Girvan Dempsey was on hand to make separate donations of ?1,500 each to two very special charities – Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin and the Irish Cancer Society – in Donnybrook on Tuesday…

The funds were raised at a gala dinner hosted by Dempsey’s club, Terenure College RFC, in Dublin in April to mark the Leinster and Ireland full back’s outstanding service to the game which over 300 guests attended.

Girvan Dempsey, who retired from the game in May after making 175 appearances for Leinster in a career spanning 14 years in which he won Celtic League, Magners League and Heineken Cup honours, explained:

“It was a huge honour to be acknowledged first and foremost by my peers and I am very grateful to Terenure College for staging the event. They put on an amazing show, which a lot of my provincial and international colleagues attended, and it made me feel incredibly humbled.

“The two charities are very close to my heart. My wife Anne-Marie and I had to visit Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin a few times when our son Peter was born and our family has had close links with the hospital for many years. Whenever our family members have been under the hospital’s care the staff have been incredible. When you meet some of the families there it hits home how fortunate you are. Through the IRFU and Leinster Rugby I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the hospital on a number of occasions over the years and you really get a sense of the great work that goes on and the care that the staff put in to help all those affected by illness.

“Every family in Ireland has been affected by cancer and the Irish Cancer Society are doing unbelievable work to try and help people to come to terms with the disease. A number of years ago my own father Matt was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and it really hit home then with our family. You think that cancer is something that other people go through and that it won’t affect you. I’ve seen at first hand the enormous support the Irish Cancer Society gave my family at that time and through Leinster’s own links with Action Breast Cancer over the last few years it was important for me to make this donation as a sign of our appreciation.”

Joe Quinsey, CEO of the Children’s Medical & Research Foundation, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, said: “As a Terenure man I’m particularly proud to be accepting this cheque which Girvan has kindly donated. There is no end to the uses of voluntary donations such as this and part of these funds will go towards the renovations of St. John’s Ward for cancer patients, while some of the money will also be directed into medical research into the disease.”

Jim O’Malley, Corporate Partnerships Manager with the Irish Cancer Society, added: “The Irish Cancer Society is thrilled with the ongoing support of Leinster Rugby and the recent event hosted by Terenure College RFC in honour of Girvan Dempsey. Their support will help us continue to offer free nursing services and support for all those affected by cancer across Ireland.”