Eugene O’Callaghan R.I.P.

We note with sadness the passing of Eugene O’Callaghan, father of 80’s club stalward Pat, (Front rower).

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The death has occurred of Eugene O’Callaghan
Boreenmanna Road, Cork

O’CALLAGHAN (Boreenmanna Road, Cork): On May 23rd, 2021, peacefully ,surrounded by his loving family in the tender care of the staff at St. Bernadette’s Ward at the Bon Secours Hospital, EUGENE (Hughie) (late of I.T.G.W.U.), dearly loved husband of Marie (née Carroll) and loving father of Pat, Donal, Gerard, Alison (Scannell) and Fiona (Power) and dear brother of Pat, Christy, Marjorie and the late Noreen and Mattie.   Sadly missed by his loving wife, family, daughters-in-law Catherine, Liz and Christina, sons-in-law Michael and Marc, devoted Pop to Owen, Ken, Roy, Cian, Gavin, Clodagh, Harry, Conor, Rory and Leah, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.   Eugene’s Requiem Mass will be live streamed on at 2.00pm on Tuesday 25th, May 2021.   A private family funeral will take place, in accordance with current guidelines. We thank you for your co-operation and understanding at this difficult time. Please leave your personal message for Eugene’s family in the condolences section below or through Family flowers only, please. Donations, in lieu, to Cúnamh at Bon Secours Hospital. “May he rest in peace”

4x4x48 hour Challenge for AADI

4 lads, 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours

Our very own Cian Smith, Lazlo Rabatin, Chris Harnett and Craig O’Connell are taking on this challenge to test not only themselves but in the hopes of raising some much needed funds for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland.

Ahead of Austism awareness day myself and 3 of my mad buddies have decided we are going to compete the 4x4x48 David Goggins challenge. We want to raise money for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland. With this charity being a close one to Old Christians Rugby Club we are going to try our very best to raise as much as we can before we strike off on the weekend of the 9th

As we all are aware its tough times for all of us at the moment but it must be that extra bit stressful and tough on people suffering with autism and especially parents of autistic kids that are trying to keep them occupied or happy in the current world environment . I’ve seen these dogs work first hand , the calming effect and happiness these dogs give and bring to these children are absolutely incredible ! So we are going to try and do our bit

Any donation at all would be hugely appreciated

link in my bio .. we will be keeping ye updated through Facebook and Instagram on our journey .Thanks a million

taken from Craig O’Connell Facebook page

To donate to this very worth cause and to help the 4 lads achieve their goal of raising €1,000 before they start the challenge on the 9th April 2020. Click on the link. Below are a couple of articles about the difference these dogs make.—4-miles-every-4-hours-for-48-hours

click on the link to donate and don’t forget to share their page to social media

Online Ref Course

The Affiliate Referees Course is now online.

It is IRFU Policy that all matches from U13 upwards are refereed by:

• Branch Referees or
• IRFU Affiliate Referees

IRFU affiliate referees are defined as adult persons (Aged 18 to 59) who are qualified to referee matches involving a club or school to which they are affiliated, where no Branch referee has been appointed.

They usually referee age grade matches and provide an important function in servicing the game at this level in their club or school.

If you have any club members who may be interested in taking this course, please direct them to the link below:

The course costs €15, and the qualification is valid for two years from the date of completion.

IRFU Affiliate Referee Policy 

It is IRFU policy that all rugby matches played under the Laws of the Game (incl. U19 Variations) are  refereed by: 

• Members of the Branch Referee Associations/Society or 

• I.R.F.U. Affiliate Referees (appointed by their club / school). 


Over 18 years of age, and under the age of 60. 

• Hold a current affiliate referee qualification. 

• Appointed by a school or club, to which they are affiliated, to referee a match, or training session,  in which that school or club is participating, home or away. 

• Appointed by a school or club, to which they are affiliated, to referee at a ‘blitz’ or similar tournament  in which that school or club is participating. 

*Exception – Branch Development staff, who hold an affiliate referee qualification may, in the course of their duties, referee  matches outside of their own club or school. 


• Are a refereeing resource within their club/school only. Responsibility for their appointment rests  with their club/school. 

• Are not available for appointment to matches by the Branch Referee Associations / Society. • May also apply, if they wish, for full membership of their Provincial Referee Associations/Society. 


I.R.F.U Affiliate Referees qualify by: 

• Registering on the I.R.F.U e-learning platform, Gainline. 

