Monday 24 July 2017

where are they now?

GERRY 'GINGER' McLOUGHLIN

(Former rugby player)

There are several contenders for the most memorable try in Irish rugby history and Gerry 'Ginger' McLoughlin's against England in 1982 is up there with them.

The prop forward drove the Irish pack over the line to get the ball down, Ollie Campbell converted, Ireland won 16-15 and went on to win the Triple Crown with a victory over Scotland.

Although scoring that try was special for McLoughlin, his most memorable rugby moments are with his club Shannon. He joined the Limerick team at 16 and by 18 he was on the Senior Cup team. He played for Shannon throughout his career, not retiring until he was well into his 40s.

"The club scene was always so very important to me," he says. "Back then, winning Munster Senior Cups and doing well at club level determined how successful your rugby career was. I won five medals, and although I was waiting a long time for my first one, it was worth it."

McLoughlin earned his first Munster cap against Argentina. In 1978, he was on the team that defeated the All-Blacks 12-0 at Thomond Park and he has fond memories of that famous day.

"I wasn't picked for the '73 game against the All-Blacks so I knew that I had to wait five years before I'd get a shot at playing them. In a way I felt like I was waiting my whole life to play against them. They are the greatest team in the World and chances to play against them are so rare. So to hold my place for five years and then to play with such a quality team was special."

From there he got the call for Ireland and in 1982 was instrumental in Ireland winning a first Triple Crown in 33 years. He donned the green jersey for five years, earning 18 caps. He also got picked for the Lions Tour to New Zealand in 1983. The tour wasn't very successful but it was still an honour for McLoughlin to be chosen.

McLoughlin is a teacher by profession but is now involved in politics. He was elected to Limerick City Council in the local elections of 2004 as an independent councillor and then joined the Labour Party in November 2006.

McLoughlin also spends a lot of time working with voluntary and community organisations in Limerick. He is Child Protection Officer in Star Rovers, in St Mary's Park, and is still a dedicated follower of Shannon rugby club.

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