Rugby club want to paint Letterkenny All Black

THIS autumn’s Grand Slam tour to Britain and Ireland by the All Blacks could also mark a red letter day for a Donegal rugby club, if the New Zealand Rugby Union gives its approval this week.

Letterkenny RFC has put in a request to the NZRU to send two of its players to their club in November, when they hope to rename their ground the Dave Gallaher Memorial Park, in honour of the Donegal native who was the first All Blacks captain one hundred years ago, when he led the team on a tour of Britain and Ireland in 1905.

The New Zealand touring party that year was the first to earn the nickname of the All Blacks and Gallaher’s players have since been referred to as The Originals.

Gallaher was born near the Letterkenny club in 1873 and emigrated with his family to New Zealand when he was a toddler.

He was killed during World War One at the Battle of Paaschendale in 1917, but his links to the county of his birth have only recently come to light. Letterkenny clubman Michael Love, following the Lions tour in New Zealand, said his club wanted to change its playing strip from black and gold to all black and add a silver fern and Gallaher’s date of birth to its crest, alongside the red hand of Ulster and a shamrock.

Now all the club needed was the support of the NZRU and a couple of current All Blacks. “It should do wonders to promote the game and IRFU has lent its full support to the move,” Love said.

“We’ll paint the town black for it and the NZRU have been very supportive so far.

“They have agreed to meet us when we are in Wellington this week for the second Test.

“We can’t thank them enough for that in what must be a very busy week.”

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