Strictly scrum dancing

Simon Brouder

The Tralee RFC faithful swapped scrums and rucks for tangos and quicksteps over the weekend as the club hosted its first ever 'Strictly Come Dancing' fund-raiser.

The club's first foray into the world of 'Strictly' was a resounding success with over 500 guests packing into the Ballyroe Hotel ballroom for the event on Friday night. Having spent two months training under the expert guidance of choreographer Jackie O'Mahony, the 11 dancing pairs wowed the crowd with some terrific routines.

Fittingly, the night's proceedings got off to an exciting start with the dancers performing a haka to help get the audience in the mood for the big night that lay ahead. After the Haka the crowd was treated to an opening dance - featuring all 22 dancers - that saw Tralee RFC take on Munster in a creative rugby-themed dance off.

Then it was time for the main event, with the 11 couples taking to the dance floor and  strutting their stuff in a bid to impress a judging panel that included some stellar names from Munster and Ireland. The four-member panel included Ireland Captain Ciara Griffin; Munster Captain Siobhan Fleming; Incoming Munster Branch President Mike Keane and well-known Tralee man Kevin Finn.

After a keenly fought contest, the judging panel selected Amy Kelly and Simon Behan as the winners who picked up €200 for their chosen charity Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland. The public vote went to Andrea O'Donoghue and Declan Smith, whose €200 prize will go to Kerry Hospice Foundation.

Tralee RFC continues to grow at a tremendous rate and the money raised on Friday night will support the club's expanding juvenile section as well as the redevelopment of the pitches and facilities at the club's O'Dowd park home in Ballyard.