Naas Rugby Club held their 18th Annual Business Lunch in Killashee House Hotel with pre-lunch reception followed by four course meal and speaker entertainment…
The event proved a great success, as in previous years, and was very well attended by in excess of 200 guests including club members, officials and friends. Master of ceremonies for the day was former Ireland International, Michael Quinn and guest speakers included Leinster Rugby Head Coach, Matt O’Connor and Ireland and British & Irish Lions ‘Bagman’, Patrick ‘Rala’ O’Reilly who has just launched his captivating book, Rala – A Life in Rugby.
Among the many other distinguished guests attending the luncheon were Naas Mayor, Emer McDaid, IRFU President, Pat Fitzgerald, Leinster Rugby President, Paul Deering and former Ireland Internationals, Ray McLoughlin and Mick Galwey. Special thanks to Dooley Insurance Group for their generous event sponsorship and to the Naas RFC organising committee comprising Gerry McGrath, Pauline Sloane, Ross Murphy and Greg Brady. Naas RFC are most grateful to all who attended and supported this successful fundraising event and look forward to your continuing support in the future.
During the event Naas RFC gave a special award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Youth Rugby’ which was presented by Leinster Rugby Head Coach, Matt O’Connor to Michael Russell. Michael has been a Naas RFC player since 2006 where he has progressed through the Club’s youth rugby section and he currently plays for the Naas RFC u19s team, coached by Henry Bryce and Ken McCormack and managed by Robert Brickell.
Michael is currently in his final year of secondary school at Naas CBS where he is competing in their senior schools rugby programme which is managed by Joe Kelly. Michael was selected for the Leinster Youths Squad during both the current and past seasons and has six inter-provincial Youth caps and two inter-provincial titles with Leinster. He has recently been called up to the Ireland U18 training camp which commences shortly in Belfast.
Matt O’Connor is the Leinster Rugby Head Coach and a former Australian international. He was awarded a cap for the Wallabies versus Ireland on 5 June 1994. Matt played for Paris Saint-Germain in 1997 and joined Leicester in 2008 as backs coach, replacing another former Australian centre Pat Howard, and helped guide Leicester to back to back Championships titles until 2013 when he signed for Leinster. He spent 3 years in Japan, along with his wife and 3 children, playing for and then coaching Kubota. He then returned to Canberra to coach CA Brumbies until 2007. He coached Leicester Tigers from 2010 until 2013.
Patrick ‘Rala’ O’Reilly has been ‘Bagman’ to the Irish Senior Rugby Squad for nineteen years during which time he has toured every major rugby playing nation, including three world cups. In 2009 Rala was appointed ‘Bagman’ for the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa and again in 2013 for their tour to Australia. His favourite place is Inis Boffin. He has been a member of Terenure College RFC since 1967 and is currently their Junior Vice-President.
Michael Quinn was educated at Newbridge College where he won a Leinster Senior schools medal in 1970 beating a much fancied Blackrock College. He joined Lansdowne the following season with 3 other members of that Newbridge team John Keirn, Jim O’Meara and Jim Kennedy, who in their first season played on the cup winning 3rd XV. He soon graduated to the firsts where his safe hands and huge kick out of hand or with the placed ball soon caught the attention of the Leinster and national selectors, leading to his first cap in 1973 when Ireland beat France at Lansdowne Road 6-4. He went on to gain 10 caps in all, his last against South Africa in Durban in 1981 which was narrowly lost and where he was opposed by a famous South African number 10, Naas Botha. He played 50 times for Leinster and also for the Barbarians and Wolfhounds and was on a World XV who played in South Africa against the Springboks in 1977. He won 4 Leinster senior cup medals and 3 Leinster senior league medals and on his retirement from senior football he continued to play at junior level for many years and won Leinster medals at 2nd, 3rd A and 3rd B level. He has continued to work for Lansdowne in various areas such as coaching and is currently manager of the 1st XV. He captained the club in 1981/82. He is presently Chief Executive of the IRFU Charitable Trust, formed to assist severely injured rugby players in their everyday lives, and help to restore their confidence and independence. He is also the current President of Lansdowne RFC.