10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The agency is close to Diarmuid's heart as he and his wife Irene adopted their daughter Freya from Cunamh in 2001. Last year, Diarmuid managed to raise close to EUR3,500 - this year hopefully it will be more and you can help.
Anyone wishing to sponsor Diarmuid can do so by forecasting his finishing time for a sponsorship fee of EUR10 (last year = 3 hours, 29.10 minutes; 2005 target = "somewhere around the magical three hours!"). You can send your predictions to Diarmuid at email@example.com or fill out a card at the DLSP clubhouse tomorrow (Saturday).
Or you can send a cheque, if you wish, to Diarmuid Coogan, "Shelmalier", Slate Cabin Lane, Dublin 18. Cheques should be made payable to "Friends of Cunamh".
DID YOU KNOW?: That eight Irish players earned game time for foreign-based teams in last weekend's opening round of the Heineken Cup.
Geordan Murphy, Leo Cullen and Shane Jennings all helped Leicester Tigers get their Pool Three campaign off to a winning start with a 57-23 defeat of ASM Clermont Auvergne. Full-back Murphy scored a try.
Ex-Leinster flanker Aiden McCullen, who came off the bench for three-times champions Toulouse, and Llanelli captain Simon Easterby, whose Saturday at the Stade Ernest Wallon ended after only eight minutes, played in the French giants' 50-28 win. Trevor Brennan sat on the Toulouse bench, resting a calf injury.
Former Connacht prop Peter Bracken threw his considerable weight around in Wasps' 32-31 loss in Edinburgh, earning himself a 52nd-minute yellow card to boot. Ireland flanker Johnny O'Connor did score a try for the Londoners, who had former Munster pair Eoin Reddan and Jeremy Staunton as unused replacements.
Ireland hooker Shane Byrne came off the bench after 52 minutes of Saracens' confidence-building 22-10 Pool Four victory over Biarritz Olympique.
YELLOW IS THE COLOUR: Irish players led the way with five yellow cards on the opening weekend of Heineken Cup rugby.
The aforementioned Bracken, Leinster hooker David Blaney, Ulster prop Justin Fitzpatrick, Munster hooker Frankie Sheahan and Ulster number eight Roger Wilson all earned trips to the sin-bin in round one.
BAYS BLUES FOR DINEEN: Former UL Bohemians lock Brian Dineen's hopes of a second straight Air New Zealand NPC Division Two winners' medal were quashed last Saturday as Hawke's Bay came from behind to beat Dineen's club Nelson Bays 32-17 in the final in Napier.
Two first half tries from All Black flyer Rico Gear, who was playing in the centre for Nelson having joined the club from North Harbour recently, helped the reigning champions to a 17-8 half-time lead, but that was overhauled in the second half.
The 27-year-old Dineen, who stands at 6ft 5in, was an AIB League regular for Bohs before opting to ply his trade in New Zealand. A fractured shoulder cut short his 2003 season, but Dineen made his NPC debut last year against Wanganui.
Improvements have been made at Dineen's old club recently - UL Bohs have installed new floodlights at their Annacotty training grounds.
HIGH TIMES FOR HIGHFIELD: One of Cork's finest rugby clubs, Highfield RFC, is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year with the help of club President Martin McNally and captain Neil O'Donovan.
Tomorrow (Saturday) will witness the beginning of this season's festivities at Woodleigh Park with the launch of the official club history book. A two-hundred page tome, the history gives an insight into this volunteer-driven club based in the western suburbs of Cork city.
Articles are contained inside from well-known rugby personalities such as Tom Kiernan, Moss Keane, David McHugh, RTE radio commentator Michael Corcoran and legendary journalist Ned Van Esbeck.
The launch takes place in the club hall at Highfield tomorrow at 12 noon with the guest of honour being the Lord Mayoress of Cork, Cllr. Deirdre Clune.
ALL BLACKS COMING TO LETTERKENNY: Graham Henry's New Zealand squad will visit the birthplace of Dave Gallaher next month as part of centenary celebrations for the All Blacks' Originals tour.
Players and New Zealand Rugby Union officials will travel to the village of Ramelton in county Donegal where the Originals' captain Gallaher was born.
"Dave Gallaher is a great among greats," said current All Blacks captain Tana Umaga. "He was instrumental in building the All Blacks tradition. We're pleased for the chance to pay our respects."
During the November 9 visit, the team will officially name the local rugby facility, Dave Gallaher Memorial Park. The Park is home to Letterkenny RFC and All Blacks players will join the club's age-grade players in a skills session during the opening.
The team will also help unveil a plaque at Gallaher's birthplace, a former drapery shop run by Gallaher's father before the family emigrated to New Zealand in 1878 when Dave was five-years-old.
Gallaher first played for New Zealand against Australia in 1903, but is best remembered as captain of the 1905/06 tourists - the team was the first to be called 'the All Blacks'.
Gallaher died during World War One and while several All Blacks teams have visited his grave in Belgium, the visit to his birthplace in county Donegal is thought to be a first.