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Rugby Shorts: February 21

Rugby Shorts: February 21

…Ireland Under-21 Tickets Available…Miller, Contepomi and Harrison Confirmed For Barbarians…Former Shannon Secretary’s Tsunami Efforts…Steenson Signs For Rotherham…Irish Colleges Squad…

…Ireland Under-21 fly half Jonathan Sexton flings a pass out against Italy U-21…

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…Ireland Under-21 Tickets Available…Miller, Contepomi and Harrison Confirmed For Barbarians…Former Shannon Secretary’s Tsunami Efforts…Steenson Signs For Rotherham…Irish Colleges Squad…

IRELAND UNDER-21 TICKETS AVAILABLE: Tickets are still available for Friday night’s ‘ESB International’ Under-21 6 Nations clash between Ireland U-21 and last year’s champions Wales U-21 at Dubarry Park (kick-off 7.35pm). The host Athlone club are hoping for another huge turnout, having hosted the Irish side’s opening win over Italy U-21.

Tickets are on sale at the rugby club (Bounty) where Geraldine can be contacted during office hours at 086-1732711, at Musicworld, Golden Island (Tel: 090-6474372) and Keenan Sports. Tickets will also be on sale at the ticket box on the evening of the match. But, if you want to be sure of Stand tickets in particular, early purchase is strongly advised. Ticket prices are again as follows: Stand 15; Ground/terrace 10; Children 5; Family 25. Discounts of 20% apply to clubs/firms/groups purchasing 20 tickets or more. Discount vouchers for childrens tickets are being distributed to schools in the region.

The Pipe Band of the 6th Infantry Battalion will provide pre-match musical entertainment and the 2FM Roadcaster will broadcast live from Dubarry Park from 4.00pm when presenter Ruth Scott will have loads of giveaways. The match is also being covered live by RTE and BBC Wales.

MILLER, CONTEPOMI AND HARRISON CONFIRMED FOR BARBARIANS: Leicester Tigers have confirmed some of the members of the star-studded Barbarians side that they face at Welford Road on St Patrick’s Day (kick-off 7.45pm).

Of Irish interest, Leinster, Ireland and Lions back row Eric Miller, who had a memorable stint with Leicester and recently announced his international retirement, Leinster and Argentina fly half Felipe Contepomi and Ulster and Australia lock Justin Harrison will line out for the Baa Baas. Many more top names are to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Leicester coach Pat Howard, who has played for and against the Barbarians, told the club’s website: “I’m a rugby historian. I love the history of the game and I believe it’s important we hang on to the game’s traditions. The Barbarians have been around for a long time and it’s a great concept. I’ve played a fair amount of games for them and I’m very proud to have been a part of it. Long may the Barbarians continue.

FORMER SHANNON SECRETARY’S TSUNAMI EFFORTS: One man who is unstinting in his support for those affected by the Asian Tsunami is Frank McNamara, the much-loved former secretary of Shannon RFC.

Frank, with the aid of his wife, Siobhan, staff at his company Eastway Logistics and the generosity of local peopl, has selflessly been helping to rebuild the Tsunami victims’ lives

His idea was simple, but highly effective. His aim was to send one 40-foot container to Sri Lanka filled with basic hygienic and humanitarian necessities which would be distributed amongst some of the worst hit areas. Such was the reaction to the appeal that Eastway Logistics sent four containers to Sri Lanka and the positive impact of the generosity was immediate. Along with the practical donations, monetary contributions were also made, and the fruits of the appeal continued last week with the opening of a “Pre School” in Kataragama in the south east of Sri Lanka which was funded by the cash donations. Shannon RFC is proud that their cash contribution helped in the building of this school, but more importantly, the club is proud of Frank Mc Namara’s selfless efforts. Frank handed over the reigns at the end of last season after seven dedicated and committed years in the arduous and often thankless job of club secretary. The website link below will direct you to a more thorough and detailed description of the efforts and result of Frank’s Tsunami appeal. http://www.eastway.ie/tsunami/

STEENSON SIGNS FOR ROTHERHAM: Former Ireland Under-21 fly half and captain Gareth Steenson will play his rugby in England next season.

Steenson, who currently plays for Dungannon in AIB League Division One, has been tempted across the water by former Belfast Harlequins coach Andre Bester. The 21-year-old has agreed to join the Rotherham Earth Titans (Bester is the club’s head coach). Steenson, who famously spearheaded Ireland’s run to the 2004 Under-21 World Cup final in Scotland as the tournament’s top points scorer, is to link up with the Titans for pre-season training in June.

Bester said: “Gareth is a Premiership player in the making and I regard his signing as a personal triumph because I have been trying to get my hands on him for four years. He beat my Belfast Harlequins team single handedly last season and I have no doubt that he is the right player for us.

“He has a track record at the highest level of playing well under pressure and he is more than just a brilliant kicker and a point machine. I believe he is under-rated as an attacking player.”

IRISH COLLEGES SQUAD: The Irish Colleges team is to play a Welsh Colleges selection at Old Belvedere’s Anglesea Road ground next Saturday (February 25) (kick-off 2.00pm). It is the Irish Colleges Rugby Union’s first international of the season.

The Irish Colleges are also due to play their Scottish counterparts in Edinburgh on Friday, March 10. The Management team includes: Don Spicer (Team Manager), Shay McGuinness (Head Forwards Coach), Chris Galway (Assistant Forwards Coach), Donnacha McNamara & Eoin Hogan (Backs Coaches), Paul O’Halloran (Physio), Shane Martens (Equipment Manager), Donal Duggan (Liaison Officer/Media Advisor).

The Irish Colleges squad selected for the Welsh match is as follows:

Forwards: Colm Murphy (Dublin Institute of Technology, Blackrock), Gareth Fitzgerald (National College of Ireland, Blackrock), Sam Duffy (North West Institute Derry, City of Derry), David Sheehan (Limerick Institute of Technology, Young Munster), Batt Duggan (Cork Institute of Technology, UCC), Michael O’Hea (Limerick Institute of Technology, Garryowen) Philip O’Connor (Limerick Institute of Technology, Old Crescent), Francis Broderick (University of Limerick, Garryowen), Mathew Irvine (University of Ulster Jordanstown, Banbridge) Brian Moroney (IT Tallaght, Terenure), David Quinlan (University of Limerick, Buccaneers), Stephen Corr (University of Ulster Magee, City of Derry).

Backs: Alex Ryan (Cork College of Commerce, Cork Constitution), Ben Clements (University of Ulster Jordanstown, Ballymena), Colin Mahony (Cork Institute of Technology, Highfield), Jeff Hitchmough (Cork Institute of Technology, Midleton), Francis Cooney (Dublin Institute of Technology, De La Salle Palmerston), Michael McKeever (University of Ulster Jordanstown, Belfast Harlequins) (captain), Stephen Carey (Limerick Institute of Technology, Young Munster), Eric Moloney (Cork Institute of Technology, UCC), Pat O’Connor (Limerick Institute of Technology, Shannon), Darragh Hughes (Garda College, Garda RFC).

*With thanks to Shannon PRO Andrew McNamara