In recognition and sincere appreciation of his outstanding contribution and service to rugby in Athlone and beyond, LEO GALVIN was granted Honorary Life Membership of Buccaneers Rugby Football Club at a recent full-house pre-match function in The Bounty.

Speaking at the event, Club President Brendan Wilkins stated that “the honour recognises Leo’s commitment, dedication and high esteem and confers on him the full rights and privileges of honorary life membership to him”. The Taughmaconnell native captained Athlone RFC in 1973, the year of his Ireland appearance against Argentina. He was the first member of the club to represent Ireland at the highest level and, to date, is the only native of Co. Roscommon to do so. He also represented Connacht from 1969 to 1980, an unusually lengthy period for a forward to consistently play at such a high level.

On retirement from the playing fields, Galvin remained very involved in the club of which he was a proud and very able President for season 1992/93. Ten years later he was elected President of Connacht Rugby where he was also a highly respected and efficient administrator. He was honoured with their ‘Lifetime Contribution to Rugby’ award in 2018 and Leo also served with distinction on IRFU committees for many years.

Leo graciously accepted this rare honour from the club he was so proud to have played with and which had been a massive part of his life. Rugby was a sport dear to his heart and he had made many lifelong friends through it. He wished the club continued success in the years ahead.

Adding a lovely touch to the formalities, the honour of presenting the scroll to Leo was given to the club’s administrator Geraldine Kenny. A bouquet of flowers was presented to Leo’s wife Assumpta and a guard of honour was then provided by players representing all strands of the club from Minis, Girls and Youths all the way up to Senior as Leo made his way out to the Buccaneers match. All in all, a fitting and worthy occasion for the gentle giant.

Meanwhile, friends and former teammates had held a strongly-attended function also at The Bounty to celebrate Leo finally being presented with his international cap. John Murray was MC at this event for which lady members who had lost partners were also guests, and their spouses “were with us in spirit”. John recalled getting to know Leo when both were students at Garbally College and remembered his “generosity of spirit”.

Guest speaker and former comrade Michael Grogan was “among old friends” on the night as he recalled Leo being “a great rugby servant as a player and administrator in the amateur era”. Galvin’s name was “synonymous with Athlone RFC”. Johnny Dolan presented Leo with a commissioned painting of Leo wearing his Ireland cap and Bill Gibbons with assistance from Michael Murtagh produced a programme from the 1973 match. Then in a very emotional moment Leo was presented with a customised Ireland jersey by Ali Henshaw, sister of Robbie, who is Leo’s goddaughter.

Leo spoke of his “appreciation of the recognition that the club has given him” and it was “fantastic to see so many old friends from decades get together”. Great credit he added was due to “the ad hoc committee” including the aforementioned and also to “Mr Rugby Derry Fitzpatrick” for organising the event. In conclusion, he thanked “everyone for their kindness and goodness”.