15 May Randox Health and Randalstown Rugby Club host rugby legends at 70th Anniversary Gala Evening
Randalstown Rugby Club celebrated their 70th anniversary in style last Friday night with their “Giants come to Town” gala dinner, sponsored by Randox Health. The event was held at the Galgorm Resort and Spa with 300 guests including Andy Farrell, Ireland defence coach and father of England out half/centre Owen. Also in attendance were representatives of Owen’s club, and English and European champions Saracens.
The name of the event certainly did not let anyone down as the three guest speakers truly were giants of the sport of rugby union. Roger Baird of Scotland and Ireland’s Fergus Slattery – both former British and Irish Lions – were joined by arguably the most iconic rugby player of all time, Francois Pienaar. Pienaar’s place in rugby and world history was secured when he led the post-Apartheid Springboks to victory in the 1995 World Cup.
After the meal and some typically-hilarious words from MC and former Randalstown player Gerry Donnelly, the three guests sat on the couch together as Baird played the role of Parkinson as he asked the other two questions on their career and life experiences while telling some fascinating and funny stories of his own.
Silence descended upon the room as the audience hung on every word that the legends said. Slattery told scarcely believable stories of a pair of eccentric teammates, Moss Keane and Barry John that had the audience in stitches while Baird bemoaned his lack of tries for Scotland with no lack of self-depreciating humour.
Pienaar told awe-inspiring stories of his 29 caps for South Africa, all of which were as captain (a record) and of his many meetings with Nelson Mandela who became godfather to his two children. Pienaar and Mandela were especially close with Mandela referring to him as “my captain”.
On the night there was also an auction where a South Africa jersey and a caricature of Pienaar receiving the World Cup trophy from Mandela were both signed by Pienaar and sold to the highest bidder. The second item was an all-inclusive two night stay for two at the Galgorm and the third being an Ireland jersey signed by the team that historically defeated the All Blacks in Chicago in November.
As well as these superb prizes there were ten excellent raffle prizes kindly donated by various companies and individuals.
After the evening’s formalities had ended, the legends happily posed for photos, signed autographs and chatted with guests. As well as this the floor was cleared and the band played to allow guests to finish the night with a dance.
Dr. Peter FitzGerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox Health, commented;
“We salute the achievements of Randalstown RFC over the past 70 years, and are delighted with the success – in particular, their youth division. So we’re delighted to sponsor their Gala Evening at the Galgorm Hotel. Engaging people in sport right from the start sets them on the path to a healthy life.”
The Gala Evening was a night that will go down in club history and will live long in the memory of everyone in attendance.
For more information on this event please contact the Randox PR Team via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: 028 9442 2413