

was built in 1752 is fantastic for a new<br />

club. Alfred Beit would be proud to know<br />

that his commitment to supporting the<br />

community continues today.<br />

Many players come from multiple sports<br />

backgrounds – GAA, cross country,<br />

sailing, fencing, soccer, etc. – while<br />

for others, it’s the only sport they are<br />

passionate about. Each player brings<br />

something different to the team.<br />

Theo, a forward in his second year with<br />

the team, said, “I like the atmosphere at<br />

rugby. It is a very physical and active<br />

sport. It also requires teamwork and we<br />

have a strong bond as a team.”<br />

The coaches see this trip to the Aviva as<br />

an early graduation ceremony for the<br />

boys and girls, as this will be the final<br />

season playing together. Next year’s girls<br />

team will bring some fantastic talent and<br />

speed in wingers Isabelle, Doireann and<br />

Lucy; lineout dominators Aoibheann and<br />

Brooke; and powerhouse forwards like<br />

Tia and team captain Emma.<br />

The Blessington girls’ programme will be<br />

great, but players like Lucy are looking<br />

further ahead, “I hope one day to play<br />

for the women’s Irish Team as a winger<br />

and bring home the World Cup.”<br />

58 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


It’s a brilliant group of U-12s though!<br />

The forwards – Isaac, Aaron, Sam,<br />

James, Dylan, Theo – love the pickand-go<br />

opportunities when they arrive.<br />

Shane provides plenty of height to let the<br />

backs – Charlie, Aaron, Dylan, Evan –<br />

apply serious pressure at the kick-off and<br />

restarts. While the team’s most confident<br />

tackler, Tom, always gives the other<br />

pointers and tips when Blessington is<br />

defending.<br />

“I love playing rugby for Blessington<br />

because it makes me feel happy and<br />

encouraged,” said Doireann.<br />

Creating that the right team environment<br />

is down to fantastic coaching team made<br />

up of Gavin, Tristan, Donal, Sorcha (a<br />

member of the Irish ALF Championship<br />

team), and Patrick with the expert<br />

coordination of Sylvia.<br />

Playing at the Aviva will be a big<br />

day, and the team is grateful for the<br />

opportunity.<br />

Evan Clery says, “I love representing my<br />

club and my town. I would love to play<br />

for <strong>Leinster</strong>, Ireland and the Lions when I<br />

grow up. I’m looking forward to playing<br />

at the Aviva Stadium for the first time!”<br />

Thanks for hosting us and all the support<br />

that <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby, particularly Joe<br />

Carbery.<br />

It’s a big day for our young club but the<br />

memory of a lifetime for these young<br />

players…as we’re sure, it will only be the<br />

first of many rugby matches they play<br />

with pride at the Aviva.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 59


As Official Clean Air Partner to <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby,<br />

Novaerus by McGreals Health provides both squad and<br />

management with safe, clean, indoor air, 24/7.<br />

Clean air indoors gives <strong>Leinster</strong> the edge, helping to<br />

improve physical performance, cognitive ability, make<br />

healthier bodies, reduce the risk of illness and allergies and<br />

give more energy.


GETTING SOCIAL<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby’s Club Community<br />

Rugby Officers (CCROs), working<br />

under the guidance of the Community<br />

Rugby Officer (CRO) work with clubs,<br />

schools and community groups to<br />

deliver tailored rugby programmes<br />

and expand the game of rugby within<br />

the clubs and schools of the province.<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby has 49 CCROs and 18<br />

CROs working on the ground with girls<br />

and boys, in our clubs and schools for the<br />

2022/23 season.<br />

Let’s see what some of them have been<br />

up to and some of the places they’ve<br />

been to!<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 61


THEN: Jim<br />

played for<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong><br />

from 1976 to<br />

1987, winning<br />

six caps for<br />

Ireland.<br />

NOW: He is a<br />

non-executive<br />

director<br />

living with<br />

his wife Helen<br />

in Skerries<br />

with his three<br />

children<br />

Frank,<br />

Louise and<br />

Joe and four<br />

grandchildren<br />

nearby.<br />

Jim Glennon’s connection to<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> is strong, deep and true.<br />

It is that way because of the hard<br />

road it took to get there.<br />

Having first played the game as 10<br />

year old at Skerries RFC, as a student<br />

at Cistercian College in Roscrea, he<br />

attended a <strong>Leinster</strong> Schools trial in 1969.<br />

No luck.<br />

He spent two years on the <strong>Leinster</strong> U19<br />

squad without ever playing as much as a<br />

minute. No luck there.<br />

Then, due to Skerries’ junior status in<br />

1974, Jim qualified to play for the <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Counties, what might today be referred to<br />

as the Provincial Towns team, moving on<br />

up to the <strong>Leinster</strong> Juniors.<br />

In 1975, Skerries moved into the senior<br />

club arena whereupon he became part<br />

of the <strong>Leinster</strong> squad without cracking the<br />

team. No luck there either.<br />

“Until then, we were just a junior club,<br />

the Towns’Cup had been the limit of<br />

our ambition, along with the occasional<br />

‘scalp’ of a senior club in the <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Senior Cup. Life was very simple !<br />

“My first game for Skerries in adult rugby<br />

was as a hooker in September 1970<br />

against Barnhall and I was dropped<br />

to the seconds the following week and<br />

dropped again to play number eight<br />

on the Skerries 3rds the following week<br />

again.”<br />

By the end of the month, if anyone had<br />

suggested Jim as a <strong>Leinster</strong> and Ireland<br />

second row, they would have been<br />

laughed right out of the North Dublin<br />

town, not least by the man himself.<br />

However, there was genetic evidence of<br />

better times ahead from his six maternal<br />

McGowan rugby-playing uncles from<br />

Balbriggan (one of whom had earned a<br />

final Ireland trial in the 1920s) and three<br />

cousins of the same name, two of whom,<br />

Joe and Kevin, played for <strong>Leinster</strong>, the<br />

latter getting a Final Trial in 1969.<br />

62 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


WHERE<br />

ARE<br />

THEY<br />

NOW?<br />

JIM<br />

BY DES BERRY<br />

GLENNON<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 63


family. Yes, I gladly gave it. But, it would<br />

never happen nowadays,” he says.<br />

“In those days, <strong>Leinster</strong> played three<br />

interpros, maybe a match in September<br />

and, more often than not, they had an<br />

annual match in the South of France, on<br />

November 11, Armistice Day, a national<br />

holiday over there, or against Llannelli in<br />

the old Stradey Park.<br />

Standing - Jim Glennon (Coach), Derek Dowling, Henry Hurley, John ‘Spud’ Murphy, Brian<br />

Rigney, Jim O’Callagan, Phil Lawlor, Robbie Love, Kelvin Leahy, Tom Darcy (President <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Branch), Alan Duggan (Chairman). Seated - Ciaran Clarke, Alan McGowan, Damien<br />

O’Brien, Vinnie Cunningham (Capt) Niall Woods, Martin Ridge, Fergus Ahearne. On ground<br />

- Chris Pim, Conor O’Shea, Shane Byrne, Angus McKeen, Alain Rolland, Nicky Barry.<br />

So the story goes. A <strong>Leinster</strong> selector<br />

attended Skerries’s first senior club match<br />

against Old Belvedere on a horrible day<br />

in September 1975. He got drenched<br />

there and was taken home to a committee<br />

member’s house to shower and dry his<br />

clothes.<br />

Said selector was taken back to the club<br />

where the campaign to have Jim included<br />

in a <strong>Leinster</strong> trial was supported by a<br />

scatter of pints. He was invited to the trial.<br />

Once again, no luck.<br />

“I didn’t make the team but what I took<br />

from the trial was that <strong>Leinster</strong> wasn’t out<br />

of reach. It wasn’t out of sight as I had<br />

previously presumed. I decided to have a<br />

real go at getting there,” he adds.<br />

“I reckoned that if I managed to be part<br />

of a successful <strong>Leinster</strong> team that it would<br />

give me a better chance of sneaking up<br />

another level to the ultimate honour.”<br />

At Halloween 1976, Jim met his wife<br />

Helen on the night after he was first<br />

selected for <strong>Leinster</strong>; and they brought<br />

up their children Frank, Louise and Joe<br />

in Skerries, the latter following his father<br />

and grandfather as captain of Skerries<br />

RFC.<br />

A special place is now reserved for his<br />

four grandchildren Silas, Amelia, Xav and<br />

Rosa. Jim is making up for the time rugby<br />

took him away from his own children.<br />

“Looking back, I am very conscious of the<br />

amount of time rugby took away from my<br />

“I made my debut for <strong>Leinster</strong> against<br />

Perpignan on that day in 1976 in a team<br />

with Tom Grace as captain, John Robbie<br />

scrum-half, Ollie Campbell out-half,<br />

props Phil Orr, Mick Fitzpatrick and Ned<br />

Byrne, Louis Magee, Fergus Slattery<br />

and, coincidentally, a childhood friend of<br />

mine, Johnny Cronin of Terenure making<br />

his debut too, at full-back.<br />

“As a raw 23 year-old from Skerries, it<br />

was a real eye-opener into French club<br />

rugby and all that it implies. The word<br />

‘friendly’ doesn’t appear too often in the<br />

annals of French club rugby.<br />

“Very late in the game, my legs were<br />

taken from under me in a lineout. I ended<br />

up in hospital and lost the interpro season<br />

to torn ligaments.<br />

“At least, something good came out of it.<br />

When I had to go off, a good friend of<br />

mine, Jim Bardon, from Clontarf, came in<br />

for me for his first <strong>Leinster</strong> cap.”<br />

The length of Jim’s <strong>Leinster</strong> career meant<br />

he had to battle it out with the likes of<br />

Louis Magee, Emmet O’Rafferty, George<br />

Wallace (with whom Jim accumulated<br />

a record-breaking total for a <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

