Rugby fans throughout Ireland are mourning the loss of Neville Furlong who sadly died this week, aged 49.
Neville, who represented Connacht and Ireland in the 1990s, learned the game in his native Wexford before joining UCG, Connacht, Ireland Universities, Ireland B, and Ireland. Known for both his speed on the wing and his defensive prowess, Furlong will always be remembered for scoring Ireland's last four-point try against the All Blacks.
An army officer, he gained a BA in economics and politics from UCG, which he attributes for having galvanised his rugby ambition. He enjoyed a meteoric rise during those college days, particularly having been in plaster on three occasions a year earlier.
In an interview with the Galway Advertiser in 1992, Neville said his aim that previous season was to play for Connacht. He was given a lucky break when Simon Geoghegan bowed out of the interprovincials, providing him with an opening. His performances were rewarded with selection on the Universities XV and Ireland B, which brought him to the notice of the Irish selectors.
Neville said he had a lot to thank UCG for. "I have never in my life had to put in so many tackles. I've had lots of practice in defending. Ever since I was first selected on the wing for UCG, I have put great emphasis on weight training and I have worked my butt off to increase my pace."
Connacht Rugby CEO, Willie Ruane said: “On behalf of everyone in Connacht Rugby I would like to express my deepest condolences to the Furlong family on Neville’s sad passing. Neville represented the province in the 1990s and was capped twice for Ireland in the tour of New Zealand in 1992. The entire rugby community is in mourning following his untimely passing.” - Linley MacKenzie