The Under-9 team from Boyne Rugby Club in Louth, who were crowned the lucky winners of the O2 ‘Play Them Next’ competition, took to the pitch on Sunday to play alongside Ireland stars Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Jonathan Sexton at their local club in Drogheda.
O2’s ‘Play Them Next’ gave the Boyne RFC Under-9 team this once in a lifetime opportunity to play with their rugby heroes in their local community, in front of their family, friends and supporters.
To top this all off, the team were also treated to a ‘Skills Masterclass’ assisted by Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell and Jonathan Sexton followed by photos and signings with their three favourite Irish rugby players.
Over 3,000 rugby supporters from across Ireland registered for the competition in the hope of winning this incredible prize, and over 100,000 votes were submitted.
Speaking about the day beforehand, Boyne RFC President Reggie McHugh said: “It’s a great day for the Under-9 team. To say they’re delighted is an understatement. We’re also delighted and proud to have three Irish rugby players as guests in our club.
“O2 has created a great community day for all involved and no doubt it will be a day to remember.”
Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll commented: “We’re really looking forward to getting out and playing alongside the team in Boyne.
“It’s great to be involved at a local level and give a little back considering the amount our supporters give us. The response to this whole campaign has been amazing. From making the ad last summer in Clontarf, to getting out and playing today, it’s been a really enjoyable experience.”
O2’s ‘Play Them Next’ competition launched during the 2011 Rugby World Cup and called on rugby supporters to show how they were supporting the Ireland rugby team while they were in New Zealand and during the 2012 6 Nations tournament.
Entrants visited www.O2.ie/rugby to upload a photo showing why their local area should be the venue for the next game to be in with a chance to play Brian, Paul and Johnny. Friends and family were then encouraged to vote for them.
Voting ended on Sunday, March 25, 2012. Once all the votes were tallied, the four entrants who received the most public votes were named as the competition finalists. After much deliberation, the ultimate winner was then decided by Brian, Paul and Johnny.
As the number 1 brand in Ireland associated with rugby, O2’s ‘Play Them Next’ campaign has once again brought supporters closer to the Ireland rugby team.