This sporting life as Hayes and his wife are honoured
THEY are two of Ireland's most capped rugby players, and now husband and wife John Hayes and Fiona Steed have been honoured for their contribution to the sport.
The pair, who played for province and country before retiring, yesterday received the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Rugby at Irish charity Haven's third Annual Six Nations Rugby Luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin. Irish stars Paul O'Connell and Tomas O'Leary were among the guests.
Known as 'The Bull', Hayes said that while rugby is still a huge part of the couple's life, their three children are their main focus. He was capped 105 times and stepped down in 2011, while Steed wore the green jersey for a decade until 2004.
"It takes a while to let go," said Hayes, "especially when you still have friends playing. It's exciting at this time every year, but it's nice to be home with the kids now. I'm very happy with my lot."
Steed said: "Rugby is still really important to us and we love it, but now that we're retired we can enjoy being with the family."
Nenagh-born Steed said they owe a lot to rugby. "Without it, we wouldn't be together," she said.
Asked about Ronan O'Gara being dropped from the squad ahead of today's clash with France at the Aviva, Hayes said: "It's hard, he's been around so long and played so well.
"But the harsh reality is, it does come to an end. It's not easy, but it happens."