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Rugby Shorts: March 2

Rugby Shorts: March 2

…TV Exposure For Irish Under-19s…George Emo Fund Match…Leinster Award For Gleeson…Galwegians Race Day…Terenure Secret Is Out…

…Nice boots Gav, shame about the performance! It wasn’t all-white on the night for young Master Henson, the perma-tanned, gelled-haired, multi-coloured boot wearing first half replacement for Stephen Jones (dead leg), on Sunday. The 2001 IRB Young Player of the Year said after Wales’ 31-5 defeat to Ireland: “I don’t deserve to be there (in the Wales squad to face Italy). I have no form, haven’t played any games and am nowhere near international level.

“Unless things change on Friday night, I don’t deserve to be involved again. I think I got in (against Ireland) on the reputation I built up last year. I am some way off that now, but I will keep on playing. I will never turn down places in squads and I will keep putting my boots on and getting out there.”…

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TV EXPOSURE FOR IRISH UNDER-19S: The Ireland Under-19 team will join their senior and Under-21 counterparts by having two of their IRB Under-19 World Championship matches televised live next month.

While RTE have offered excellent coverage of the senior and U-21 teams’ exploits in their respective 6 Nations campaigns (with the Club International between Ireland and Scotland to be also shown live on RTE TWO on Friday, March 10), Sky Sports have stepped in to secure exclusive live coverage rights for next month’s IRB Under-19 World Championship, which will take place in Dubai from April 4-21.

Sky are initially broadcasting three double headers live including Ireland’s opening two pool matches against England and France, so fans can take a much closer look at Charlie McAleese’s side and the future stars of Irish rugby. There will also be live coverage of the semi-finals, runners-up final and the overall tournament final on Sky.

The Irish Under-19s’ clashes with England and France will both take place at the Exiles Ground, while their final pool outing will see them take on Samoa at Sharjah on Thursday, April 13 (kick-off 7.00pm).

Sky’s live schedule for the pool stages includes:

Wednesday, April 5 – South Africa v France, 5.00pm; Ireland v England, 7.00pm (Irish time)

Sunday, April 9 Ireland v France, 5.00pm; Scotland v Wales, 7.00pm

Thursday, April 13 – New Zealand v Australia, 5.00pm; South Africa v England, 7.00pm

GEORGE EMO FUND MATCH: The ‘Golden Oldies’ match between the Limerick Leprechauns and Edenderry, arranged to raise funds for the George Emo Fund, takes places this coming Sunday (March 5) in Edenderry (kick-off 2.00pm).

George was a former Shannon player and has been very ill with MS for some time. He has been confined to a wheelchair, is practically paralysed from the waist down and needs constant care. For the many friends who had known and played rugby with George in his prime, it is very hard for us to imagine life for him now.

The Leprechauns are a team comprised from a number of Limerick clubs and include many ex-internationals, including Peter “The Claw” Clohessy, Brian Spillane, Gerry “Ginger” McLoughlin and Len Dineen.

Shannon PRO Andrew McNamara said: “Anyone wishing to play with the Leprechauns on Sunday, or indeed just travel in support are more than welcome. A coach will leave Flannery’s bar on Catherine Street at 10.30am on Sunday.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the George Emo Fund should note that an account at Bank of Ireland Edenderry has been opened in the name of Edenderry RFC. If you would like to make a payment, please note the following details – George Emo Fund, Account Number 24862203, Sort Code 90-17-22.

Meanwhile, RTE’s popular rugby magazine show, “Against The Head”, will be broadcast live from the Shannon RFC clubhouse next week. The programme starts at 7.30pm on RTE TWO on Monday (March 6).

…Keith Gleeson, pictured at Donnybrook today, with his Player of the Month award…

LEINSTER AWARD FOR GLEESON: Ireland flanker Keith Gleeson has scooped the Bank of Scotland (Ireland) Leinster Player of the Month award for January.

It is the second time the 29-year-old have won the award – last November marked his previous success.

Having received the award trophy, designed by Dublin silversmith Seamus Gill, Gleeson said: “I am absolutely delighted to have won this award for the second time this season. I’m really enjoying playing with Leinster and I have been pleased with my own form of late so this means a lot considering the stiff competition from a host of other players who could have won it.

“It means a lot that this award was voted for by the supporters themselves because the support that we received throughout January was incredible in both the Celtic League and the Heineken Cup and hopefully there will be more to cheer about in the coming weeks and months.”

GALWEGIANS RACE DAY: Punters out west are bracing themselves for Galwegians Rugby Club’s biggest fundraising event of the year – the fifth annual Galwegians Cheltenham Race Day.

The event, sponsored by Europa General, takes place on Thursday, March 16 at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Galway. Proceedings will commence at 12.00pm with a champagne reception, followed by a four-course luncheon, which will be accompanied by complimentary wine.

The afternoon’s racing will be beamed live from Cheltenham on five giant screens situated around the ballroom with Galway Bay FM’s George McDonagh operating as the celebrity tipster ‘extraordinaire’.

There will also be sweeps, a raffle and an auction, which will include former ‘Wegians, Connacht and Ireland legend Eric Elwood’s last pair of playing boots, and a framed glass case.

Tables of 10 are available at EUR1,200. Please contact Galwegians PRO Breda Scully at 0872031531 for further details.

TERENURE SECRET IS OUT: The secret to player-coach James Blaney’s recent spate of tries for AIB League Division Two leaders Terenure College is out. In an interview for the club website, his younger brother Dermot (29), a talented flanker who acts as the team captain, explained: “The golden rule is, if we are mauling a lineout close to the opposition line, nobody else is allowed touch the ball!”

James Blaney, the 31-year-old who played 14 Celtic League games for Munster between 2001 and 2005, has scored an incredible 12 tries from his hooker berth this season, including three in his last two league outings.

There seems to be no end to the Blaney brothers’ talents – the other brothers David, who turns 27 tomorrow, and the 24-year-old Brian, both hookers, are regular members of the Leinster squad this season.