Friday the 16th of November 2018 was a memorable evening for members, sponsors, players and friends of Blackrock College RFC as we hosted the Ireland v New Zealand Dinner. 535 guests joined us at the Round Room at the Mansion House where we welcomed former All Black, Sean Fitzpatrick, as well as several other special guests, including former rugby internationals Hugo MacNeill, Paul Wallace, Brendan Mullin & Shane Byrne.
With video clips recapping three of the Ireland v New Zealand matches from 1954, 1973 and 2016, the stage was set for the following day's highly anticipated rugby battle which saw an unforgettable first international home win for Ireland against NZ. A special part of the evening was coordinated by our emcee, Fergus Slattery, as he orchestrated a meeting between Fitzpatrick and Marty Mortell. Mortell had previously played for Ireland in the 1954 match against a New Zealand squad which included Fitzpatrick's late father, BBJ Fitzpatrick. With photographs and programs to present to Sean, it was a lovely moment to witness, and Sean was genuinely touched by the gesture.
Another notable moment of the evening came when Fitzpatrick commented how the current New Zealand squad was the best he's ever seen, and that Ireland would have to be at the peak of their performance to win- making Ireland's triumph the following day even more special!
An informative panel discussion by former internationals analyzing the Saturday game was appreciated by everyone in attendance. There were several lucky raffle winners who left the function with everything from custom jewelry to restaurant vouchers to autumn international tickets. The live auction, which included two sets of Six Nation Tickets amongst many other items, then concluded the evening. A massive thank you to all the generous donors and buyers who contributed to the night's incredible success, along with all the guests who made it a truly memorable Rock event.