second-row partnership) right up to the<br />

emergence of a young Neil Francis in<br />

1986.<br />

64 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


In 1979, the Mick ‘Doyler’ Doyle<br />

revolution began when the Kerryman<br />

was appointed as <strong>Leinster</strong> coach and Jim<br />

became an anchor in the forwards until<br />

retiring in 1987.<br />

“Doyler and his chairman Mick Cuddy<br />

had a massive impact on <strong>Leinster</strong>. They<br />

completely transformed the culture. By the<br />

time they appeared on the scene I had<br />

grown slightly disillusioned at how loose<br />

and casual it had all become - it was seen<br />

by many high-profile players simply as a<br />

means to an end (Ireland) rather than an<br />

end in itself (<strong>Leinster</strong>).<br />

“They imbued in <strong>Leinster</strong> the feel of a<br />

tight club side, where everyone wanted to<br />

play for the jersey and for the group.We<br />

went on a five-year unbeaten run in the<br />

inter-pros from 15 matches that netted five<br />

Interpro titles from 1979 to 1983.<br />

From left to right - Louise & Ronan Yourell, Jen Ferguson & Joe, Helen & Jim, Julie Currid and Frank.<br />

“It was Doyler’s theory that the best<br />

chance any of us had of playing for<br />

Ireland was to be part of a successful<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> team. That was certainly true for<br />

me.”<br />

It all led to six Ireland caps, two in 1980,<br />

debuting against England’s Bill Beaumont<br />

at Twickenham, and four in 1987,<br />

including the first World Cup.<br />

“All I will say about my Ireland debut is<br />

that it was England’s Grand Slam year,”<br />

chuckles Jim.<br />

“In 1987 I actually broke the record for<br />

the longest time served between caps,<br />

which had been previously held by<br />

Tony O’Reilly, and was latet broken by<br />

Bangor’s Kenny Hooks.<br />

“While I knew I wasn’t quite an<br />

international class lock, there’s no better<br />

motivation than pulling on the green<br />

jersey. In Mick Doyle’s words, you ‘give<br />

it a lash.’ You can persuade yourself of a<br />

lot of things when you have to.”<br />

Retiring in 1987 after playing in the<br />

World Cup, Jim returned as a <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

sub-selector in 1990, a <strong>Leinster</strong> selector<br />

in 1991, the <strong>Leinster</strong> coach in two stints<br />

from 1992 to 1993 and 1995 to 1997,<br />

transitioning over to <strong>Leinster</strong> Manager for<br />

one year under Mike Ruddock.<br />

The now 69 year-old was the last <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

coach and manager of the amateur<br />

era as well as the last <strong>Leinster</strong>man to<br />

coach the province prior to Leo Cullen,<br />

coincidentally a fellow second-row.<br />

Away from rugby, in 1995, in conjunction<br />

with the Irish Medical Organisation,<br />

Jim set up Medisec Ireland to provide<br />

Irish GPs with professional indemnity<br />

insurance; he currently acts as nonexecutive<br />

chairman of the company<br />

which has grown steadily and now looks<br />

after upwards of 2,500 Irish doctors.<br />

He has held a similar position with the<br />

Irish arm of Edelman, the world’s largest<br />

privately-owned communications agency,<br />

since 2008.<br />

Jim went into national politics in 2000,<br />

serving in the Seanad until 2002 when<br />

he won a Dail seat for Fianna Fáil<br />

in Dublin North, from which he later<br />

stepped down without contesting the<br />

2007 General Election.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 65


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Referees<br />

Corner<br />

BY DAN WALLACE<br />

Welcome to another edition<br />

of Referees’ Corner!<br />

Today’s match officials are Andrew Brace, Peter<br />

Martin, Oisin Quinn and the TMO is Leo Colgan.<br />

Andrew Brace was born in<br />

Cardiff, Wales. He started<br />

playing rugby union in Cardiff<br />

when he was 12. Between 2010<br />

and 2017 Brace worked as a<br />

Community Rugby Officer for<br />

<strong>Munster</strong> Rugby. He previously<br />

worked as a community<br />

development officer for Cardiff<br />

Blues. Brace continued working<br />

as a CRO until 2017 when,<br />

together with George Clancy,<br />

John Lacey and Joy Neville<br />

he was one of seven referees<br />

offered professional contracts by<br />

the IRFU.<br />

He also previously played for Old<br />

Crescent. While playing for Old<br />

Crescent, Brace was contacted by an<br />

agent to play for the Belgium national<br />

team. Brace qualified to represent<br />

Belgium through his father’s family. He<br />

subsequently helped Belgium win the<br />

2012 Emirates Cup of Nations. He also<br />

played for Belgium in the 2012–14<br />

European Nations Cup First Division.<br />

We wish him and his team well today.<br />

November<br />

Internationals<br />

The match day officials for<br />

Ireland’s international fixtures in<br />

November have been announced<br />

by World Rugby and the IRFU<br />

High Performance Referees<br />

will have a busy month on<br />

international duty.<br />

For our teams in green, the RFU’s Adam<br />

Leal will take charge of the game<br />

between Ireland ‘A’ and the All Blacks<br />

XV at the RDS on Friday, 4th November.<br />

The following day, Georgian referee<br />

Nika Amashukeli has the whistle for<br />

the game between Ireland and World<br />

Champions South Africa at Aviva<br />

Stadium.<br />

South African Jaco Peyper is in charge<br />

of Ireland v Fiji and New Zealander<br />

Ben O’Keeffe is the man in the middle<br />

for Ireland’s final game of the Autumn<br />

Nations Series against Australia.<br />

IRFU referee Andrew Brace takes<br />

charge of two games during this<br />

international window – England v<br />

Argentina and France v Japan. Joy<br />

Neville, who will have just returned<br />

from the Women’s Rugby World Cup in<br />

New Zealand, is in the TMO hot seat<br />

for the France game against the Brave<br />

Blossoms.<br />

Frank Murphy in on duty for Scotland<br />

against New Zealand at Murrayfield<br />

and Chris Busby has the whistle for the<br />

French Barbarians against Fiji in Lille.<br />

68 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Both Chris Busby and Eoghan Cross<br />

