One of Carlow’s favourite sons of rugby has a special place on the walls of Carlow Rugby Club this week.
Leinster’s Ed Byrne recently donated his first Irish jersey to a raffle in support of a fundraiser for Martin Dunphy, a former Carlow player who had suffered a life-changing accident.
The Carlow Rugby Club executive then banded together to raise €2,600 to buy the jersey at auction and it has now gone now on permanent display in the Carlow clubhouse at Oakpark.
Ed, his twin Bryan, and other brothers Thomas, Mark and Shane all started their rugby as minis in Carlow. Their father Thomas, who has an auctioneering business in Carlow, is a member of the Club executive, continuing a long-standing association with the club. Since they joined the Leinster panel Ed and Bryan have been most supportive of their home club and have often helped in the coaching of youth teams. Currently, Bryan is playing his rugby with Bristol in the UK.
Ed’s breakthrough into the Irish team came after he was out of the game for 28 months with knee surgery. At this stage, he has been capped six times for Ireland along with 89 caps for Leinster. With the province, he has scored a total of 12 tries, a remarkable feat for a loosehead prop while on the international front he was part of the history-making Irish squad that claimed a first tour victory in New Zealand against the All Blacks.
If you’re heading to Carlow’s refixed Leinster League division 1B clash with Athy this weekend, be sure to take a look.
Additional reporting John Shirley.