ON Friday April 27, for the 29th consecutive year, more than 55 mini players from De La Salle Palmerston U11s and 12s attended the London Irish 5 Nations Festival at Sunbury.
Since their inaugural visit to London Irish in 1983, over 1,500 players have proudly represented Salmo at Sunbury, some of whom have been lucky enough to see their rugby career develop to senior international and British & Irish Lions success, including Malcolm O'Kelly and Luke Fitzgerald.
Of the team to represent the club at this year's festival, most of them had joined the Salmo Minis at U6s, where the legendary Dave Hicks introduced them all to the oval game.
Since then, under the guidance of head coach Norman Byrne, who is assisted by Barry Murphy, John Feaney, Barry Kelly and Jim Fehan, the team has evolved into a very tight unit with a squad of over 40.
All the teams competed very well in their respective groups, in particular with their fellow Irish clubs with draws against Blackrock, UL Bohs and a hard-fought win over Clontarf. One of the U12s teams reached the Plate semi-final, where they were beaten by their friends from London Irish.
A special mention though for U12 player Ross Barron, who has been an integral part of this Salmo team since he joined the club at U6. Hugely popular with all his team mates and an excellent player, Ross got concussed prior to the tour, which ruled him out of playing in the tournament.
Ross insisted on travelling with his team-mates and coach Byrne installed him as tour manager, with responsibility for team talks.
Thanks to Ross's words of wisdom, all the teams did their club proud.
The club sends a special thanks to Monica Byrne for all her hard work.