Eight year old Jamie Kavanagh from Ballycullen recently won the once in a lifetime opportunity to lead out the Leinster team as a part of a competition run in conjunction with Centra, proud sponsors of the Leinster Rugby summer camps…

He is pictured alongside Ashling Landstone outside Centra, Old Bawn.

Jamie said: “I always thought I was lucky but when my Mom told me I won the competition to be the Leinster Mascot for the match against Clermont I knew it was true.

I thought being the mascot meant being Leo the Lion, but it was soooooooooo much better than that.

I had a photo shoot with the manager of Centra to launch the Leinster Summer Rugby Camps the next day. It was a bit embarrassing but in a good way….everyone was looking at me and wondering what I had won.

The picture was on the Leinster e-zine that night and my Mum and Dad got loads of e-mails from family and friends saying well done and congratulations.

I was a bit nervous on Friday, afraid I might mess up. We headed down to the RDS and arrived in loads of time. There were fans everywhere and everyone was very excited.

I bumped into two of my rugby coaches on the way to the pitch and they wished me loads of luck and said they would be shouting for me. They even said to leave my gear on in case anyone got injured and they needed a replacement!

I got changed into my new Leinster kit and was brought down the tunnel to where the teams come out. While I was there I saw Luke Fitzgerald in his jeans, so he wasn’t playing, and then I said hi to Michael Cheika.

The music started and I could hear the announcer say my name, the roars from the crowd were crazy. Then the French team came out onto the pitch.

I waited at the top of the tunnel with Adam the other mascot and then Leo Cullen appeared……. he is enormous…..he’s like a giant towards me. I think we were supposed to hold his hand but he was so tall he grabbed both of us by the scruff of the neck and brought us out. The noise was unbelievable…..fireworks, smoke and blue flags everywhere it was crazy but the most brilliant day in my life.

What made it even better was that we won!! Two tries for Jamie Heaslip….and Jamie Kavanagh as mascot………..it must be a lucky name!!

Thank you Leinster Rugby for a really great prize, I will never forget it.”

*To sign up for a Leinster Rugby Centra Summer Camp Click HERE