Connacht at Seamount
The Connacht Rugby squad took part in their first community visit of the season this week with a trip to Seamount College in the seaside village of Kinvara, Co Galway on Monday.
The entire senior squad were on the bus to the secondary school of 400 students where they had a classroom session before training on the new all-weather pitch overlooking Galway Bay.
Pat Lam led the squad in an assembly where Connacht Rugby's vision of Grassroots to Green Shirts was presented to the attentive students.
Captain John Muldoon spoke about the power of team work and building relationships before Jake Heenan bravely shared his own story of the challenges he faced as a young man through IRUPA's campaign video 'Tackle Your Feelings'.
"This visit was very appropriate just as we go in to our big European game. It's important for us to touch base with our community and coming into the schools is important where we can have an impact on so many young people, and not just rugby players," said former teacher Lam.
"If we can make a difference to one life, one person, that is the purpose of Connacht rugby - to inspire through success.
"They've had a few tough times at Seamount College. We talked about bullying, people under pressure, relationships, breaking up, and one of the big ones - it's really at my heart at the moment - is the amount of suicides in Ireland."
Drawing parallels with Connacht, who suffered three early losses in the campaign, he advised the youngsters to "focus on the people who believe in you".
"We did that for the last three weeks. When you focus on all the negative stuff that is said, it's very difficult, but when you focus on people who believe in you, it's amazing how you come through," he said.
"This week the boys they tapped into these kids and they made a difference. That's what we play for and that's what we represent."