GARRYOWEN FC will host the fifth annual Shane Geoghegan Memorial Rugby Tournament this Saturday at Dooradoyle.
The prestigious event celebrates the life of former Garryowen thirds captain, Shane Geoghegan who was murdered in a case of mistake identity some 200 yards from the front gates of Garryowen FC’s grounds in November 2008.
The tournament is organised by five of Shane’s close friends, who all played rugby with him, Fergus Sheahan, Bernard Carroll, Conor Hartigan, JP Baggott and Daniel Lenihan.
One of the tournament organisers, Bernard Carroll, said the event was born out of the need to preserve Shane’s memory.
Bernard Carroll said: “That day Shane was killed, he had captained our side to an unfortunate loss against our fierce rivals.
“No one knew at the time that would be the last time he’d pick up his gear bag
“Shane was a victim of gangland crime that has blighted our wonderful city in recent years.
“He was just walking home like he’d done a million times before
“The outcry at the time was massive. A minute’s silences was held at both the Ireland v New Zealand international in Dublin and also during the Munster v New Zealand game at Thomond Park.
“Every team in Garryowen and teams playing against Garryowen that season retired the number 3 jersey (Shane Geoghegan’s number) for the season, and the thirds team in Garryowen has permanently retired the jersey.
“As a mark of respect for Saturday’s tournament, we will ask every club playing to retire their number 3 jersey and hang them side by side on the wall at the main desk.
“As a result of Shane’s murder new laws have come into place which that include non-jury trials.
“These have and continue to net massive results for the state in terms of tackling organised crime
“This weekend’s tournament was born out of a need to preserve the memory of Shane as a rugby player, who enjoyed both the physical and social side of the game and not be known as “that guy that was murdered.”
“Garryowen FC, one of the oldest clubs in the world, are 100% behind us making this a true rugby event in our city.”
The tournament has grown from having four local teams competing to now featuring a 16-team men’s competition and an 8-team U-12s section.
Participating teams will come from four counties, Garryowen (x2), Old Crescent (x2), Shannon, UL-Bohemian, Thomond, Presentation, Kilfeacle, NUI Galway, Charleville, Bruff, Air Atlanta, Newport, St Mary’s and last year’s winners, Young Munster.
The tournament features 10-a-side games, followed by a BBQ and refreshments in the clubhouse.
Those attending can watch Munster’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Edinburgh which has a 7.15pm kick-off on a big screen, followed by live music and competitions on the Rodeo Bull.
Proceeds from the day will go to the Garryowen Lions, coached by former Irish international Neville Furlong.
The Garryowen Lions are a tag rugby team established by the Daughters of Charity Service, Limerick and supported by Garryowen FC to provide adults with an intellectual disability from Limerick city and county with the opportunity to play and enjoy rugby in the community.
The local side will take on a team from the Daughters of Charity, Dublin in a Munster v Leinster game on the main pitch at Dooradoyle, prior to the start of the day’s activities, beginning at 1.30pm.
Both sides will wear their provincial colours in the match.
The tournament organisers would like to thank the large number of club and provincial players who have supported their endeavour in relation to the event.
These include Munster and Ireland stars, Conor Murray, David Wallace, Mike Sherry and Damien Varley (all Garryowen FC players), as well as other Limerick-born Munster and Ireland stars, Paul O’Connell and Keith Earls.
The organisers are hoping that a number of leading names from Munster and Ireland will be in attendance on Saturday.