Conor Murray & Joanna Cooper at last night’s tribute event.
LIMERICK’S Garryowen FC rolled out the red-carpet last night as some of the stars of rugby and other sports gathered to pay tribute to one of the celebrated club’s greatest ever players, Conor Murray.
World Rugby Player of the Year winners Johnny Sexton and Keith Wood, current Ireland captain Rory Best and Murray’s international team mates including Rob Kearney, Peter O’Mahony, Keith Earls, Tadgh Furlong, Andrew Conway, Mike Sherry and many more were present to recognise and honour the scrum-half’s contribution to Irish and international rugby in a gala event at Adare Manor last night.
Past stars of the game, including Tony Ward, David and Richard Wallace, Rob Henderson, Philip Danaher, Pat Whelan and Damien Varley were also in attendance
The sporting talent in attendance did not stop there, World Rowing Champion Garry O’Donovan and horse trainer JP Murtagh also enjoyed the night which saw Joe Molly of Newstalk act as MC.
The night was not just a celebration of the lofty heights that Murray has reached in Lions, Irish and Munster jerseys but the early days of his career with the famed Limerick club and his school and the renowned rugby nursery of St Munchin’s College.
Humbled by the tribute, Murray said: “I’ve been privileged in my career to have enjoyed magnificent moments at the highest level, with Ireland, the Lions and, of course, Munster. But none of this would have happened were it not for my club Garryowen. The same applies for all international players; it starts with your club and I can certainly say that I got the best possible start with Garryowen and owe so much to everyone here.
He added: “I’m a bit awkward about tonight; you come into a room like this in Adare and see people who were your heroes growing up, see people also who perhaps may not be household names as well but people who played a key part in everything you’ve been lucky enough to experience. I’m the one that’s thankful tonight.”
Among those to take to the stage in front of the 300 strong attendance to tell of the impact Murray has made on the greatest era ever for Irish rugby were Johnny Sexton, Keith Wood and Peter O’Mahony.
As part of the evening, Garryowen FC took the opportunity also to launch their Legacy project.
Frank Hogan, Chair of the Garryowen FC Legacy Committee, said: “Building on the values of the club, values that help nurture great young players like Conor, we need to recognise and support those that have played for the club in the past and for community projects in the future.”
Among the items auctioned on the night to help raise funds for the Legacy project were boots signed by Murray himself, a signed Irish jersey, a holiday to New York, golf days and rugby experiences.
To round off the night The Stunning, fronted by Steve Wall, performed into the small hours of the morning in the plush five star resort.