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County Carlow Rugby Club would like to send a huge thank you to anyone who helped or contributed in any way towards the running of our Gala Evening ‘An Insight into Leadership in Irish Rugby’.

In its 143 years of existence Carlow Rugby Club probably never hosted such a star studded event as its Gala Dinner held last weekend in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel.

Billed as “An insight into Leadership in Irish Rugby” the €100 a head fundraiser attracted a sell out attendance of 360 head who listened to and mingled with the elite of Irish rugby and Carlow entrepreneurs.

The scene was set by an inspirational talk from Netwatch co-founder and chief executive David Walsh who said that he always wanted to work with positive passionate people and that he was incredibly proud of his company’s association with County Carlow Rugby Football Club.

This was followed by an evening of wisdom and wit orchestrated brilliantly by interviewer Brendan Hennessey. His guests included Irish Rugby Manager and Coach Joe Schmidt, current Internationals Mike Ross and Sean O Brien, past international and Netwatch employee Mick Galwey, Irish Women players Jenny Murphy and Fiona Coughlan along with up and coming Carlow born Leinster players Tom Daly and the Byrne twins Ed and Bryan. Tom Daly a native of Ardriston and near neighbour of Sean O Brien has been appointed Captain of Ireland’s Rugby Sevens squad.

Joe Schmidt explained how he began his school teacher career in New Zealand as a basket ball coach. But then he was “bullied” into coaching the school senior rugby cup side.

This proved an inspired choice and after a number of cup wins with the school he became a professional coach with Bay of Plenty province in NZ where they won the Ranfury Shield for the 1st time in 105 years.  Then Joe moved to Clermont in France for three years and then onto Leinster and Ireland.

A major part of Joe Schmidt’s coaching time goes to a forensic analysis of the opposition and he is currently running his ruler over the South African players in anticipation of Ireland’s visit there later this Summer.

There was a palpable buzz in the room for the entire Gala evening which ended with dinner attendees and celebrity guests on their feet for a lusty rendition of the Irish rugby anthem Ireland’s Call.

Carlow’s current and incoming Club Presidents Pat Slater and Justin Hannon were fulsome in their praise of the Gala organising committee who did a most competent job.


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