Greystones were delighted to welcome the Grand Slam and Triple Crown trophies to Greystones RFC on Saturday, March 28th..

Ireland Team Manager Paul McNaughton accompianed by backs coach Alan Gaffney, forwards coach Gert Smal and defensive coach Less Kiss as guests of the Preseident Peter Butler at a pre-match lunch against UCC.

The three coaches were welcomed by an enthusiastic audience when they entered with the trophies and as the assembled guests and members of Greystones sat down the President made reference to the fact that the top tale had a vacant seat and with masterful show of timing he announced to a surpised audience that the chair was for the man himself, Declan Kidney, who then entered the room to even more thunderous applause.

When the excitement died down and Declan was asked to speak he said that he was on his way down the country and had phoned Paul to see if he could drop in for a cup of tea, to which Paul replied that we might be able to do a little better with a lunch.

As is usual for Declan he was modest and praisworthy for his players and staff and would like to have stayed for a “real” match but had anoher appointment.

After the meal there was a question and answer session by the three coaches. Gert was asked about the future of Irish Rugby and how did the see us in the World Cup, he replied that on the back of this season and with the progress he has seen in Irish rugby, he would be delighted to be part of the team that would do the business.

Two other questions answered by Les were very illuminating. Question one was what did they feel, the coaches, as Stephen Jones stepped up to the final penalty, he said that all three of them and Paul were standing up when Declan, as calm as could be, told them to quietly sit down.

The second question, again taken by Les, was what had gone through the minds of the players as they watched Jones run up, he said that they stood tall and almost dared him to kick it and willed him to miss. One final question came from Ken Ging, former Leinster Manager and Greystones stalwart, which he addressed to Paul McNaughton; “Paul”, he said with a grin, “was this Grand Slam as good as the one you were involved with in ’48?”

After the game the trophies were once again put on display with the three coaches posing for photographs for a mass of children, and adults, if fact they stood for two hours paitently posing for photos and were delighted at how many people showed up.

Not forgetting that the main reason for the lunch was for UCC, their President Nollaig Parfrey was fulsome in his praise for the pullng power of Greystones RFC in being able to have the trophies and coaches in the club. He also wished, that as UCC were at the top of the table, that they would be grateful if we “allowed” (we were very generous and even allowed them to get a bonus point) them to remain and would “oblige” us at some future date!