are on duty in Dubai for the World Cup<br />

Final Qualifier tournament. Chris is<br />

refereeing the game between Portugal<br />

and Hong Kong with Eoghan in the<br />

AR role for that game and the clash<br />

between the USA and Kenya.<br />

Area Education<br />

Sessions<br />

Our monthly area education<br />

sessions this month focus on<br />

Touch and Touch Laws (Law 18).<br />

A number of our referees are heavily<br />

involved in touch judging games in the<br />

Energia All-Ireland League amongst<br />

other competitions.<br />

The sessions were facilitated by Dermot<br />

Blake, John Flynn, Bernie White,<br />

Michael Forrestal and Sam Holt. They<br />

many covered when the ball is in touch<br />

and when it is not.<br />

Touch or<br />

touch-in-goal<br />

The ball is in touch or touch-ingoal<br />

when:<br />

A] The ball or ball-carrier touches the<br />

touchline, touch-in-goal line or anything<br />

beyond.<br />

B] A player, who is already touching the<br />

touchline, touch-in-goal line or anything<br />

beyond, catches or holds the ball.<br />

1] If the ball has reached the plane of<br />

touch when it is caught, the catcher is<br />

not deemed to have taken the ball into<br />

touch.<br />

2] If the ball has not reached the plane<br />

of touch when it is caught or picked up,<br />

the catcher is deemed to have taken the<br />

ball into touch, regardless of whether<br />

the ball was in motion or stationary.<br />

The ball is not in touch or touchin-goal<br />

if:<br />

C] The ball reaches the plane of touch<br />

but is caught, knocked or kicked by a<br />

player who is in the playing area.<br />

D] A player jumps, from within or<br />

outside the playing area, and catches<br />

the ball, and then lands in the playing<br />

area, regardless of whether the ball<br />

reached the plane of touch.<br />

E] A player jumps from the playing area<br />

and knocks (or catches and releases)<br />

the ball back into the playing area,<br />

before landing in touch or touch-in-goal,<br />

regardless of whether the ball reached<br />

the plane of touch.<br />

F] A player, who is in touch, kicks or<br />

knocks the ball, but does not hold it,<br />

provided it has not reached the plane<br />

of touch.<br />

Of course, it is more complicated than<br />

it looks!<br />

Want to get<br />

involved?<br />

Feel free to make contact<br />

with the <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby<br />

Referees at hayley.whyte@<br />

leinsterrugby.ie<br />

If you are interested in<br />

becoming a referee get in<br />

contact with us through our<br />

Facebook, our website<br />

www.leinsterrugbyreferees.ie<br />

or through twitter<br />

@leinsterreferee.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 69


ank of ireland<br />

MATCHDAY MINIS<br />

Carlingford<br />

Knights RFC<br />

Players: James Loughran, Michael Gormley, Jonah Moore,<br />

Oisin Gallagher, Adam Duffy, John O’Hanlon, Aaron Kane,<br />

Dylan McKenna, Alexander Sochor, Bill Challoner O’Gorman,<br />

Jamie Connon, Cuan Carroll, Felix Savage, Senan McSorley,<br />

Meadhbh Ni Shuilleabhain, Isaac Mullen Murphy, Callum<br />

Murphy, John Hilland, Logan McBride, Oscar Daly<br />

Coaches: David Moore & Gearoid Carroll<br />

Blessington RFC<br />

Players (l-r): Tom Evans, Dylan O’Connell, Aoibheann Ash,<br />

Aaron Keogh, Brooke Fox, Evan Reid Maguire, Theo Giles,<br />

Sam Smith, Luke Kelly, Shane Buggy, Evan Clery, Isabelle<br />

Warren, Dylan Glennon, Hugo Burns, Carter King, Isaac<br />

Geoghegan, Ryan O’Connor, Charlie Gahan, Emma Kelly,<br />

Lucy Keely, Doireann O’Brien, Tia Martin. (Not Pictured) Aaron<br />

McEvoy, James Carolan.<br />

Coaches/Coordinator (back row l-r): Patrick King, Gavin<br />

Buggy, Sylvia Macken, Tristan Geoghegan. (Not Pictured)<br />

Sorcha Nolan.<br />

Enniscorthy RFC<br />

Players: Charlie Butler, Cian OLoughlin, David Doyle, Darragh<br />

Doyle, Zac Hill, Alex Waugh, Charlie Heffernan, Liam<br />

Hennessy, Darragh Browne, Tom Jordan, Tiernan Cullen, Max<br />

Hogan, Alex Farrell, Flinn Morrissey, Harry Deacon, Cian<br />

Kehoe, Harry Masterson, Noah Doran, Evan Dooley, Ryan<br />

Neary.<br />

Head Coach: Alan Butler<br />

Coach: Paul Hill<br />

Portarlington RFC<br />

Back Row. Left to Right; Ben Kelly Drennan, Edward Feehan,<br />

Nico Kearns, Darragh Donoher, Ruairi Harrington, Jake<br />

Fitzpatrick, Cian Whelan, Sean Fitzpatrick, Kyle Kelly, Niall<br />

Malone. Middle Row. Left to Right; Jamie O Halloran, Cian<br />

James, Daniel Bree, Harry Wheeler, Jack Penston, Cian<br />

Clifford, Tomas Carapeto Feeney, Eoghan Griffin. Front Row.<br />

Left to Right; Adam Smith, Harry Dunne, Darragh Donnelly,<br />

Conor Ryan, Jayden Brady, Aaron Flood.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 71


Mick Dawson<br />

A Celebration!<br />

Today,<br />

at Aviva<br />

Stadium,<br />

marks Mick<br />

Dawson’s<br />

last home<br />

game as<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby CEO.<br />

A journey that started in<br />

November 2001 comes to a fitting<br />

conclusion on Lansdowne Road,<br />

and adjacent to the Lansdowne<br />

FC clubhouse, where Mick is<br />

the current President as they<br />

celebrate 150 years in existence.<br />

Mick is from Dublin and from a family<br />

with a huge interest in the game. He went<br />

to school in CUS and played with his<br />

beloved Lansdowne after leaving school.<br />

After hanging up the boots, he threw<br />

himself into matters away from the field.<br />

He managed the first XV and was also<br />

Director of Rugby with Lansdowne<br />

between 1998-2001 and served on<br />

numerous committees. He was due to be<br />

President of Lansdowne for the 2003/04<br />

season but only a few years into his new<br />

role in <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby, he had to step<br />

aside. Thankfully, the role has come back<br />

his way now for the 2022/23 season.<br />

Mick knew the way the system worked<br />

and knew that to make rugby or indeed<br />

any organisation tick, you needed good<br />

people around you.<br />

In November 2001 it was now up to him<br />

to make <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby tick.<br />

It’s fair to say as we look back on his<br />

legacy, that he more than made <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby tick.<br />

On the pitch, the success is evident in the<br />

trophies won but off the pitch is where he<br />

arguably left his greatest mark.<br />

Moving from Donnybrook to the RDS,<br />

building the stand in Donnybrook, the<br />

two artificial pitches in Energia Park, the<br />

move to UCD, some of the coaching<br />

appointments, players like Isa Nacewa<br />

signed from abroad, the investment in the<br />

club and the schools game, the growth<br />

of the girls and the women’s game, and<br />

of course, the building of the Ken Wall<br />

Centre of Excellence.<br />

He was also instrumental in attracting<br />

big sponsors and partners like Bank of<br />

Ireland, another key moment in 2007.<br />

He’d be the first to say that it was never<br />

about just him. There were others helping<br />

him out. Numerous committees and<br />

boards. The Executive, Management,<br />

Commercial, Finance, the Professional<br />

Game Board.<br />

And good people like Paul McNaughton<br />

and Brian McLoughlin in the early days,<br />

and more recently someone the calibre<br />

of Ray Ryan as Honorary Treasurer for<br />

over 15 years. And of course more recent<br />

confidantes like Frank Sowman, Frank<br />

Doherty and Billy Murphy to name but<br />

a few.<br />

But today, we can be forgiven for<br />

trying to make it all about Mick, and<br />

celebrating his role in making <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby what it is today.<br />

To Aileen, to Jack and to Nicola, we say<br />

a heartfelt thank you, for allowing us<br />

to borrow Mick for all these years. We<br />

hand him back to you in relatively good<br />

condition! And we wish you all every<br />

happiness together as a family as you all<br />

set about enjoying his retirement.<br />

Before we sign off, what better than<br />

to hear from a few of those that have<br />

worked closest with Mick over the last<br />

few years.<br />

Here is Mick, in their own words.<br />

He was a breath of fresh air from<br />

day one. And you think of the<br />

growth from those early days.<br />

From a pre-fab to what we now<br />

have in UCD. Only two full-time<br />

employees and another three<br />

part-time, plus the evergreen<br />

Ultan Daly, who looked after<br />

Donnybrook. And now today in<br />

modern offices in UCD you have<br />

well over 20 full-time people plus<br />

admin and support staff.<br />

Mick oversaw all of that. More than that<br />

he oversaw the growth of <strong>Leinster</strong> from<br />

a perceived D4 club to a 12 county,<br />

province-wide supported club.<br />

And then how he did it all. His laid back<br />

and professionalism was second to none.<br />

“Deal with your daily work issues” he’d<br />

say to us. And then of course he had the<br />

famous 3Ds.<br />

“Decide. Delegate. Disappear.” And he<br />

laid that mantra out at the very first staff<br />

meeting!<br />

Another one that he was fond of was<br />

“come with the solution not the problem,<br />

and if I do not like the solution, it is my<br />

problem.”<br />

He was the perfect boss.<br />

Mick, go off and enjoy yourself.<br />

Denis Collins<br />

72 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


The eve of match social activities<br />

on away trips usually concluded<br />

with a nightcap at the bar when<br />

the prospects for the following<br />

day and similar matters would be<br />

discussed at length.<br />

Though rarely the first to leave, the<br />

time would come when Mick would be<br />

anxious to get back to the hotel in order<br />

be in good shape for his diplomatic<br />

duties the next day.<br />

On one such occasion, Mick interrupted<br />

a rambling conversation to suggest that<br />

we should order a taxi to bring us back<br />

to the hotel.<br />

As diplomatically as possible , we<br />

explained to Mick that we were actually<br />

sitting in the bar of our hotel. That being<br />

the case, and as a taxi was not required,<br />

we all agreed that there was time for<br />

another nightcap!<br />

I have very much enjoyed each and<br />

every one of those many away trips,<br />

Mick, and every meeting and occasion<br />

in your company, always a pleasure.<br />

Frank Sowman<br />

Mick Dawson leaves a strong<br />

legacy as he departs his role as<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby CEO.<br />

He is a man that gets things done<br />

and does so with the minimum of fuss.<br />

He invariably makes common sense<br />

decisions. He cuts to the chase. He<br />

is adept at defusing tricky issues. His<br />

antennae are typically well tuned. He<br />

makes it his business to get on with<br />

people. And he uses humour to great<br />

effect.<br />

During his 21-year tenure he has dealt<br />

with literally scores of volunteers who<br />

have, at one time or another, served<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 73


on <strong>Leinster</strong> Branch committees across<br />

a myriad of disciplines. In doing so he<br />

maintained a personable and helpful<br />

demeanour throughout, even if the odd<br />

time he was required to display the<br />

patience of Job.<br />

Due to the fact that he himself was a<br />

great clubman in his playing days, he<br />

fundamentally understood the importance<br />

of nurturing amateur rugby throughout<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>.<br />

He has travelled with generations of<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> squads to venues right around<br />

