Late last month,for the 29th consecutive year, over 55 mini players from De La Salle Palmerston Under-11’s and 12’s attended The London Irish 5 Nations Festival at Sunbury…

Since our inaugural visit to London Irish in 1983, over 1,500 players have proudly represented Salmo at Sunbury, some of whom have been lucky enough to see their rugby career develop to Senior International and British & Irish Lions success including Malcolm O’Kelly and Luke Fitzgerald.

Of the team to represent us at this year’s festival, most of them had joined the Salmo Mini’s at Under-6’s, where the legendary Dave Hicks, was the first to introduce them all to the oval game!

Since then, under the guidance of Head Coach Norman Byrne, who is assisted by Barry Murphy, John Feaney, Barry Kelly and Jim Fehan, the team has evolved into a very tight unit with a squad of over 40.

All the teams competed very well in their respective groups, in particular with their fellow Irish clubs with draws against Blackrock, UL Bohs and a hard fought win over Clontarf. With one of the Under-12’s teams reaching the Plate Semi-Final, where they were beaten by our friends from London Irish.

A special mention though for Under-12 player Ross Barron, who has been an integral part of this Salmo team since he joined the club at Under-6. Hugely popular with all his team mates and an excellent player himself, Ross got concussed in a game prior to the tour, which disappointingly ruled him out of playing in the tournament.

Ross insisted on travelling with his team mates and Head Coach Norman Byrne quickly moved to install him as the Tour Manager, with responsibility for team talks prior to all the games.

Thanks to Ross’ words of wisdom and inspiration, all the teams performed superbly and did their club proud.

A special thanks to Monica Byrne for all her hard work throughout the season for this tour. ‘Til next year our 30th Anniversary Tour to London Irish, some occasion for the lucky boys of Salmo!