• Completing the Laws of the Game and Concussion Management for General Public modules on the  World Rugby Passport portal. 

• Completing the I.R.F.U. Affiliate Referee course through Gainline.  

• Qualification is valid for 2 years from the date of course completion. 


• IRFU third party liability insurance. 

• Accreditation certificate with re–‐validation (expiry) season. 

• Registered on IRFU/Provincial database as an Affiliate Referee. 

• Regular updates from the I.R.F.U. on changes to the Laws of the Game. 


• Improve refereeing standards. 

• Address safety issues. 

• Formalise the status of these referees.


Affiliate Referees must: 

• Keep up to date on all Law Changes & Rulings (these are updated regularly on both and on World Rugby Website). 

• Ensure their re–‐accreditation once qualification expires. 

• Maintain appropriate fitness levels to allow them to safely officiate their assigned matches. 


The rationale for the following policy is to meet the essential duty of care owed to, and to endeavour to  ensure the health and safety of all participants, both match officials and players. 

It is the IRFU’s policy that referees do not officiate past their 60th birthday.

• This policy extends to Affiliate Referees. 

• It is recognized that there may be occasional exceptions where an affiliate referee demonstrates a  continued high level of fitness and ability levels. Therefore if a club/school is satisfied to appoint an affiliate referee to officiate after his/her 60th birthday, the affiliate referee must supply, to the  club/school, a medical certificate indicating medical fitness to referee. This would be an annual requirement. In no case, however, should an affiliate referee be appointed past his/her 65th birthday.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in sign up today.

Gary Halpin RIP

The Old Christians Committee, youth Co-Ordinators, Caoches and the wider club community would like to express our deepest condolences to the Halpin family and especially our head coach Ken on the passing of his close friend, team mate and rugby legend. They both played for Ireland, London Irish and remained friends throughout the years.

Gary passed away suddenly at the age of 55 and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. May he rest in peace.

Below is an interview of Gary from the London Irish website



It is with great sadness that London Irish has learned of the death of its former player Gary Halpin, who passed away suddenly on Tuesday 23 February.

” I remember the friendships more than the games and to be honest that is more important.”GARY HALPIN

Gary was ever present in the London Irish team from 1991 to 1998 and captained the team during the transition from Amateur to Professional status.

His affable manner on the pitch at Sunbury after games then in the top bar made him everyone’s friend. He was welcomed on a visit to Hazelwood in 2019 at the London Irish mini festival.

We extend our sincere sympathy to Gary’s wife Carol, their three children and his extend family.
We are pleased to republish an interview with Gary in 2006.

This interview was first published on the Sunbury Centre website in June 2006. That site has moved on and the authors, Paul Brennan and Martyn Warner, have kindly allowed London Irish Amateur RFC to host much of the material.

London Irish Amateur RFC acknowledges and credits Paul and Martyn for the interview.

Garrett Francis (Gary) Halpin

Clubs: Wanderers, London Irish, Blackrock College, Leinster, Barbarians, Ireland and Brighton.

Gary Halpin, ex London Irish Captain and legend. Everyone remembers or has heard about the announcement made during a match to move his car as it was blocking an ambulance entering Sunbury. Those who used to watch Irish in the Sunbury days will remember him wandering around in his club blazer, shirt and tie whilst wearing shorts. Others will remember him for scoring a try against the All Blacks during the 1995 World Cup. Our American cousins will know him for being a four times All-American intercollegiate hammer thrower. He also represented Ireland in the hammer throw at the 1987 World Athletics Championships in Rome.

When/where did you start to play rugby?
Kilkenny rugby club aged 5 and then in Rockwell College, Tipp aged 12.

Have you always played Prop?
No, but I’ve never been out of the front row….hooker.

When did join London Irish and how many games did you play?
I joined London Irish in 1991 and left in 1999 I could not be sure how many games I played but over a hundred.

How many points did you score in your London Irish days?
No idea.

What brought you to London Irish?
No job in Ireland, I was going nowhere and Rob Saunders approached me at an Ireland squad session and put me in contact with Hugh Carlin. Hugh did so much for me in helping me to make roots in London. I will never be able to thank him enough.

Who was/were the coach(es)?
George Hook, Hika Reid, Clive Woodward, Willie Anderson and Dick Best.

What was the training like?
I enjoyed training.

Who was your most difficult opponent?
Alan Sharpe of Bristol. We had many a good ding-dong.

