It is surely a co-incidence, and there is no evidence that a supernatural power was at work, that the two most recent guests at the clubâ€™s Annual Dinner are about to have the final curtain brought down on their playing careers. David Humphreys, who was guest speaker at the 2007 dinner, played his last game in Ravenhill against Cardiff on Friday last. This yearâ€™s guest speaker, Anthony Foley retires from the game on May 24th after the Heineken Cup final.
Both David and Anthony proved to be extremely popular speakers and made the most favourable of impressions during their visits. Despite their magnificent achievements and outstanding careers, both are extremely modest and unassumingÂ personalities.
Their rugby CVâ€™s bear a marked similarity, with Anthony [62 caps], being first capped in 1995, while David [72 caps], was first capped for Ireland in 1996. Each players had the honour of captaining his province to victory in the Heineken Cup, and both also captained Ireland.
It is also a co-incidence that the Sligo Dinner marked the debut of both rugby legends as guest speakers, and they proved that they are asÂ equally accomplished in this sphere of activity as when donning the green jersey, which they did with such distinction.
Anthonyâ€™s retirement is being honoured by a three day celebration, commencing on May 27th with a golf classic at Dromoland Castle, â€˜â€™An Audience with Axel â€˜â€™ in U.L. on May 28th, and a gala banquet at Limerickâ€™s Hilton Hotel on May 29th, at which Sir Anthony Oâ€™Reilly will deliver the keynote speech, having specially flown in from the U.S. for the occasion.