Former Ireland, Leinster, London Irish and Harlequins prop forward Gary Halpin has sadly passed away at the age of 55.
Halpin made 11 appearances for the national team between 1990 and 1995, scoring a try against New Zealand at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Domestically, he played for Leinster before making a career move to England.
A teacher by profession, the Kilkenny native was also a dual sportsperson, representing Ireland at the 1987 World Athletics Championships in Rome in the hammer.
His international career began against England at Twickenham in 1990 and after touching down against the All Blacks in Johannesburg, he famously delivered a colourful two-fingered salute to Sean Fitzpatrick, a move he subsequently regretted. Ireland would go on to lose the game 43-19.
Halpin studied at Rockwell College before taking up a scholarship at the University of Manhattan. He would go on to teach economics and politics in Weybridge in England, before returning to Ireland to become Head of Boarding at Cistercian College in Roscrea.
Kilkenny rugby club posted the following on their Facebook page:
"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 the 1991 & 1995 world cups, picking up 11 international caps along the way, scoring a memorable try against the All Blacks. He represented Leinster Rugby, Harlequins Rugby Union & London Irish Rugby Club. He also represented Ireland at the 1987 World Athletics Championship. A proud Kilkenny man, he returned from Wales to live in Kilkenny in 2015, taking up the Director of Boarding role at Cistercian College Roscrea, his friendly approach & district frame saw him become a recognisable figure when walking around the City. Like his late Father Tom, he offered his services as coach & 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 & a genuine person, he will be missed by many. On behalf of the Kilkenny Rugby community, we pass our deepest sympathies to his wife & kids, brothers & sisters, and to the extended family."
Gary Halpin was part of our roadshow at Dolphin RC back in 2018.
May he rest in peace.
"I side-stepped Lomu three times during the course of that game and that's true - the only problem was, he was the one carrying the ball!" - Gary Halpin on the 1995 World Cup...@Heineken_IE #OTBHRC
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— Off The Ball (@offtheball) December 7, 2018