What was Sunbury like in your time playing there?
Awesome. I really loved playing there. It was not just a rugby club; it was a home from home. A meeting place for Irish people in London.

What was your favourite away ground?
Orrell, the Lanc’s lads were very like us paddies, we had great craic after the match with characters like Sammy Southern, Dave Cleary and Dewi Morris.

Who do you consider was the best player you played with for London Irish?
Mata’afa Keenan, a second row of real quality. He was inspirational, huge big tackles and great on the ball.

Who were the characters at London Irish in your time playing?
Aidan Higgins stands out a larger-than-life chap, Ciaran Bird was another and of course Ken, the legend, O’Connell.

Do you still keep in contact with any of your old team mates?
I do with Ken and Gabriel Fulcher.

What was your most memorable game?
I think beating Quins 60-12 at Sunbury was a great day.

You were with the club at the start of professionalism, how did that affect you?
It was tough a first but we did learn quickly. The change from work to rugby did take time. We had to change; we were not fit enough at the start but that was to be expected. In the amateur days at London Irish it was all about fun but money changed everything.

Were you tempted to return to Ireland to play at that time?
Not really, although I did finish my career at Leinster. London Irish, as all clubs, became very different places with professionalism.

The professional London Irish team is no longer a team for Irish/Irish descent players, what are your feelings about this?
I do not have any negative feelings in this regard. London Irish unites Anglo Irish people and gives them a sense of pride. In that respect nothing has changed. London Irish has a long tradition of inviting multi-national players to play for the club.

Do you miss playing for London Irish?
Yes, I do. It was without doubt the best years of my life both in rugby and personal family terms. Carol. my wife, and I loved the club; our kids grew up there.

You played under a number of coaches at Irish, who was the hardest task master?
Dick Best stands alone in this regard. He inherited a mess and ultimately turned the club into one of the forces in the English game. Hika Reid was another hard nut.

Do you have a favourite story from your playing days?
Yes, when we were away to Leicester in the cup. It was about 1992/93. Aidan Higgins who was a very big chap at 147kgs was playing in the second row. His No. 5 shirt would not fit him so he wore the No. 21 sub props shirt. As we ran on to the field the Leicester announcer said “ladies and gentlemen today the London Irish second rower, A. Higgins, will wear the number 21 shirt as he cannot fit into the No. 5 shirt,” It seemed like all 12000 at Welford laughed at the same time.

You joined Harlequins after being released by Irish, how different was Quins to Irish?
I loved playing at Quins. They were very different to what I expected, very family orientated club. I was out of contract with London Irish and needed a change, all my mates had moved on and the club needed new blood.

What went through your head when you heard your car registration being read out over the tannoy during the cup game against Leicester, asking for it to be moved to allow the ambulance in?
The fact that I heard the number being called out tells me that I should have been concentrating a little better.

Did you go on any overseas tours with London Irish?
Yes, I went to Canada with the club in 1993. That was one hell of a trip.

How difficult was it for London Irish to put out a XV on Inter-provincial weekends?
It was difficult but we got by. The club suffered during that time. We lost contracted players on several weekends and it had a big influence on us nearly being relegated in 1996.

Did you ever play Inter-provincial rugby one day and for London Irish the next?

You played for Ireland on a number of occasions, how did it feel to pull on the shirt for the first time?
It was a dream come true.

What are your memories of playing for Ireland?
I don’t have many memories of playing as with only 11 caps, it is difficult to remember. I remember the friendships more than the games and to be honest that is more important.

What was it like to score a try against New Zealand, can you talk us through it?
Scoring the try was great; It was a planned move. The Kiwis expected Nick Popplewell to receive the pass as he was a big ball carrier at that time, I got the pass and trundled over.

Did playing for London Irish affect your International career?
Not really, I suppose it only affected me on close calls. With the exception of 6 caps when I lost out to another player, I felt the selectors got it right most of the time.

Did you go on any overseas tours with Ireland? If so to where?
89 USA and Canada, 91 Namibia, 92 New Zealand, 94 Australia, 95 World Cup South Africa, 96 New Zealand.

Who was your hardest international opponent and why?
Louis Armory the French prop, tough as nails.

What was your favourite away ground?
Ellis Park.

Did you win any other honours, inter-provincial/county/Barbarians etc.?

When did you stop playing rugby?
At Leinster in 2001.

How good was the Leinster side you played in at that time?
Leinster were very good at that time. I loved playing for Leinster.

