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Ulster Fry with a difference at Palace Grounds in Armagh

Former Ireland and British Lions Captain, Willie John McBride alongside Pat jennings and Joe Kernan

City of Armagh Rugby Club and Armagh Rotary Club cooked up an Ulster Fry with a difference this week as they hosted several local, national and international sports stars, at the Palace Grounds, for a Sporting Breakfast for early risers.

As over 500 patrons packed into the marquee and tucked into their bacon and sausage chiabatta, they were joined by host Adrian Logan and several big hitters from Rugby, Soccer and Gaelic Football, all as part of a unique fund raiser for Rugby and Rotary supported charities.

Former Ireland and British Lions Captain, Willie John McBride was joined by Armagh All Ireland winning manager, Joe Kernan, and the two of them launched into their fresh fruit kebab alongside Northern Ireland legend, Pat Jennings. 119 caps for Northern Ireland is still a record and the two times World Cup qualifier with “Our Wee Country” is still a giant in the modern game.

Former Ireland and British Lions Captain, Willie John McBride alongside Pat jennings and Joe Kernan

Former Ireland and British Lions Captain, Willie John McBride alongside Pat jennings and Joe Kernan

The three of these lads certainly added that special touch of class and it didn’t end there.

Ashley Baxter and Nikki Caughey, two members of the Ireland Women’s team who won the Six Nations this year, were also in attendance to entertain the fans along with Ulster star Nick Williams and Ulster and Ireland winger Andrew Trimble.

Ulster are still very much in the mix for silverware in the Pro 12 and all Ulster fans hope that Andrew Trimble can recover from injury and add to the 16 tries for his country at the World Cup later this year.

Local Rugby hero and returning Ulster player, Willie Faloon, dropped in to support the event. Also there were local “Strictly” stars Ivy “Foxtrot” Brennan-Hughes and Willie “Twinkle-Toes” Boyd.

Also in attendance was former Armagh star and now Setanta pundit, Aaron Kernan, along with one of the best forwards in Gaelic Football, All Star Connor McManus from Monaghan.

If you thought that was some line up, think again! Add in triple All Ireland winner, with Tyrone, and four times All Star Phillip Jordan along with Armagh All Ireland winner, Stevie McDonald, a former Captain of the All Ireland Rules series, and you can see it was a who’s who of sport, mixed in with your croissants and scones, all supplied by the hard working crew from Yellow Door and served by Armagh Royal School boys resplendent in their blazers.

The massive crowd was entertained all morning by these stars and it was fitting that this was hosted by an Armagh Club who are currently top of the Ulster Senior League, after a season marked by huge success with All Ireland League promotion.

It didn’t end there as the club currently have both their U14 and U18 youth teams representing the club in their respective finals this Saturday, 2nd May, at Ravenhill Kingspan Stadium, after successful league campaigns placed the U16s winners of their league and the U14s in a respectable 3rd place.

The U18 Ladies team didn’t disappoint either, bringing home the Club’s first silverware of the season, the Ulster Youth Shield, and sending several players to represent Ulster in the Inter-Pro series. The Minis ended a fine season with over 2,500 players and supporters at their well renowned Annual Mini Rugby Festival.

Armagh Rugby Club President (Raymond Donnelly) & Vice-President (Shirly-Ann Donaldson) with Irish Lady International Rugby Stars Nikki Caughey & Ashley Baxter.

Armagh Rugby Club President (Raymond Donnelly) & Vice-President (Shirly-Ann Donaldson) with Irish Lady International Rugby Stars Nikki Caughey & Ashley Baxter.

City of Armagh RFC President, Raymond Donnelly, was delighted. “What a way to finish a superb season for the Club. We have been successful both on and off the field this year and long may it continue.

“We have had a host of Rugby stars all season at our pre-match functions, but to have this list of Legends at this breakfast event makes for a special climax.

“We are still in the running for Club of the Year and that is all down to the hard work of everyone associated with City of Armagh Rugby Club, on and off the pitch. What a morning. What a season.”

Kevin Boyd, President of Armagh Rotary Club, stated: “It was an absolute pleasure to be involved with such a fantastic event. It was our Club’s first joint venture with the Rugby boys and it could not have been any more successful. In our 70th Anniversary year, after this huge effort, we will be delighted to financially support our chosen charities, who help so many people who are a lot less fortunate than ourselves.”

The two clubs also organised a raffle for signed Ireland, Ulster, Armagh and Tottenham Hotspur shirts, all kindly supplied by the guests.

It has been a huge year for City of Armagh RFC and this breakfast with the “Stars” will live long in the memory.

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