Europe. All the while, he has been<br />

a great ambassador, not just for his<br />

province, but for Ireland too.<br />

Billy Murphy<br />

From my first conversation with<br />

Mick, way back in early 2008, I<br />

always knew what direction and<br />

aspirations Mick had for <strong>Leinster</strong>.<br />

He was always very supportive<br />

of the head coach whether it was<br />

Cheiks, Joe, Leo, and later on<br />

Stuart.<br />

Mick’s support was there through the<br />

highs and the lows. I think this is rare in<br />

a CEO.<br />

Personally, I always treasured our chats,<br />

on the way home from away games.<br />

Whether it be after big Heineken Cup<br />

matches, or returning from Wales in the<br />

middle of winter in the early hours of<br />

the morning. Mick was always open to<br />

chat and was always 100% supportive<br />

regardless of the outcome!<br />

What a legend. Best of luck for the future,<br />

Mick.<br />

Isa Nacewa<br />

I go way back. Saw him as a<br />

young fella playing cricket.<br />

He’s been brilliant. Without Mick, <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

would have struggled. Big time.<br />

What can you say about Mick? I<br />

remember him scoring a winning try for<br />

Lansdowne. Down in Donnybrook in a<br />

league final. Him crawling along the<br />

ground to score!<br />

He was a top-class tennis player as well<br />

which not many know about. He was the<br />

number one tennis player in Donnybrook.<br />

That was big back then. To be the number<br />

one. In Donnybrook. He was the number<br />

one fella. But he’s moved up to Fitzwilliam<br />

now. Notions.<br />

He’s still trying to get into Portmarnock<br />

too I hear. A few got in before him, which<br />

he’s not happy about. But he still hasn’t<br />

got in there. He has to wait his turn. I’m<br />

not sure what the attraction is? It’s always<br />

windy and raining. But that’s Mick for<br />

you.<br />

Mick is a great man for entertaining<br />

people and a great man for the five<br />

o’clock club. They know who they are!<br />

They will remain nameless! I remember<br />

him dancing in South Africa when the<br />

Dubs won the All-Ireland. I was there.<br />

Myself, Mick and Ruaidhrí O’Connor<br />

from the Irish Independent. That’s where<br />

all the leaks came from.<br />

What more can I say about him? I’ll<br />

see him on Saturday and we’ll have a<br />

good laugh about all of this. That’s Mick,<br />

though, isn’t it? A great fella. And he’s<br />

done a brilliant job at <strong>Leinster</strong>.<br />

Johnny O’Hagan<br />

I don’t actually know what to say<br />

about Mick.<br />

All I can say is that I’ve enjoyed every<br />

day working with Mick. He’s allowed us<br />

all to become better than what we were<br />

when we first started in our roles a long<br />

time ago now. He didn’t interfere and he<br />

let us get on with things.<br />

Throughout it all, it’s probably his sense<br />

of humour that I will remember the most.<br />

He is a particularly unique individual – I<br />

think – and while he doesn’t take things<br />

too seriously, he still manages to get the<br />

things done that need to get done.<br />

I’m very proud to have worked with him<br />

for the last 20 plus years and I wish him<br />

all the best.<br />

It’s very hard to put it all into words if<br />

I’m honest. 20 years is a long time and<br />

because he’s been brilliant to work with.<br />

Eleanor Ryan<br />

We had a lot of transition in<br />

Mick’s time and, in my opinion, he<br />

was the ideal person to oversee<br />

it. Going from Kurt McQuilkin’s<br />

rat episode in Donnybrook to<br />

UCD was a journey with many<br />

twists and turns but Mick had<br />

a quiet determination to get<br />

things done and to always move<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> forward both on and off<br />

the field at both professional and<br />

domestic game level.<br />

Having come from a club background in<br />

Lansdowne where he played, coached<br />

and managed teams from minis to senior<br />

he knew that the success at professional<br />

level had to be underpinned by a<br />

successful club and school game.<br />

Once you could explain the rationale and<br />

show the vision Mick was fully supportive.<br />

In his time the rugby department went<br />

from having four staff members covering<br />

74 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


each area is equality appreciated<br />

and respected, all the time ensuring<br />

it continuously evolves to meet future<br />

demands.<br />

Mick has been that person.<br />

Philip Lawlor<br />

all aspects of the game to having a staff<br />

of 60 plus personnel delivering across the<br />

province. Mick always had my back and<br />

for that I will always be grateful.<br />

In all our time I only had one slight fall<br />

out with Mick and that was during a<br />

discussion.<br />

You see, Mick never did arguments,<br />

but there was this one day that I had<br />

the audacity to call Mick ‘Michael’<br />

upon which Mick drew breath and<br />

said, “Philip. Only my Mother calls me<br />

Michael”. It was a slight that I never<br />

repeated.<br />

A lot has been spoken and rightly<br />

so about the culture of the <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Senior team and the management<br />

involved in creating that, but <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby is much more than just the<br />

Senior team it is a hugely diverse<br />

organisation encompassing clubs,<br />

schools, communities, councils, sponsors ,<br />

committees and staff all working together<br />

to create a fun quality rugby environment<br />

so that girls and boys, men and women,<br />

coaches, players and referees can enjoy<br />

themselves and fulfil their ambitions.<br />

It takes a special person to be able to<br />

oversee such an environment to ensure<br />

For me he has just been a bloody<br />

good bloke.<br />

He has been unbelievably supportive,<br />

with a positive outlook on all things that<br />

enabled <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby to grow into<br />

professionalism under his guidance.<br />

Any idea you brought to Mick was<br />

always given due consideration and I<br />

really appreciated everything that he<br />

has done for me personally, particularly<br />

in guiding and advising me in the early<br />

years as I learnt the ropes.<br />

I see that others have already mentioned<br />

his 3Ds…and I quickly realised why he<br />

wanted to ‘delegate’ so much and this<br />

was something he was very good at! I<br />

saw that at first hand with him handing<br />

over the player contracting piece to me in<br />

the early days!<br />

Guy Easterby<br />

It was my pleasure to work<br />

closely with Mick for 16 years.<br />

From the early days it was clear<br />

that Mick was forward thinking,<br />

supportive of innovation and new<br />

ideas.<br />

Highlights of our 16 years working<br />

together include the installation of the two<br />

all-weather pitches in Energia Park, the<br />

Ken Wall Centre of Excellence, hosting<br />

the Irish Women's Hockey Olympic<br />

Qualifiers, various concerts and of course<br />

not forgetting the many rugby occasions,<br />

internationals, schools cups and leagues.<br />

Mick's leadership as CEO has been<br />

instrumental to <strong>Leinster</strong>'s success on and<br />

off the pitch.<br />

May I take this opportunity to thank<br />

him for his support and wish him well<br />

on his retirement, and look forward to<br />

welcoming him to the retirement back<br />

benches!<br />

David Ross<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 75


COUNTRY IRELAND HOME GROUND THOMOND PARK FOUNDED 1879 CHAMPIONS x3<br />

last time out<br />

munster 31<br />

vodacom bulls 17<br />

SAT 15 OCT | ROUND 5 · URC | THOMOND PARK | REFEREE: MIKE ADAMSON, (SRU)<br />

<strong>Munster</strong> Record Bonus<br />

Point Win Over Bulls<br />

<strong>Munster</strong> got their Thomond<br />

Park campaign off to a<br />

winning start with a bonus<br />

point win against the<br />

Vodacom Bulls in last week’s<br />

BKT URC Round 5 clash.<br />

<strong>Munster</strong>: Shane Daly, Calvin Nash (Jack Crowley, rep: 41), Malakai Fekitoa, Dan Goggin,<br />

Liam Coombes, Joey Carbery, Craig Casey (rep: Conor Murray ’57), Jeremy Loughman (rep:<br />

Dave Kilcoyne ’51), Niall Scannell (rep: Diarmuid Barron ’51), Stephen Archer (rep: Roman<br />

Salanoa ’51), Jean Kleyn , Edwin Edogbo (rep: Thomas Ahern ’51), Tadhg Beirne (rep: Jack<br />

O’Donoghue ’69), Peter O’Mahony (rep: John Hodnett ’63), Gavin Coombes.<br />

Tries: G Coombes 2, Loughman, Beirne<br />

Conversions: Carbery (4/4)<br />

Penalties: Carbery (1/1)<br />

The atrocious conditions didn’t<br />

deter the 12,218 supporters who<br />

attended Thomond Park as they<br />

got behind Graham Rowntree’s<br />

men.<br />

<strong>Munster</strong>’s tries came from Gavin<br />

Coombes (2), Jeremy Loughman and<br />

Tadhg Beirne with BKT URC Player of<br />

the Match Joey Carbery faultless from<br />

the tee adding the four conversions and<br />

a penalty.<br />

While it was a scrappy start from<br />

<strong>Munster</strong>, there was a noticeable increase<br />

in physicality this week as the men in<br />

red dominated territory and possession<br />

in the opening half and when they got<br />

consistency on their phase play, the<br />

points arrived courtesy of two Gavin<br />

Coombes tries.<br />

Vodacom Bulls: Kurt-lee Arendse; Cornel Hendricks (rep; David Kriel ’41) , Lionel Mapoe,<br />

Harold Vorster, Wandisile Simelane; Johan Goosen (rep: Chris Smith ’41), Embrose Papier<br />

(rep: Zak Burger ’68); Simphiwe Matanzima (rep: Dylan Smith ’57), Jan-Hendrik Wessels (rep:<br />

Bismarck Du Plessis ’57) , Mornay Smith (yellow card – 47-57 – (rep: Jacques van Rooyen ’57),<br />

Walt Steenkamp, Run Nortje, Marcell Coetzee (rep: Marco Van Staden ’60), WJ Steenkamp<br />

