Monday, November 9, makes the tenth anniversary of the visit of the All-Blacks to Donegal.
A party of All Blacks led by captain Tana Umaga, and fellow two-times World campion Conrad Smith, visited the then undeveloped sports grounds at Letterkenny Rugby Club and named the rugby club’s pitches after Ramelton native Dave Gallaher, who emigrated to New Zealand and went on to become the All-Blacks first ever captain.
The visit, including a pilgrimage to Gallaher’s birthplace in Ramelton made headlines all over the world, and the club are very proud 10 years on that a ground worthy of their famous patron Dave Gallaher has been developed.
The New Zealand Rugby Union president travelled to Ireland to view the new €1.5 million pitch and clubhouse development that Letterkenny Rugby Club and the Letterkenny Gaels had undertaken.
Legendary former All Black Bryan Williams unveiled a plaque in Dave Gallaher Park to officially open the shared rugby/GAA facility that is now one of the finest sports facilities in Ireland.
Born in the village of Ramelton, Dave Gallaher emigrated to New Zealand with his family as a boy. He became the first man to captain a team referred to as All Blacks in 1905 and is credited with helping make rugby the national sport of New Zealand.
“Since the All Blacks left us 10 years ago, we have been working tirelessly to make the most of the legacy the All Blacks gave us. A new under-age structure exists within our club now and many of these young players were inspired to take up the game by our New Zealand connection.” Says Denis Faulkner, Charirman of Letterkenny Rugby Club.
“We are dedicated to continue to develop the club’s offering of the game and our facilities and remembering 10 years on we see that this historic visit has been instrumental to the personal and sporting development of all age groups and members young and old within our club”.
The club also fondly remember in their thoughts, the late, great, Jerry Collins who officially named the Dave Gallaher Memorial Park, whose life and that of his wife were tragically recently taken.
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