There was huge excitement in Dundalk and surrounding areas last week when the much anticipated Leinster Treble Trophy Tour, sponsored by Bank of Ireland rolled in to the town…

Dundalk CCRO Gerry O’ Hara had many requests from both primary and secondary schools in the area asking for the tour to visit their schools so a schedule was decided in advance in an effort to accommodate the huge number of requests.

First stop was De La Salle College in Dundalk where over 320 pupils from 1st and 2nd Year had taken part in the rugby programme culminating in two superb blitzes. The gym hall was packed when Darragh McGinley from Leinster Rugby arrived with the trophies. Having explained what each trophy represented Darragh then held a question and answers session followed by group photographs with the trophies. 

The questions ranged from diet related to training to “who is the best Leinster player?” but the enthusiasm shown by all made it clear as to the impact that both rugby as a game and Leinster Rugby are having in the Dundalk area. This is hardly surprising given that the ‘Wee County’ has contributed in no small way to Leinster and indeed Irish rugby. 

Currently Louth is represented by the Kearney Brothers Rob and Dave from the beautiful Cooley Peninsula, Devin Toner’s father was also born and reared here in Carlingford while Jordi Murphy’s grandfather the great athlete Noel Carroll hailed from Annagassan, added to this is the fact that Donnacha Ryan’s mother hailed from Pearse Park right in the middle of Dundalk town.

From De La Salle College the tour headed for St. Mary’s College Dundalk where it was difficult to see who were the more excited at getting their hands on the trophies, the pupils or the teachers, with ace photographer and teacher Mr. Gerry Lyons capturing some lovely photos.  Onwards from here to O’ Fiach College in Dundalk before heading to St. Joseph’s N.S., followed by Blackrock N.S. and finishing the day in Dromiskin N.S.

The next day started in Patrician High School in Carrickmacross, a school that only this year had its first introduction to the rugby programme but boy how they adapted to it. Both 1st and 2nd years committed to the programme and showed wonderful skill and aptitude throughout. Again the questions were wide and varied even getting to “who has the best looking girlfriend in the Leinster squad?” 

From here the tour proceeded to Knockbridge N.S where a crowded hall had assembled to get their hands on the trophies, before heading to Monksland N.S. on the Cooley peninsula, the school where it all started for the Kearney’s. This truly is one of the most scenic areas in Ireland and is easy to detect how one might be inspired to do many things. 

Luckily for us the Kearney’s were inspired by a love of rugby which had been nurtured in their youth.  This school is very proud of the success that both of their former pupils have achieved to date and will no doubt achieve in the future.  From here the tour proceed in to Carlingford N.S. before finishing up back in Dundalk at the Friary Boys and Girls N.S. to complete what was indeed a hectic schedule

This was a memorable tour and the pupils really were very aware of all the famous names in World rugby who had previously had their hands on these trophies. A huge thank you has to go out to all the Principals, teachers and all involved in the schools that we visited but most importantly of all of course to the wonderful pupils who have committed themselves so enthusiastically to the rugby programmes in their schools.