(Jacques van Rooyen ’53-57), Elrigh Louw<br />

Tries: WJ Steenkamp, Kriel<br />

Conversions: C Smith (2/2)<br />

Penalties: Johan Goosen (1/1)<br />

A good half from the <strong>Munster</strong> men saw<br />

them score 17 unanswered points after<br />

an early Bulls penalty.<br />

Edwin Edogbo made his presence felt<br />

from early doors when the Bulls attack<br />

was held up outside the <strong>Munster</strong> 22 and<br />

the young Cobh man was there to force<br />

the turnover.<br />

76 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Craig Casey took a quick tap-penalty<br />

following some issues with the scrum and<br />

was unlucky to capitalise as he was held<br />

up over the line, with the TMO called to<br />

adjudicate.<br />

A high tackle gave the Bulls a chance at<br />

the posts and Johan Goosen made no<br />

mistake with the kick, to hand the visitors<br />

the first score after 10 minutes.<br />

<strong>Munster</strong> had their own chance for points<br />

at the start of the second quarter and<br />

Joey Carbery restored parity at Thomond<br />

Park with a straightforward kick from<br />

close in.<br />

Just before the half-hour mark Gavin<br />

Coombes got over for the first try as he<br />

slid over the line after <strong>Munster</strong> worked<br />

the ball into a scoring position from the<br />

line-out. Edogbo and Jean Kleyn were on<br />

hand to help power the number 8 across<br />

the line.<br />

Carbery made no mistake to add the<br />

additional two and <strong>Munster</strong> led by<br />

seven.<br />

A second Coombes try followed with<br />

the forward power all involved in the<br />

build-up as they edged closer to the line<br />

before the ball was touched down by<br />

the posts.<br />

Carbery again added the simple<br />

conversion with the province going in at<br />

the break with a 17-3 lead.<br />

Just three minutes into the second forty<br />

and the Bulls handed <strong>Munster</strong> an easy<br />

try when a costly Chris Smith error,<br />

allowed Jeremy Loughman to kick it on<br />

and run in for the easiest of touchdowns.<br />

There was a good reaction to that<br />

setback and ten minutes later the Bulls<br />

got over for their first try when <strong>Munster</strong><br />

ball was turned over and played out to<br />

the right with WJ Steenkamp diving over.<br />

After advancing into the final quarter<br />

<strong>Munster</strong> wrapped up the try bonus<br />

point with Tadhg Beirne getting into a<br />

great body position to drop below two<br />

defenders to score from close-range.<br />

Another Bulls’ try was scored when<br />

the ball spilled out in midfield and that<br />

allowed David Kriel to run 60 yards<br />

unchallenged to touch down and narrow<br />

the margin.<br />

The Bulls had further opportunities to add<br />

to the score but the <strong>Munster</strong> rear-guard<br />

held out and it finished 31-17.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 77


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Graham<br />

Rowntree<br />

Head Coach<br />

Graham Rowntree is a former English<br />

international and British & Irish Lion. He<br />

played all his club rugby with Leicester<br />

Tigers and played an astonishing 398<br />

times for the Welford Road club. He<br />

became scrum coach with England in<br />

2008, before taking on similar roles with<br />

the Lions in 2009 and later with <strong>Munster</strong><br />

in 2019. He was appointed head coach<br />

of <strong>Munster</strong> ahead of the 2022/23<br />

season.<br />

Peter<br />

O’Mahony<br />

Captain<br />

Peter O’Mahony has played over 150<br />

times for his province as well as 87<br />

times for Ireland, scoring three tries. He<br />

has won three Six Nations titles with<br />

Ireland, including a Grand Slam in 2018.<br />

O’Mahony is also a British & Irish Lion<br />

and was captain of the Lions in 2017 for<br />

their first test.<br />

<strong>Munster</strong> squad<br />

FORWARDS<br />

TOM AHERN<br />

LOCK<br />

STEPHEN ARCHER<br />

PROP<br />

DIARMUID BARRON<br />

HOOKER<br />

TADHG BEIRNE<br />

LOCK<br />

SCOTT BUCKLEY<br />

HOOKER<br />

GAVIN COOMBES<br />

FLANKER<br />

JACK DALY<br />

FLANKER<br />

EDWIN EDOGBO<br />

LOCK<br />

JAMES FRENCH<br />

PROP<br />

JOHN HODNETT<br />

FLANKER<br />

ALEX KENDELLEN<br />

FLANKER<br />

DAVE KILCOYNE<br />

PROP<br />

JEAN KLEYN<br />

LOCK<br />

KEYNAN KNOX<br />

PROP<br />

JEREMY LOUGHMAN<br />

PROP<br />

CHRIS MOORE<br />

HOOKER<br />

LIAM O’CONNOR<br />

PROP<br />

JACK O’DONOGHUE<br />

FLANKER<br />

PETER O’MAHONY<br />

FLANKER C<br />

JACK O’SULLIVAN<br />

FLANKER<br />

RUADHAN QUINN<br />

FLANKER<br />

ROMAN SALANOA<br />

PROP<br />

NIALL SCANNELL<br />

HOOKER<br />

RG SNYMAN<br />

LOCK<br />

JOSH WYCHERLEY<br />

PROP<br />

FINEEN WYCHERLEY<br />

LOCK<br />

BACKS<br />

PATRICK CAMPBELL<br />

FULLBACK<br />

JOEY CARBERY<br />

FLY-HALF<br />

CRAIG CASEY<br />

SCRUM-HALF<br />

ANDREW CONWAY<br />

FULLBACK<br />

LIAM COOMBES<br />

FULLBACK<br />

NEIL CRONIN<br />

SCRUM-HALF<br />

JACK CROWLEY<br />

FLY-HALF<br />

SHANE DALY<br />

CENTRE<br />

KEITH EARLS<br />

WING<br />

CHRIS FARRELL<br />

CENTRE<br />

MALAKAI FEKITOA<br />

CENTRE<br />

ANTOINE FRISCH<br />

CENTRE<br />

FIONN GIBBONS<br />

CENTRE<br />

DAN GOGGIN<br />

CENTRE<br />

MIKE HALEY<br />

FULLBACK<br />

BEN HEALY<br />

FLY-HALF<br />

CONOR MURRAY<br />

SCRUM-HALF<br />

CALVIN NASH<br />

WING<br />

PADDY PATTERSON<br />

SCRUM-HALF<br />

CONOR PHILLIPS<br />

WING<br />

RORY SCANNELL<br />

CENTRE<br />

SIMON ZEBO<br />

WING<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 79


BY DES BERRY<br />

athboy RFC<br />

Boy!<br />

Oh Boy!<br />

Athboy.<br />

The Meath<br />

rugby<br />

club has<br />

suffered<br />

enough<br />

blows<br />

to have<br />

it fold<br />

forever.<br />

Club in<br />

Focus<br />

But, this place, and these people,<br />

are made of stern stuff. Founded<br />

in 1978, it had already gone<br />

through a fallow period in which<br />

senior rugby was suspended from<br />

1995 to 1999.<br />

Just this summer, it looked like the same<br />

fate awaited the players and members<br />

until a ‘Call To Arms’ caused a renewal of<br />

faith from some old soldiers convinced to<br />

return to the battlefield.<br />

The knock-on effect of the pandemic<br />

caused a number of players to turn away<br />

from the game. For the 2021/2022<br />

season, it was decided it was in the best<br />

interests of Athboy and local rivals North<br />

Meath to amalgamate for one season.<br />

“We were in the <strong>Leinster</strong> League for a<br />

number of seasons, getting as high as<br />

Division 2A. Subsequently, we dropped<br />

down to Division 3. We were not that<br />

competitive and began to lose players,”<br />

says Athboy stalwart Fergus O’Boyle.<br />

“Then, Covid kicked in and knocked<br />

us back. When we came back in the<br />

summer of 2021, we just didn’t have<br />

enough numbers or enough commitment.<br />

Athboy or North Meath were faring<br />

too well and numbers at training were<br />

disappointing. It just made sense to pull<br />

them all together,” concedes Fergus.<br />

Usually, the prospect of joining forces<br />

with your local rivals would be a<br />

disagreeable one. Not so much in this<br />

case. They needed each other.<br />

“The blending went well because we<br />

hadn’t played North Meath to build up<br />

a rivalry. We always seemed to be in<br />

different Divisions of the <strong>Leinster</strong> League<br />

through the years.<br />

“We didn’t see each other enough to<br />

build up that animosity or dislike that<br />

normally comes with the long history of a<br />

local derby. We were never hard rivals.<br />

“Perhaps, that is why we had a successful<br />

season. We came third in Division Three.<br />

We won the North-East Jenkinson Cup<br />

and the Plate of the Seconds Towns Cup.”<br />

There was a temptation, even ambition,<br />

to stay together as the club co-operation<br />

had led to a first and second team,<br />

providing depth and competition for<br />

positions.<br />

“In fact, an uncomfortable conversation<br />

began in March 2021 when neither<br />

At a late hour, the decision came down<br />

from <strong>Leinster</strong> that the two clubs had to<br />

80 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


divide and conquer this season, Athboy<br />

losing three players, Padraic McGurl,<br />

Graham Boland and Jordan Herring, to<br />

North Meath in the <strong>Leinster</strong> League.<br />

“We have had conversations with all<br />

three players. Their preference was to<br />

play at a higher level. We understand<br />

that. The door is always open for them to<br />

come back to us,” he says.<br />

In mid-August, the proximity of pre-season<br />

prompted a small club meeting in which<br />

it became clear that the struggle for<br />

numbers could well force the club to pull<br />

out of senior rugby.<br />

The message was stark and clear.<br />

Something dramatic had to take place or<br />

there might not be a club to come to.<br />

“One of our members, Bryan Quirke,<br />

went away from that meeting unwilling to<br />

accept the worst scenario. He spent the<br />

next day, calling everyone and anyone<br />

connected to the club,” states Fergus.<br />

When a good man calls, it is hard to say<br />

no. Athboy withdrew from the <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

