Connacht captain John Muldoon brought the team back to his hometown on Thursday afternoon for an assembly and open training session at his former school, Portumna Community School, with members of Portumna RFC also there to greet the squad.

The entire student body, along with representatives of Portumna RFC and invited guests, packed into the school gym with tributes and presentations then made to Muldoon and the squad.

Young pupils from Gortanumera National School and St. Brendan’s National School also attended the assembly.

School Principal Derry Long, Deputy Principal James Coughlan, Portumna RFC President Mark Scannell and Anne Rabbitte TD spoke of their admiration for Connacht’s incredible rise to become PRO12 champions last season.

Connacht captain Muldoon and Head Coach Pat Lam then took to the podium and expressed their appreciation of the warm welcome provided by the community before speaking to the students about the importance of a positive attitude.

A number of presentations were then made to Muldoon as he became the first person to be awarded Honorary Life Membership of Portumna RFC.

Following the assembly, the squad had an open training session on the school’s pitch.

As Portumna RFC was dormant in Muldoon’s early years, he began playing rugby in the Community School and won a Connacht Schools Junior Cup medal in 1997.

Portumna RFC was reformed in 2002 and have strengthened year on year since. The U13 Girls team created history last year as they captured the club’s first ever Connacht title.

President Mark Scannell, who also coaches at the club, spoke of the positive impact that Connacht Rugby’s success has had on the club.

“It’s definitely turning people’s heads,” said Scannell. “There are more kids coming down and playing with us and getting more into rugby. There used to be Munster and Leinster jerseys around the place but they’re all Connacht jerseys now.”

The club fields an adult men’s team and a thriving underage section with boys and girls teams ranging from Under-7s to Under-15s.

Young players from the surrounding parishes of Tynagh, Loughrea, Mullagh, Woodford, Leitrim, Killimor and Lorrha have also joined Portumna RFC.

While hurling is the most popular sport in the area, rugby continues to grow and Scannell hopes that Thursday’s event will lead to even more young players joining the club.

“We always need more players and guys like John Muldoon coming out here to this event will give us a bounce and, hopefully, make more kids want to come play with us.

“John is an absolute legend of Connacht Rugby after 15 years with the club and he is a pure gentleman.

“Connacht certainly give us a bounce and many of the parents haven’t played the game but they would be avid fans, and that is down to Connacht.”

For more information on Portumna RFC you can view their Facebook page here.

Want to get involved with Portumna RFC? Call Mark on 087 6434230.

Related

Loughney & Heenan honoured by Rugby Players Ireland