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Tour Diary – Missionvale And Reddan Retires

Tour Diary – Missionvale And Reddan Retires

It was a busy day on the Irish Rugby news front and a busy day in South Africa. It was a day to pay tribute to a ‘consummate pro’ and also another emotional reminder of how privileged we are.

On the news front it was great to see Max Deegan nominated for the World Rugby U-20 Player of the Tournament honour – get voting.

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Back home there was also a photocall with Lucy Mulhall and the other captains for the Women’s Sevens Olympic Repechage tournament in UCD this weekend:

Here in South Africa the hard work continues as we build to the climax of the Test series and after a tough training session, there was a chance for the players to get a recovery dip in the hotel pool before the team was announced for Saturday’s decider against the Springboks.

It was also confirmed that Eoin Reddan will retire from rugby after Saturday’s game in Port Elizabeth. Described as the ‘consummate professional’, the tributes came in thick and fast on Twitter:

In the afternoon, some of the squad and management took a trip to Missionvale and it brought home yet again what a challenge Africa faces.

The Missionvale Care Centre is an interdenominational non-profit organisation operating in the extremely poor township of Missionvale in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

It was founded by Sister Ethel Normoyle, from humble beginnings, under a tree in 1988. It has grown into a centre which provides love and care for the poor and destitute, with particular emphasis on those living with HIV/AIDS.

Missionvale Care Centre is at the heart of a sustainable and harmonious community with access to health, wellbeing and educational services delivered with love and care that will empower and enrich the lives of local people.

Ireland hooker Sean Cronin has a family interest in the work being done here as his Aunt Rose volunteers in Missionvale alongside the founder Sr. Ethel (pictured above with Sean and Joe Schmidt).

It was a deeply humbling experience to see the work being done in the township of 26,000 people who have access to 16 water taps between them.

It was a quiet and contemplative bus journey back to the team hotel.

You can support their work at http://www.missionvale.co.za/.

Tour Diary Week 1: Cape Town

Arrival In Cape Town – A warm welcome and a dip in the sea

Training Day – An intense session against an incredible backdrop

SharkCopter – A day of rest with great white sharks

Team Announcement Day – the team for the first test is announced

Captain’s Run And Coaching Kids – Last run-out in Newlands and a school coaching session

Match Day & History – Ireland beat the Springboks for the first time in South Africa

Travel Day – Farewell Cape Town, Hello Johannesburg

Tour Diary Week 2: Johannesburg

Making A Splash – A pool recovery session and watching the Euros

Altitude & Joost – Training at altitude and a chance to meet a legend and hero

Team Announcement 2 – 10 changes and three new caps for the second Test, and some serious skill from Eoin Reddan

Match Day In Johannesburg – Heartbreak for Ireland as the Springboks level the series

Tour Diary Week 3: Port Elizabeth

Recovery And The Future – Sea session, mental anger and looking to the future

The Shortest Day – The shortest day of the year but plenty of work packed in by the Ireland team

Bhubesi Pride – A day to give something back to rugby working with some of the poorest children in Africa