League and committed to the Metro<br />

League, moving from playing on Sunday<br />

to Saturday.<br />

“We know we have to make things<br />

happen on and off the pitch,” he says.<br />

“We ended up with a 15-man committee,<br />

including finance and development<br />

committees to get the club up and moving<br />

again.<br />

“There is a Three-Year plan. It all begins<br />

on the park. There is a focus on our U-12s<br />

to bring them up through the grades,<br />

eventually making that connection to<br />

senior rugby.<br />

“Adult-wise, at the moment, we are<br />

limited to social rugby in Division 10 of<br />

the Metro League. We start from there,<br />

seeing how our numbers stack-up. We<br />

want to attract new players to the club.<br />

“In terms of club development, we are<br />

currently changing out of shipping<br />

containers for the dressing-room and<br />

shower block. They have reached their<br />

sell-by date whereby they owe us nothing.<br />

“We want to build permanent dressing<br />

rooms to provide the facilities to help<br />

attract new players and keep our current<br />

ones at the club.<br />

“The beauty of the cub is that we don’t<br />

actually owe anyone anything. The land<br />

is owned by the club.<br />

“Maybe, it has led us to sit on the fence<br />

and not push ourselves into getting into<br />

the sort of financial commitment that<br />

means better facilities.<br />

On Saturday, October 1st, Athboy<br />

played their first League match since<br />

October 4th, 2020, when recording a<br />

double-scores 14-7 victory over their<br />

guests Athy at Townspark.<br />

It was a first-taste of life in Metro<br />

League Division 10, the lowest level of<br />

competition in the province, a sign of<br />

where the club stands at present.<br />

“It was lovely to be back as ourselves.<br />

The pitch was immaculate. An hour<br />

before kick-off, Owen Kerrane put an<br />

extra coat of white to make the pitch<br />

markings stand out even more,” shares<br />

Fergus.<br />

“When you think of Athboy, it is one<br />

of the smallest towns in <strong>Leinster</strong> and,<br />

thus, one of the smallest clubs too. The<br />

population is somewhere around 2,500-<br />

3,000.<br />

“Here, we have the GAA disciplines,<br />

hurling and football, a soccer club, the<br />

rugby club and a community centre<br />

that hosts 35 different sporting/activity<br />

organisations.<br />

“It is a well-supported sporting town.<br />

However, it is like your St Patrick’s Day<br />

parade, you can’t get enough kids to run<br />

from one group to the next, to the next.<br />

The numbers only stretch so far. It is very<br />

parochial.<br />

“It wasn’t that long ago that we were one<br />

of three rugby clubs in Meath, alongside<br />

Navan and Ashbourne. Ratoath and<br />

North Meath were set up recently.”<br />

The fact Fergus was listed as the Club<br />

President, Coaching Co-Ordinator and<br />

Youth Co-Ordinator in the <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby<br />

Handbook for 2020/2021 speaks to a<br />

man who has given back. And then some.<br />

“I enjoyed my 20-odd years playing<br />

rugby in Athboy, meeting really good<br />

friends, making strong bonds over the<br />

years.<br />

“It is that desire to give back to a club<br />

that has given me so much that keeps me<br />

going.”<br />

It looks like others feel the same way.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 81


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Carlingford Knights<br />

Under Lights!<br />

BY CAROLINE MCFADDEN<br />

The Carlingford<br />

Knights U12’s<br />

team have had<br />

sleepless nights<br />

waiting for their<br />

big day in the<br />

Aviva! They are<br />

really excited<br />

to be playing<br />

their half-time<br />

exhibition match<br />

at a <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

game.<br />

Ahead of the big day, Jack<br />

Redpath, Director of Rugby at<br />

Carlingford Knights RFC, said, “It<br />

is such a wonderful occasion for<br />

our little club and the Carlingford<br />

and Cooley community. We hope<br />

to have well over 200 people at<br />

the match to support our U-12s<br />

team.”<br />

It’s been a long road but a fruitful one for<br />

this team.<br />

“This is the first age group in the club that<br />

has come through from mini rugby U-7s<br />

and U-8s when the club officially started<br />

over four years ago.<br />

“The team has worked its way up through<br />

the age grades and very few players<br />

have left the team. Full credit to our<br />

coaching team, who have come through<br />

with this group since they were six and<br />

seven year olds.”<br />

But this isn’t the only good news story out<br />

Cooley way, as Redpath again explains.<br />

“The club continues to grow. We had<br />

in excess of 200 registered players last<br />

year, in our mini and youth sections<br />

and playing on our adult tag rugby<br />

team. Adult tag rugby is where the club<br />

originally started out. We draw our<br />

players from the whole Cooley Peninsula,<br />

from Bellurgan, Lordship, Cooley and<br />

Carlingford right as far as Omeath. Most<br />

of the players in the club are completely<br />

new to rugby.<br />

“This year we are fielding U-14 and U-16<br />

youth boys teams and our youth girls<br />

continue to grow every week. We now<br />

have over 24 female players in that 14 to<br />

16 age group. The girls have played in<br />

7s competitions already and we hope to<br />

be playing competitive girl’s fixtures in the<br />

coming month.”<br />

All involved at Carlingford Knights RFC<br />

have made great strides in progressing<br />

the club and endeavouring to provide<br />

rugby for more and more people in the<br />

community.<br />

Today’s half-time exhibition match is a<br />

testament to all the work that has been<br />

put in to date, and how far the club has<br />

come in a relatively short space of time.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 85


86 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Aitzol<br />

King<br />

The Bank of<br />

Ireland Shane<br />

Horgan Cup<br />

is the first<br />

opportunity<br />

for club<br />

players to play<br />

representative<br />

rugby within<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>.<br />

THE ACADEMY<br />

INTERVIEW<br />

BY PAUL CAHILL<br />

The U-16 boys competition was<br />

named after a well-known<br />

back from Meath who had a<br />

tremendous career in the blue of<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>, the green of Ireland and<br />

indeed the red of the British &<br />

Irish Lions.<br />

Indeed Horgan, remains to this day,<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>’s all-time leading try scorer.<br />

It would be quite the journey to emulating<br />

the heroics of Meath’s famous son, but<br />

maybe, just maybe, another Meath native<br />

could be the one to do just that.<br />

Aitzol King is a year one <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby<br />

Academy winger.<br />

Like Horgan, he played multiple sports<br />

growing up and played with the Meath<br />

Gaelic football team until U-18.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 87


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While King has progressed through<br />

the <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby pathway, it was his<br />

exploits with the Irish U-20s that brought<br />

him national attention.<br />

Having beaten Wales and France in their<br />

first two games of the 2022 Six Nations<br />

tournament, the Irish side faced a tough<br />

test away to England at Saracens StoneX<br />

Stadium. King was brought off the bench<br />

on the hour mark with Ireland holding a<br />

slender lead. Just a minute later, he had<br />

added his name to the scoresheet.<br />

From an Irish lineout, the ball fell to scrumhalf<br />

Ethan Coughlan, who popped the<br />

ball back inside to King who timed his<br />

run perfectly to split the English defence.<br />

With three English players on his back,<br />

he powered over to give Ireland a tenpoint<br />

lead.<br />

While that was a well worked training<br />

ground move, we saw a piece of<br />

individual brilliance just five minutes<br />

after that, as a loose ball in midfield was<br />

picked up by Reuben Crothers who then<br />

passed to King who was 30 metres from<br />

the English line. He had plenty of work<br />

to do.<br />

After negotiating the full back, a further<br />

two covering defenders couldn’t stop the<br />

Balbriggan RFC man whose acrobatic<br />

dive got him over the line.<br />

An incredible moment for King who<br />

helped push Ireland to a 42-27 win, but<br />

the winger isn’t as quick to take praise for<br />

his performance.<br />

“The forwards gave me a nice platform<br />

in fairness to them,” says King, rather<br />

modestly.<br />

“I was just happy I was able to help<br />

the team get the win. Getting a win in<br />

England is a great feeling. For the second<br />

try, I felt that I had scored, but I wasn’t<br />

sure. I was just delighted when it was<br />

given and that I was able to push the<br />

team ahead.”<br />

While that evening will stand out in his<br />

rugby career, his story begins in 2002.<br />

In June of that year, as most of the<br />

country was getting ready to cheer<br />

on Ireland at the FIFA World Cup<br />

in Korea and Japan, the King<br />

household suddenly became a very<br />

busy place.<br />

Victor and Amaia celebrated the birth<br />

of their triplets. Iker, Kealan and Aitzol<br />

joined older sister Uxoa. Later, they<br />

would welcome younger brother, Jon.<br />

While some of those names might not<br />

seem too familiar to readers, there is a<br />

nice <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby connection.<br />

Amaia is from Bilbao and gave each of<br />

her children a Basque name. The city<br />

where <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby claimed their fourth<br />

