IRFU Charitable Trust AON Lunch 2021

“It has been too long” were the words spoken by the Trust’s chairman John Callaghan to our sold out Aon Lunch at the Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge on Friday 12th November 2021. John’s words reflected the fact that the last Aon Lunch took place in November 2019 and to have our first event a sellout since the pandemic hit our shores is testament to the wonderful kindness and generosity of the Trust’s many supporters. One of our guests was our seriously injured player Bernard Healy so very special thanks to everyone who attended and supported the lunch in aid of our seriously injured players. Following John’s opening words, we played a video featuring another seriously injured player Mark Governey, in his newly renovated home which the Trust helped Mark with. It was very clear from Mark’s words how much this has meant to him; and it was wonderful to share Mark’s story with everyone, so everyone could see how their support helps our seriously injured players.

Again, thank you to all of you who attended the lunch – all 140 guests were clearly delighted to be back and treated to singing, poetry, comedy and insights in to the Ireland v New Zealand game the following day. Singing was provided by some of the guests including Gemma Bell, John Callaghan, Raymond Donnelly and Andrew Nesbitt performing “Lovely Armagh”. With the crowd behind her, hockey great Carol Metchette sang Molly Malone. Another guest, Michael Larkin, sang the “Fields of Athenry” with most of those attending joining in – a good practice run for the All Blacks match! The Trinitones performed once again at the lunch with a beautiful rendition of “Will Ye Go Lassie Go” and many other crowd pleasers. Speaking of beautiful – Joe McGowan read “Don’t let the old man in” to everyone; please have a listen to Joe’s words in the adjacent recording.

Adrian Logan was our MC for the day and one of the many very, very enjoyable experiences of the lunch was a comedy sketch featuring Nigel Osborne impersonating George Hooke, Brent Pope, Bill McLaren and Jim O’Callaghan – have a look at some of these impersonations in the adjacent video. Nigel then went on to speak with former Irish rugby international David Quinlan about all things rugby including the ‘24 Hour Row World Record‘ which Nigel spearheaded with David as one of the rowers. Another rower who helped break the 24 Hour World Record was Malcolm O’Kelly who was interviewed by Adrian Logan – the key topic naturally the All Blacks game the following day. There was more great news later than evening with the news coming in that the Ireland Women’s team, who are sponsored by Aon, beat the USA 20 points to 10 at the RDS.

A very generous amount of funds were raised during the Auction with all proceeds going to support our seriously injured players. The weekend trip to see Ireland play England in Twickenham was the big bidding item. A note of special thanks to Killester Travel for providing this prize; as well as special thanks to the IRFU, Leinster Rugby and Vodafone for providing the other Auction items. Thank you to everyone who took part in the bidding and especially those who dig deep for each item. The Raffle was a huge success as well but not surprising when you look at the list of Raffle items – refer to the Table Card below for the Raffle and the Auction items.

Finally, thank you to the Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge for hosting the Aon Lunch ensuring all COVID guidelines and protocols where adhered to. Thank you to Diageo for sponsoring the drinks reception with Guinness and Carlsberg, thank you to Henry Anderson and Bacchus Wines for supplying the wine. And last but not least, a very special thank you to Aon for once again sponsoring the lunch and being a great supporter of Irish rugby.