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Today is one of our greatest days

Today is one of our greatest days

Michael Gallagher11 Feb - 09:09
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A day to remember, enjoy and take stock as Caelan captains Ireland

In the long and proud history of Ballina Rugby Football Club many great moments have been enjoyed on and off the pitch, many great triumphs have been celebrated and many cups, medals and trophies have found homes by the Moy.
Golden memories have been crafted, the very finest of men and women have gilded the name of Ballina RFC and newspaper columns have been populated with names and team-lists, scorers and match results - but never have we had a weekend like this.
On Friday, the clearest sign yet of the golden future ahead of us was highlighted in bold lettering when the St Muredach's team coached by Richard West beat Marist College from Athlone to qualify for the semi-final of the Senior Cup at the top of their pool.
On Saturday, the mighty men who wear our senior jerseys went to Clonmel for a pivotal All Ireland League match and played superbly to come away with a fantastic 21-13 win.
Throw in the fact that our Minis, Youths and Girls were also playing the game they love all across Connacht and one begins to see the broad brushstrokes which make Ballina RFC special.
However, the icing on the cake will arrive this afternoon when one of our own leads Ireland out for the Six Nations Championship match with Italy in Dublin. On a Saturday morning, not so long ago, five-year-old Caelan Doris arrived in Heffernan Park and joined our Mini Rugby group.
He made friends, he had fun and loved the game he was born to play. He found a home in Ballina RFC and although he went away to school as a 12-year-old he still came back to wear the crest on the chest, most famously winning U17 silverware with his friends in 2015.
Fame came his way. He won a Senior Cup with Blackrock College and captained the team in his final year there. He went on to captain Ireland at an U20 World Cup and then graduated to the senior squad.
We were very proud when he made his international debut, very proud when he established himself as a regular international, very proud when he became one of the finest players in the game, very proud when he helped Ireland win a series in New Zealand, very proud when he helped Ireland win a Grand Slam, very proud when he represented all of us in the World Cup.
However, today is on a different level entirely. Today, is a day when one of our own leads our national team. It is a day some thought would never happen. It is a day very few clubs ever get to enjoy. It is a day we remember the greatest of people who will watch from above the clouds. It is a day we will recall forever.
Caelan Doris will walk out the tunnel at the head of the Irish team and millions will watch his every move on television screens all across the world. I'm not sure even the greatest of dreamers who met in a room almost a century ago to form Ballina RFC could have imagined such a moment.
Enjoy every second.
Good luck Caelan.
Great adventures await.
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