European Champions Cup.<br />

Back in Meath, their father, Victor, had<br />

played rugby with Delvin RFC and was<br />

keen to get his boys involved in the game<br />

and as they grew up, little by little they<br />

took their first steps into rugby and into<br />

sport.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 89


For a young, Aitzol, he just wanted to<br />

play as much sport as he could.<br />

“We grew up in Gormanston in Meath. I<br />

played Gaelic football there and I played<br />

rugby and soccer with Balbriggan. I was<br />

in the North Dublin Schoolboy League<br />

Academy side too.”<br />

Despite having a clear talent for a<br />

number of sports, he knew from an early<br />

age which one he would pursue.<br />

“To be honest, I was always leaning<br />

towards rugby. Once I got into the player<br />

pathway scheme with the North-East,<br />

I just loved it. I was still playing Gaelic<br />

football at the time, but it was just for fun.<br />

I really enjoyed the football and it was<br />

good for fitness, but I always preferred<br />

rugby.”<br />

Aitzol was certain of one thing; he<br />

wanted to play sport at the highest level<br />

he could. Exposing himself to as much<br />

high-performance facilities as possible.<br />

“When I was with the Meath county<br />

setup, it was always high intensity and<br />

professionalism was a big thing around<br />

our team. The High Performance Centre is<br />

in Dunderry, just outside Navan, so it was<br />

quite a drive away, but it was worth it.”<br />

His first opportunity to play representative<br />

rugby came in the form of the<br />

aforementioned, Shane Horgan Cup.<br />

This U-16 competition brings the best<br />

club players together in the five regions<br />

of <strong>Leinster</strong>.<br />

His region – or Area as its properly<br />

known – is the North-East and he was<br />

selected to play, thus starting his <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby journey.<br />

“I loved my time playing in the Shane<br />

Horgan Cup. I actually came in as an<br />

out-half, but, they had one look at me and<br />

said, ‘no, you’re going out on the wing’.<br />

“Ever since then, I’ve just been a winger.<br />

I’m glad it happened because I love<br />

playing on the wing now. It was my first<br />

time in a representative rugby shirt and I<br />

absolutely loved it.”<br />

When he was U-18, King was named on<br />

the Meath Gaelic football panel as well<br />

as the <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby U-18 club side.<br />

Lady luck was with King as the GAA<br />

season was due to finish just before the<br />

rugby interpros were due to take place.<br />

So, with a lot of training already done,<br />

and fitness levels as strong as they could<br />

be after a full GAA season, King hit the<br />

ground running with the oval ball.<br />

“It was a really good experience with<br />

Joe Carbery as our coach. He was big<br />

on brotherhood, and having a tight<br />

knit group. That’s what we had and we<br />

ended up going on to win all of our<br />

games.<br />

“Those experiences really help you<br />

prepare for being a rugby player. We<br />

stayed in the University of Limerick for<br />

a week and it was basically like being<br />

a professional player. We stayed in<br />

dorms and played rugby, eat together,<br />

rest together and just lived the lives of<br />

professionals for a while and we all<br />

loved it.”<br />

After his success with the <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby<br />

U-18 club side, King was selected for<br />

the <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby U-19s, however, no<br />

games were played that summer due to<br />

Covid-19.<br />

King doesn’t see this as a missed<br />

opportunity, instead it was another<br />

stepping stone to where he wanted to be<br />

and more exposure to high performance<br />

coaching.<br />

He was now fully immersed in the <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby Sub-Academy down in the Ken<br />

Wall Centre of Excellence in Energia Park.<br />

“Obviously, it can be very tough at times,<br />

but everyone is working to a common<br />

goal. You’re in early in the morning<br />

before college, but the coaches were<br />

amazing.<br />

90 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


I actually came in as<br />

an out-half, but, they<br />

had one look at me and<br />

said, ‘no, you’re going<br />

out on the wing’.<br />

“Kieran Hallett and Trevor Hogan are<br />

such great coaches and have been a<br />

huge help to me. Dave Fagan in the gym<br />

really helps prepare you for anything as<br />

well.”<br />

All of that hard work paid off as he was<br />

selected on the Irish U-20s squad that<br />

would claim the 2022 Six Nations Grand<br />

Slam.<br />

It’s a couple of weeks that the young<br />

winger will never forget.<br />

“It changed me as a player. Mentally<br />

and obviously physically, and how we<br />

worked day in day out on our drills. Living<br />

and training with the best players in the<br />

country, you are learning all of the time<br />

and I just loved it.”<br />

All squads back themselves going into a<br />

tournament, but when did it really hit home<br />

that this was a special group of players?<br />

“When we won away in France, we knew<br />

we had a chance. To win over there is a<br />

big achievement. That was a moment that<br />

brought us all closer. We kept building<br />

off each win and each performance, but<br />

that 17-16 win in France in Round 2 was<br />

special.”<br />

Following that, King hit the headlines<br />

with his wonderful two tries in ten minutes<br />

against England.<br />

He started the final game against<br />

Scotland in a packed Musgrave Park<br />

which was live on RTÉ television as Ireland<br />

secured the Grand Slam.<br />

While this was the biggest moment of his<br />

short career to date, it was still a stepping<br />

stone to where King wants to be; earning<br />

a living from the game he loves.<br />

But there are never any guarantees in life,<br />

much less sport, and like all players, it<br />

was a nervy time coming off the back of<br />

a successful campaign with the U-20s and<br />

then hoping for the phone to ring.<br />

Thankfully, he hadn’t long to wait.<br />

A week after the U-20 Six Nations<br />

campaign, the players had individual<br />

meetings with their Academy managers. It<br />

was a day worth waiting for.<br />

“My dad drove me to Donnybrook for<br />

my meeting with Dave Fagan and Simon<br />

Broughton. I walked in and they told me<br />

that I was going to be offered a contract. I<br />

was so happy.<br />

“I just walked back to the car and said to<br />

my dad, “I’ve been offered a contract”,<br />

so it was a nice moment with him. I’m very<br />

close with him and we’ve been through it<br />

all together.<br />

“He was my underage coach in<br />

Balbriggan, so it was great. Then we both<br />

rang my mam to tell her.”<br />

King was given another opportunity to<br />

wear an Irish Jersey this summer as he was<br />

selected for the Irish U-20 side for the Six<br />

Nations Summer Series in Italy, where he<br />

scored tries against France and Scotland.<br />

With all young athletes who sign their first<br />

contract, there is a fear that they might<br />

lose a little bit of motivation and start<br />

easing off a little.<br />

Not so here.<br />

Now a few months into his first year as<br />

a <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby Academy player, and<br />

playing with Clontarf in the Energia All-<br />

Ireland League, King is still fully focused<br />

on pushing on reaching his ultimate goal.<br />

“The main aim is to get my first cap for<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>. In the meantime, I just want to<br />

keep playing well and keep improving.”


<strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby<br />

Academy<br />

Year<br />

Three:<br />

92 | www.leinsterrugby.ie<br />

Marcus Hanan (3) #1295<br />

DOB 3 July 2000<br />

FROM Clane, Co Kildare<br />

HEIGHT 1.85m (6’ 0”)<br />

WEIGHT 112kg (17st 9 lbs)<br />

POSITION Loosehead prop<br />

SCHOOL Salesian College, Celbridge<br />

CLUB Clane RFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (2 caps)<br />

John McKee (6) #1307<br />

DOB 15 February 2000<br />

FROM Belfast<br />

HEIGHT 1.85m ( 6’ 0”)<br />

WEIGHT 108kg (17st 0lbs)<br />

POSITION Hooker<br />

SCHOOL Campbell College<br />

CLUB Terenure College RFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (10 caps)<br />

Seán O’Brien (3) #1297<br />

DOB 31 July 2000<br />

FROM Pittsburgh, PA, USA<br />

HEIGHT 1.91m ( 6 ’ 3”)<br />

WEIGHT 106kg ( 16st 10lbs)<br />

POSITION Back Row<br />

SCHOOL Blackrock College<br />

CLUB UCD RFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (3 caps)<br />

Max O’Reilly (10) #1291<br />

DOB 26 February 2000<br />

FROM Long Island, USA<br />

HEIGHT 1.86m (6’ 1”)<br />

WEIGHT 90kg (14st 2lbs)<br />

POSITION Full-back<br />

SCHOOL St Gerard’s School<br />

CLUB DUFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (3 caps)<br />

Andrew Smith (2) #1292<br />

DOB 21 July 2000<br />

FROM Dublin<br />

HEIGHT 1.8 m (5’ 11”)<br />

WEIGHT 93kg (14st 9lbs)<br />

POSITION Back Three<br />

SCHOOL St Michael’s College<br />

CLUB Clontarf FC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (3 caps)<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby<br />

Academy<br />

Year<br />

Two:<br />

Alex Soroka (6) #1296<br />

DOB 19 February 2001<br />

FROM Cork<br />

HEIGHT 1.95m (6’ 5”)<br />

WEIGHT 107kg (16st 12lbs)<br />

POSITION Back Row<br />

SCHOOL Belvedere College<br />

CLUB Clontarf FC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (8 caps)<br />

