21 March 2013 No Comments by The Northern Standard

While Ireland’s international rugby fortunes have slipped into temporary eclipse, the combined efforts of Monaghan Rugby Club and exponents of the game from the Miramichi Valley High School in New Brunswick have over the last week delivered something of a Grand Slam in positive promotion for the heritage links bonding North Monaghan and Canada.

The High School party, accompanied by top Miramichi tourism official Peter Murphy, have enjoyed a packed programme of activity in our midst since their arrival – and as they departed this, Thursday, morning for Dublin to complete their Irish itinerary, the Canadian visitors were fulsome in their praise for the hospitality accorded them by the members of Monaghan Rugby Club who were their official hosts.

The warmth of the reception the visiting party received while in Monaghan was encapsulated in the enthusiastic cheers they attracted when participating in Sunday’s St Patrick’s Day Parade in Monaghan Town.

Mr Murphy and other members of the delegation were accorded places of honour on the parade reviewing stand, and there was a warm Céad Mile Fáilte delivered by Cathaoirleach of Monaghan Town Council Seamus Treanor, who extolled the contribution which the Miramichi visitors had made to tourism promotion through the impression they had made on all those with whom they had come into contact while in the local area.

The party of 25 playing members and four adults were guests of honour at a civic reception hosted by Monaghan Co Council in the new Garage Theatre premises at the Monaghan Education Centre last Thursday evening.

The Miramichi delegation on Friday paid visits to Monaghan Collegiate School, where they were greeted by principal Johnston Reid and received an introduction to the finer points of Irish dancing; and to St Macartan’s College, where they took part in a Gaelic football match.

The High School team had ample opportunity to practice their own code on their visit, training with Monaghan Rugby Club at Rafeenan and playing A and B team matches against their hosts as well as watching the broadcast of Ireland’s defeat to Italy in the Six Nations Championship on Sunday. They also took part in matches against Armagh and Omagh on the Northern Ireland leg of their visit, a sojourn which included tours to the Titanic Museum in Belfast, the Ulster Folk Park and the Giant’s Causeway.

The social highlight of the visit came at the Four Seasons Hotel on Friday evening, where the High School students met and mingled with local youth at a welcome disco.

Prior to their departure for Canada, the Miramichi squad will play a match against St David’s of Greystones and will be honoured by a reception in the Canadian Embassy in Dublin.

Comments are closed.