Gary Halpin, 1993. Picture: Sportsfile/David Maher
Former Ireland rugby international Gary Halpin has died, aged 55.
Gary was a very popular figure who had a distinguished career with Ireland, Leinster, London Irish and Harlequins. He amassed 11 caps for his country, featuring at both the 1991 and 1995 Rugby World Cups, and famously scored a memorable try against the All Blacks.
He was also a proficient athlete outside of rugby, involved with Kilkenny City Harriers, and representing Ireland at the 1987 World Athletics Championship. He returned to live in Kilkenny in 2015, taking up a role at Cistercian College Roscrea, and remaining very involved with the rugby community.
Kilkenny RFC has been among those to pay tribute to him, describing him as 'a proud Kilkenny man'.
It’s with great sadness & surprise that we’ve learned of the sudden & untimely death of IrishRugby legend & Kilkenny RFC life member Gary Halpin, at just 55. Gary played at both 1991 & 1995 world cups, picking up 11 international caps along the way, scoring a memorable try pic.twitter.com/7kWGUcvzSQ— Kilkenny Rugby (@KilkennyRFC) February 24, 2021
"Like his late father Tom, he offered his services as coach and supporter to the club. Over the last few years he was involved as scrum / forwards coach with our 1st XV. He had a distinctive and assertive style of coaching, he was a gentleman and a genuine person, he will be missed by many," said the club.
"On behalf of the Kilkenny rugby community, we pass our deepest sympathies to his wife and kids, brothers and sisters, and to the extended family."
Leinster Rugby also said it was 'deeply saddened' to learn of his death.
Leinster Rugby is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Leinster, @Harlequins, @londonirish and @IrishRugby prop Gary Halpin.— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) February 24, 2021
Our thoughts are with Gary's family, friends, and all who knew him.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.https://t.co/TLtCKa7ic1 pic.twitter.com/P9zn2Vp87n
Munster and Ireland's Jerry Flannery also paid tribute, describing him as one his favourite players growing up.