Athlone rugby great featured in new John Scally book

The only Roscommon man ever to play rugby for Ireland, Leo Galvin, is one of those featured in the new book, 100 Irish Rugby Greats. Born into a farming family in Taughmaconnell, Galvin’s career with Athlone and Connacht spanned three decades. A former captain and president of Athlone RFC and Connacht, he was one of the driving forces behind the club’s amalgamation with Ballinasloe to form Buccaneers.

He recalls his pride in being selected for Ireland and donning the green jersey, and the sense of honour he felt. He also speaks about his satisfaction that his Irish jersey is hanging on the wall in the rugby club in Athlone. He talks about the many great stars and personalities who he has met in his time with Athlone, such as Philippe Sella and Moss Keane.

Galvin selected a fellow Roscommon man, the late Dermot Earley, as his sporting hero. He recalls playing against Earley a number of times when the Roscommon icon played for the army. At the time though the ban was in operation and it would have been folly for Dermot to have been seen playing rugby from a GAA perspective. As a result, the team could only have 14 players in the team photograph and generally the referee stood in for Earley. The press officer came up with an assumed name for Dermot - Lieutenant Earley became Lieutenan Late.

The foreword for the book is written by Jack Kyle, with another legendary out-half Ollie Campbell adding an endorsement. The book is dedicated to the late Moss Keane and is written by Roscommon native John Scally whose previous books include the biographies of Dermot Earley, Ger Loughnane, and Tony Ward.

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