Schmidt tops the bill as stars past and present turn out for Carlow gala dinner
In its 143 years of existence, Carlow Rugby Club probably never hosted such a star studded event as its Gala Dinner held last weekend in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel.
Billed as 'An insight into leadership in Irish rugby' the fundraiser attracted a sell-out attendance of 360 who listened to and mingled with the elite of Irish rugby and Carlow entrepreneurs.
The scene was set by an inspirational talk from Netwatch co-founder and chief executive David Walsh, who said that he always wanted to work with positive passionate people and that he was incredibly proud of his company's association with County Carlow RFC.
This was followed by an evening of wisdom and wit orchestrated brilliantly by interviewer Brendan Hennessey. His guests included Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, current internationals Mike Ross and Sean O'Brien, former star Mick Galwey, Irish women players Jenny Murphy and Fiona Coughlan along with up and coming Carlow-born Leinster players Tom Daly and the Byrne twins Ed and Bryan.
Daly, a native of Ardriston and near neighbour of O'Brien, was also recognised for his outstanding season where he was named captain of the Ireland's senior Sevens squad who are still on course for qualification for the Rio Olympics this year.
There was a palpable buzz in the room for the entire Gala evening which ended with dinner attendees and celebrity guests on their feet for a brilliant rendition of the Irish rugby anthem Ireland's Call.
Carlow's current and incoming club presidents Pat Slater and Justin Hannon were fulsome in their praise of the Gala organising committee who did an excellent job.