Jack Boyle<br />

DOB 10 March 2002<br />

FROM Dublin<br />

HEIGHT 1.86m (6’ 1”)<br />

WEIGHT 108kg (17st 0lbs)<br />

POSITION Loosehead prop<br />

SCHOOL St Michael’s College<br />

CLUB UCD RFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (9 caps)<br />

Lee Barron (2) #1308<br />

DOB 15 February 2001<br />

FROM Dublin<br />

HEIGHT 1.93m (6’ 3”)<br />

WEIGHT 107kg (16st 12 lbs)<br />

POSITION Hooker<br />

SCHOOL St Michael’s College<br />

CLUB DUFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (2 caps)<br />

Chris Cosgrave (2) #1305<br />

DOB 24 July 2001<br />

FROM Dublin<br />

HEIGHT 1.85m (6’ 0”)<br />

WEIGHT 86kg (13st 7lbs)<br />

POSITION Back Three<br />

SCHOOL St Michael’s College<br />

CLUB UCD RFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (3 caps)<br />

Temi Lasisi (1) #1304<br />

DOB 9 May 2001<br />

FROM Enniscorthy, Co Wexford<br />

HEIGHT 1.83m (6’ 0 “)<br />

WEIGHT 116.5kg (18st 5lbs)<br />

POSITION Tighthead prop<br />

SCHOOL CBS Enniscorthy<br />

CLUB Lansdowne FC/Enniscorthy RFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (3 caps)<br />

(3) = <strong>Leinster</strong> Rugby Senior caps


Ben Murphy (1) #1309<br />

DOB 23 April 2001<br />

FROM Bray<br />

HEIGHT 1.76m (5’ 8”)<br />

WEIGHT 80kg (12st 8lbs)<br />

POSITION Scrum-half<br />

SCHOOL Presentation College, Bray<br />

CLUB Clontarf FC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (3 caps)<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Rugby<br />

Academy<br />

Year<br />

One:<br />

Rob Russell (8) #1302<br />

DOB 13 January 1999<br />

FROM Dublin<br />

HEIGHT 1.83m (6’ 0”)<br />

WEIGHT 91kg (14st 5lbs)<br />

POSITION Back Three<br />

SCHOOL St Michael’s College<br />

CLUB DUFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (5 caps)<br />

Ben Brownlee<br />

DOB 28 September 2002<br />

FROM Dublin<br />

HEIGHT 1.87m (6’ 2”)<br />

WEIGHT 100kg (15st 11lbs)<br />

POSITION Centre<br />

SCHOOL Blackrock College<br />

CLUB UCD RFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (3 caps)<br />

James Culhane<br />

DOB 22 October 2002<br />

FROM Enniskerry, Co Wicklow<br />

HEIGHT 1.94m (6’ 4”)<br />

WEIGHT 110kg (17st 5lbs)<br />

POSITION Back Row<br />

SCHOOL Blackrock College<br />

CLUB UCD RFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (5 caps)<br />

Aitzol Arenzana-King<br />

DOB 15 June 2002<br />

FROM Gormanston, Co Meath<br />

HEIGHT 1.91m (6’ 3”)<br />

WEIGHT 97.5kg (15st 5lbs)<br />

POSITION Back Three<br />

SCHOOL Gormanston College/CUS<br />

CLUB Clontarf FC/Balbriggan RFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (8 caps)<br />

Diarmuid Mangan<br />

DOB 6 March 2003<br />

FROM Kildare<br />

HEIGHT 1.93 m (6’ 4”)<br />

WEIGHT 106kg (16st 10lbs)<br />

POSITION Back Row<br />

SCHOOL Newbridge College<br />

CLUB UCD RFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (6 caps)<br />

Rory McGuire<br />

DOB 26 August 2002<br />

FROM Dublin<br />

HEIGHT 1.93m (6’ 4”)<br />

WEIGHT 118kg (18st 8lbs)<br />

POSITION Tightead prop<br />

SCHOOL Blackrock College<br />

CLUB UCD RFC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (5 caps)<br />

Sam Prendergast<br />

DOB 12 February 2003<br />

FROM Kildare<br />

HEIGHT 1.94m (6’ 4”)<br />

WEIGHT 91kg (14st 5lbs)<br />

POSITION Out-half<br />

SCHOOL Newbridge College<br />

CLUB Lansdowne FC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (4 caps)<br />

Charlie Tector<br />

DOB 28 March 2002<br />

FROM Wexford<br />

HEIGHT 1.89 m (6’ 2”)<br />

WEIGHT 94kg (14st 11lbs)<br />

POSITION Out-half<br />

SCHOOL Kilkenny College<br />

CLUB Lansdowne FC<br />

HONOURS Ireland U-20 (5 caps)<br />

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94 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


IRELAND ‘A’ IRELAND<br />

ELAND ‘A’ IRELAND ‘A’<br />

IRELAND ‘A’ IRELAND<br />

ELAND ‘A’ IRELAND ‘A’<br />

IRELAND ‘A’ IRELAND<br />

I R E L A N D ‘ A ’<br />

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fixtures and<br />

results 2022/23<br />

Date<br />

17/09<br />

23/09<br />

30/09<br />

08/10<br />

14/10<br />

KO/<br />

Result<br />

Opposiotion Venue 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 1 2<br />

W<br />

29-33 URC ZEBRE Stadio Sergio<br />

Lanfranchi<br />

O’REILLY RUSSELL OSBORNE NGATAI<br />

KEARNEY<br />

1T<br />

R. BYRNE<br />

C4<br />

W<br />

42-10 URC BENETTON RDS Arena O’BRIEN LARMOUR RINGROSE HENSHAW KEARNEY FRAWLEY<br />

3C<br />

W<br />

13-20 URC ULSTER Kingspan<br />

Stadium<br />

W<br />

54-34<br />

URC<br />

CELL C<br />

SHARKS<br />

O’BRIEN LARMOUR RINGROSE HENSHAW KEARNEY<br />

RDS Arena O’BRIEN LARMOUR<br />

HENSHAW<br />

1T<br />

NGATAI<br />

RUSSELL<br />

1T<br />

R. BYRNE<br />

2C 2P<br />

SEXTON<br />

1T, 7C<br />

W<br />

0-10 URC CONNACHT Sportsground O’BRIEN TURNER RINGROSE NGATAI RUSSELL R. BYRNE<br />

1C<br />

22/10 17:15 URC MUNSTER<br />

28/10 19:35 URC SCARLETS<br />

Aviva<br />

Stadium<br />

Parc y<br />

Scarlets<br />

26/11 15:15 URC GLASGOW RDS Arena<br />

MCGRATH<br />

1T<br />

MCGRATH<br />

1T<br />

MCGRATH<br />

MCGRATH<br />

FOLEY<br />

1T<br />

E BYRNE<br />

PORTER<br />

PORTER<br />

PORTER<br />

1T<br />

KELLEHER<br />

SHEEHAN<br />

4T<br />

SHEEHAN<br />

1T<br />

SHEEHAN<br />

E. BYRNE SHEEHAN<br />

03/12 19:35 URC ULSTER RDS Arena<br />

10/12 14:00 HCC RACING 92<br />

Stade<br />

Océane<br />

16/12 20:00 HCC GLOUCESTER RDS Arena<br />

26/12 19:35 URC MUNSTER<br />

Thomond<br />

Park<br />

01/01 19:35 URC CONNACHT RDS Arena<br />

07/01 19:35 URC OSPREYS<br />

Swansea.<br />

com Stadium<br />

14/01 13:00 HCC GLOUCESTER Kingsholm<br />

21/01 15:15 HCC RACING 92<br />

28/01 17:00 URC CARDIFF<br />

RUGBY<br />

18/02 19:35 URC DRAGONS<br />

RFC<br />

04/03 17:05 URC EDINBURGH<br />

24/03 19:35 URC DHL<br />

STORMERS<br />

15/04 14:00 URC EMIRATES<br />

LIONS<br />

22/04 16:05 URC VODACOM<br />

BULLS<br />

Aviva<br />

Stadium<br />

RDS Arena<br />

RDS Arena<br />

DAM Health<br />

Stadium<br />

RDS Arena<br />

Emirates<br />

Airline Park<br />

Loftus<br />

Versfeld<br />

96 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


3 4 5 6 7 8 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23<br />

ALAALATOA<br />

MOLONY<br />

JENKINS<br />

1T<br />

RUDDOCK<br />

T2<br />

ALAALATOA MOLONY JENKINS BAIRD<br />

ALAALATOA MOLONY JENKINS<br />

ALAALATOA<br />

MOLONY<br />

JENKINS<br />

2T<br />

BAIRD<br />

1T<br />

PENNY DEEGAN MCKEE MILNE ABDALADZE DEENY SOROKA MCCARTHY FRAWLEY CONNORS<br />

VAN DER FLIER<br />

1T<br />

DORIS KELLEHER E. BYRNE HEALY MCCARTHY CONNORS FOLEY<br />

R. BYRNE<br />

3C<br />

NGATAI<br />

VAN DER FLIER CONAN MCKEE E. BYRNE ABDALADZE RYAN CONNORS MCCARTHY SEXTON NGATAI<br />

BAIRD CONNORS RUDDOCK<br />

MCKEE<br />

1T<br />

HEALY ABDALADZE RYAN MOLONEY FOLEY BYRNE<br />

FURLONG MOLONY RYAN DORIS VAN DER FLIER CONAN MCKEE PORTER ALAALATOA MCCARTHY MOLONEY MCCARTHY<br />

FRAWLEY<br />

1P<br />

RINGROSE<br />

2T<br />

HENSHAW<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 97


*Restrictions apply.<br />

*


www.leinsterrugby.ie | 99

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