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Portarlington steal show with 'Strictly'

OVER recent years Portarlington RFC have developed a reputation for staging highly professional and entertaining events, none more so than last year's Strictly Come Dancing in The Heritage Golf and Spa Resort.

More than 800 people filled the ballroom at the Killenard venue and they weren't disappointed. The 24 dancers, warm-up and interval acts had been rehearsing for months and their hard work paid off as the crowd lifted the roof after each performance.

The night was opened by MC Peter McEvoy as he welcomed the stars of Burbages Irish Dance Academy on to the stage. After their high-tempo exhibition performance it was time for the 12 couples to do battle.

A combination of players, coaches and well known local personalities performed a variety of dances while the Portarlington U19s and U17s produced a highly charged version of the All Blacks' 'Haka' during the interval.

Following a very close ballot, former women's and men's captains Sinéad Lawlor and Ross Doyle were announced as the winners.

Surrounded by their fellow competitors, the winning couple then performed their dance one more time on stage to the delight of the huge audience.

President Pádraig Maree was thrilled with how the night had gone and he commended everyone involved. "None of this would be possible without the dedication of the dancers, some of whom have no direct affiliation with the rugby club but were delighted to help with this event which has raised vital funds for our club and will enable us to bring sport into the lives of more and more young people in our community," he said.

"I would also like to thank our instructors Aisling and Carl Hannon and all of the sponsors who helped us to cover our overheads meaning that every cent raised will go directly towards running our club."