Man of the Match Award for Kerry’s Latest Rugby Superstar

Munster Track and Field Athletics 18-6-2011
Hair Day: Kerry athletes from left: Eógan O’Sullivan, Ultan Dillane and David Hogan from St. Brendan’s AC enjoying themselves at the Munster Track and Field Championship at An Riocht AC in June 2011.  ©Photograph: John Reidy 18-6-2011

It may be a tenuous enough link but Kerry’s and Ireland’s latest rugby superstar, Ultan Dillane graced the grounds at An Riocht Athletic Club here in Castleisland on many an occasion on his way to where he is this morning.

Where is he this morning? Well, he got ‘the start’ on the Irish rugby team for last night’s game against Canada in the Guinness series at the Aviva Stadium – and he took full advantage of the opportunity. Ireland defeated the Canadians on a score of 52 – 21.

Rested by Mentors

Towards the end of the game Dillane was rested by the team’s mentors – but not before putting in a man-of-the-match performance.

He topped off the hugely industrious green jersey debut with a try on the end of a fiercely driven and determined lunge for the line.

Scopey and athletic of frame and movement, Dillane’s efforts were mentioned by co-commentator, Donal Lenihan several times in the course of the game and it was he who nominated him for the man-of-the-match award.

Kerry Community Games Finals 14-6-2009
Ultan Dillane competing for Blennerville in the U-16 high jump at the Denny/Kerry Community Games Finals at An Riocht Athletic Club in Castleisland in June 2009.
©Photograph: John Reidy 14-6-2009

Scrum Cap and A Smile

Sitting in the stand with the other members of the Irish squad when the award was announced, a TV camera picked Dillane out – still wearing his trademark, white scrum-cap and now, also, the smile of a man who knew he had just done the job he was asked to do and more.

Those who remember him from his schooldays athletics performances recall the tall-for-his-age St. Brendan’s AC member and his languid, no bother style.

His hairstyle was the topic of the morning on one occasion among his team mates. One of them asked me to photograph them with him for a laugh and he gamely posed before getting down to the business at hand.

A Few Shelves Up

The business at hand is now a few shelves up in seriousness from where we were on that occasion.

The man from Tralee with the interesting background has shown the rugby world just where he belongs for some time now.

Last night in the game against Canada he confirmed it.

Now he looks most likely to join Castleisland’s Joe W.H.O’Connor; Currow’s Mick and Tom Doyle, Moss Keane, Mick Galwey, Siobhán Fleming and JJ Hanrahan in the list of Kerry players to don the green of Ireland in International competition.

You can find out more about Kerry’s latest rugby superhero with a click on the link here:

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