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Lions catch the Aviva fever

WEST Offaly Lions U12s featured during half-time of the Leinster v Munster match at the Aviva Stadium recently.

The young players' excitement began to grow on the return to school in September.

Once the word was out that they had been invited to play in Ireland's largest rugby stadium, the interest generated was phenomenal. West Offaly Lions youth coordinator Pádraig O'Flaherty believes it helped kickstart the season well for the club.

He said: "All they talked about was the match and it helped to promote the game of rugby in the area."

Indeed, O'Flaherty believes it helped to gain a few new recruits. The team was selected from children attending a number of schools in the area.

David Farrelly, community rugby officer for West Offaly, was very impressed with the level of skills on display and said: "There was lots of good passing and interplay between the players."

When he visited the schools after their Aviva performance, Mr Farrelly saw how proud the pupils were to have played on the same pitch as their rugby heroes. A great day was had by all and was made sweeter by the Lions winning one try to nil.