RIP Natasha O Donoghue

It is with great sadness we hear of the passing of Natasha O Donoghue wife of Wayne and loving Mother of Matthew and Ben players with Old Christians youth and mini’s teams. We offer our sincere condolences to them and their families at this very difficult time. We have great memories of Natasha on the sidelines over the years supporting her teams. She will be greatly missed by all those who knew her.

Given the current restrictions that prevent us from showing our support to Wayne, Matthew, Ben and family in the ususal way, we are suggesting people light a candle on Sunday the 21st Feb at 8pm in memory of Natasha.

Leaba i measc na naomh gi raubg aici.

To leave a condolence to Natasha family click on the link to her RIP page.

Move with Munster

As you may be aware, Munster has commenced their #MoveWithMunster campaign recently with lunchtime live workouts, hosted by one of our CCRO’s, Dan O’ Sullivan. We have 2 sessions done and we are absolutely delighted with the reaction (over 16,000 views). Dan brings a very authentic style to his 20minute workouts and will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays on the MRSC Facebook page at 1.15pm.

To see the comments flow in from different participants naming their clubs and schools has been really pleasing. Dan does his best to give a shout-out to all who comment and where they are from, even those who have logged-on from Zurich, Tenerife and the US!

Also, this week we are promoting Fun movements for our mini players. Throughout this series we will have Munster senior men and women’s players demonstrate the movements, together with a home challenge from Rebecca O’ Reilly (CCRO S&C). Here are two sample videos with Jean Kleyn and Joey Carbery. We will be promoting 4 videos in total soon with more to come.

Jean Kleyn:

Joey Carbery:

Nigel Pim R.I.P.

Those of us of a certain vintage, will be saddened to note the passing of Nigel Pim.

Nigel would have propped with the club back in the end of the 80’s or early 90’s.

Nigel Pim.

Fenor, Waterford.

Thursday 14th of January 2021.

Peacefully in University Hospital Waterford. Sadly missed by his loving soul mate Jeni, his children Robert and Jordan, his Dad Alan and extended family.

May Nigel Rest in Peace

Donations in lieu of flowers would be appreciated to either Waterford Samaritans or the Irish Kidney Association. Thank you to the incredible staff at the hospital for all his care. Please stay home and stay safe.

A Celebration of Nigel’s life will take place at a later date.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Happy New Year

As you are all aware by now we are in level 5 again. The IRFU have issued new guidelines for the current lock down. No training at any age group only individual training. No gatherings indoor or outdoor. No Matches. To that end the club and club grounds are closed.

Now what we can do….

Starting this Thursday the 7th at 7 pm one of our very own u13’s fitness coach Alan Walsh will be hosting a zoom fitness class for all U13’s to U18.5’s groups so we can all keep fit together while apart. The class will last for 45 minutes and will be going ahead every Thursday for the month of January, when hopefully we can return to training in pods.

Also during January our head coach Ken O’Connell is going to host a weekly chat with the Youth rugby coaches and discuss all things youth rugby and formulate a plan for developing youth rugby going forward.

And not to forget our minis, their coaches are going to be holding a meeting on zoom tonight, Tuesday 5th, at 8 pm when they will review mini rugby at the club and what they want to achieve at mini level going forward.

All very positive behind the scenes activities going on while we are apart, all happening on line, all so when we can get back together we can hit the ground running.

Finally the Old Christians committee would like to wish each and everyone of you a peaceful and prosperous new year, hopefully we see head way in getting control over this terrible virus. Stay safe, Wash your hands and Wear your mask.

Happy Christmas 2020

Old Christians Chairman and Committee would like to wish all our wonderful volunteers, coaches, covid officers, parents and players a very Happy Christmas and a very very prosperous 2021.

As its been a very unusual year we are especially grateful for all our covid officers for keeping us safe and our covid safety officer Sabrina for keeping our covid officers trained.

We really appreciate our coaches for adhering to all the safety measures and keeping the club going during this very very difficult time.

To give our coaches and covid officers a well deserved break we will cease all club activities on the 19th December we will recommence training and hopefully matches not long after on the 4th Jan. Tfhere will be no St. Stephens day coaches v committee game this year it will be back in 2021.

We wish you all the best Christmas you can have under the circumstances and hope Santa brings lots to our amazing rhinos. Stay safe and we will see you back in the new year. Don’t forget to keep playing the club lotto it could be won by you.