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Mascot Race Kicks Off Heineken Cup Rivalry

Mascot Race Kicks Off Heineken Cup Rivalry

As London Irish prepare to face Leinster in the Heineken Cup this season, the two sides kicked off their rivalry with a difference in Dublin on Thursday.

Whilst the Leinster and London Irish players continue preparations for a pre-season match at Donnybrook on Friday, the mascots from both sides faced off in a sprint race at St. Stephen’s Green watched by more than 200 people.

Perhaps replicating what will happen on the pitch this season, there was little to separate Digger the Irish Wolfhound, London Irish’s mascot, and Leinster’s very popular ‘number 23’, Leo the Lion, as they finished even after two races.

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The sprint coincided with an announcement that the Exiles had agreed another year’s sponsorship deal with the Dublin based airline, CityJet.

In confirming the deal, London Irish Director John Conlan emphasised the importance of having a strong partnership with an Irish company.

“We realise we still have a big support base in Ireland and it is important that we maintain these links,” he said.

“This is particularly imperative as we look ahead to our Heineken Cup matches against Leinster. We are relishing the opportunity to play against the current champions.”

Geoff O’Byrne White, Chief Executive of CityJet, commented: “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with London Irish for another season.

“This has been a very successful relationship as we continue to expand our operations out of London City Airport and we wish the side well for the season and especially as they return to European action.”

After the announcement, several London Irish players, including their captain and former Leinster second row Bob Casey, stayed on at Elverys Stephen’s Green store to sign autographs for fans.

Several hundred supporters turned up to meet the players and sign their new season’s shirts.

You can purchase London Irish’s new home and away jersey through the IRFU’s own webshop, www.IrishRugbyShop.ie.

Click here for a direct link to the London Irish range.