THE LATE Alfie Laffan had a broad smile on his face on Friday night when he looked down from above to see his brother, Keith, score a try for his beloved Bruff RFC.
Kilballyowen played host to the inaugural Alfie Laffan memorial trophy. Alfie, from Baskethill, Pallasgreen, died from cancer in September, 2014, aged just 33.
He played for both UCC and Bruff during his career and on this occasion it was the university who came out narrowly on top.
The magnificent trophy, kindly sponsored by the Kilmallock Rugby Supporters Club, was presented by the Laffan family to the UCC captain, Charlie Slowey. The Bruff RFC committee came up with the idea and Bruff’s captain said it was a fitting tribute to his teammate.
Tony Cahill said it was a privilege to know Alfie.
“The words gentle giant have been used a lot about Alfie but that’s the truth. He was a gentleman,” said Tony.
However, this only applied to when the Pallasgreen man wasn’t on a rugby pitch.
“He was a hard man on the field - he wouldn’t spare you - but he was the nicest man off it,” said Tony, who played with Alfie.
“I would have been one of the younger players playing with him. He was with Shannon at the time and he came back. We were a young club and he brought back a bit of experience.
“He was a big influence on the club and the senior team especially. We had a few good years when we won the All-Ireland, we advanced in the leagues and a lot of that was down to him.
“He is definitely a big factor in the club and the trophies that we have own. Friday night’s match was a big occasion for us - a lot of us as players would have played with him,” said Tony.
The second-row forward also left a big impression and had many friends in UCC which could be seen from the attendance at his funeral.
The highlight of the night was prop forward Keith Laffan scoring.
“His brother was propping and scored a try on the night so he was delighted with that. We will definitely be aiming to win it back next year. We were disappointed with the result but in fairness to UCC they are a strong outfit.
“There was a good crowd which was nice to see. Alfie had a lot of good friends around Bruff and a lot of people admire him,” said Tony.
Club president, Nicholas Cooke said it was a sentimental night as Alfie played for both clubs.
“It is going to be an annual match. He was such a popular man,” said Nicholas.
Alfie won U16, U18, U20, senior All-Irelands, Munster Senior Cup and a Bateman Cup with Bruff, as well as being on the team that brought them into the First Division.
Last April, the club handed over a giant cheque for €6,500 to Milford Care Centre in memory of the giant man. At the presentation Pat Dunne spoke to Alfie’s family about “a young man who will always be remembered fondly by everyone at Bruff RFC”. They club have been good to their word.