Ireland and Leinster rugby star Robbie Henshaw was honoured with a civic reception in Athlone on Wednesday evening.
Henshaw continues to produce brilliant and wholehearted performances since emerging as a promising youngster with Buccaneers.
Henshaw always looked a bright prospect in his fledgling days at Buccaneers, playing in a variety of positions. His first major success occurred in 2011 when Buccs captured the All-Ireland U19 Cup. He was one of the youngest players on the squad, featuring at outside centre and scoring a try in a magnificent 27-6 victory over Belfast club Malone.
The following year he captained Marist College to their first Connacht Senior Schools Cup triumph for 35 years when his Athlone alma mater also won the league title. He swiftly progressed to the Connacht academy and promptly made an impact there.
Connacht had quite a number of injuries at the start of season 2012-13 and a very young and raw Henshaw got early opportunities. His debut was as a substitute in a pre-season friendly against Exeter and the following week Henshaw made his first senior start for Connacht. He scored his first try for the province in that game against Harlequins.
He was named Connacht Player of the Year in 2013 when he also won the ‘IRUPA Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year’ accolade, a national award he also won the following two seasons. He was capped by Ireland U20s that season too.
Henshaw has also been honoured as ‘Connacht Players Player of the Year’ as he firmly established himself with Connacht and was a key component in the men from the west winning their first ever title after over 120 years, when they defeated fancied Leinster 20-10 in the Pro12 final in 2016. Ironically, that was Henshaw's last appearance for Connacht before his transfer to Leinster.
Henshaw was one of Ireland’s strongest contributors at the 2015 Rugby World Cup and has now played 33 times for his country. He was a key player in Ireland’s recent Six Nations Grand Slam championship triumph. He has scored four tries for Ireland, two against Italy this season, and his earlier tries were both vital and memorable ones. His first was a mighty Gaelic football style leap to score against England (it was voted Six Nations try of that season ) and then he secured the clinching try in that historic first ever victory over the All Blacks in 2016.
He was the first Athlone player selected on the British & Irish Lions squad that drew the 2017 series with New Zealand. At club level, Robbie Henshaw has always worked hard. He is proud of his Athlone roots and has been very obliging to Buccaneers RFC where his family have long and strong connections.