Athlone rugby playing stalwart to finally receive international cap from IRFU

ronan fagan

Nigh on 50 years after his appearance for Ireland in a senior rugby encounter against Argentina in November 1973, Taughmaconnell native Leo Galvin will officially receive his international cap from the IRFU when Ireland host England in a pre-World Cup fixture in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Leo represented Ireland on the international stage as an Athlone player and this honour will be recognised during a pre-match event ahead of the eagerly anticipated contest this weekend.

A statement issued by the IRFU stated that 12 players were not awarded caps at the time for games which were not then recognised as international test matches.

“Dating back to 1946, and ranging up to 1989, the players will be honoured with an Ireland cap and enrolled in the official list of international players.

“A special committee of the IRFU was set up to oversee the awarding of caps and decide on how best to recognise the players. This involved a rigorous process examining the history of capped and uncapped games, identifying the players involved and contacting them and their families.

The 12 players will now be honoured at a pre-match event at the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match against England on Saturday.

“Prior to 1986, with two exceptions, Ireland only awarded caps to players who played in an international game against one of the “original” rugby playing nations – England, Scotland, Wales, France, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The two exceptions were the 1888 match against the touring NZ Natives and the IRFU Centenary match against the President’s International XV in 1974. (The third capped game against a non-national side was the final game in Lansdowne Road against the Pacific Islands in 2006 ).

“Ireland has played 19 games against national sides where caps were not awarded by Ireland. However, in 14 of these games, caps were awarded by our opponents. In all, 12 players played in those 14 games and they will be presented with their international cap in recognition of this.

“From a statistical point of view the players will receive their Irish international player number today as opposed to retrospectively going back and reordering every Irish player’s player number. Nor will the past caps and points records be adjusted for those games.

The 12 individuals will be designated as Irish international players #1142 to #1153.

In 2018, the 112 women’s internationals who represented Ireland between 1993 to 2005, (the period prior to the IWRFU’s integration into the IRFU ) were presented with caps at a ceremony at Aviva Stadium.

“There was unanimous support from the IRFU Committee for this initiative which will give due recognition to these 12 players who represented Ireland in the amateur era.

“This is an important acknowledgement of their efforts as times have evolved and I know that this cap ceremony will bring great pride and recognition to the players themselves, their families and indeed to their clubs. I look forward to welcoming the players and their guests to Aviva Stadium in August,” IRFU President, John Robinson, said.

Congratulating Leo as news emerged of his international cap presentation, Buccaneers RFC noted that Leo was an “unassuming giant” who featured as a key player for Connacht during an interprovincial career that spanned from 1969 to 1980.

“Following his on field exploits Leo remained very involved in the club of which he was a proud and able president for season 1992-93. He was hugely instrumental when the Athlone and Ballinasloe clubs joined forces as Buccaneers with the inception of the All-Ireland League. Leo was elected 2002/3 President of Connacht Rugby where he was a highly efficient administrator and he was honoured with their Lifetime Contribution to Rugby award in 2018. Galvin also served with distinction on the IRFU Committee for a lengthy period.

“So, hearty congratulations to a club icon on getting this long overdue recognition,” Buccaneers RFC stated.


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