Greg Thompson, who is a cousin of Ireland star Tommy Bowe, will be one of two Limerick players in action when the United Arab Emerates kickstart their Asian Five Nations campaign on Friday.
Greg Thompson is vice-captain of the UAE side and he is joined by former Bruff and Shannon star Garrett Noonan.
Back in 1938 Thompson’s grandfather, John, got a final Irish trial when aged only 21 in what was the last year in which internationals were played until 1946.
He also played with UCD and Lansdowne, Bohemians in Limerick and he ‘guested’ for Garryowen in a Munster Cup final against Dolphin.
Greg Thompson was a member of the Crescent College Schools Senior Cup team in 2000. Two years later, when with Galwegians, he played in the Under-21 interpros and came up against two of his cousins, Tommy Bowe (Ulster) and Eugene McGovern (Limerick).
He then moved to Dublin where he played for Wanderers and helped the club win promotion in 2007. Greg is married to Gillian Barry, a member of one of Limerick’s best known rugby families.
Noonan began his career with Bruff underage and won a Munster Schools Junior Cup with St. Munchin’s in 1998 before moving to Blackrock College.
He played for Munster and Leinster Schools and also the Ireland schools side. He won four All-Ireland League winners’ medals with Shannon, along with four Munster Senior Cup titles.
Thompson and Noonan currently form the second row partnership for Dubai Hurricanes and will be in the United Arab Emirates pack when they play Hong Kong in Friday’s Asian Five Nations opener.
Meanwhile, two other Limerick players continue to shine with Muscat in Oman where former Shannon player Ross O’Loughlin is club captain and a team-mate of Conor Quaid, who previously played for Young Munster.