Dreams can come true as one Killorglin boy is about to find out when he meets the Irish rugby team ahead of their game against France in the Aviva Stadium this weekend.
leven-year-old Darragh O’Reilly – a big rugby fan – has been chosen as a team mascot, and he and his family will travel to Dublin as VIP guests tomorrow, February 11.
Not only will Darragh get to watch the game live, but he will meet and lead the Irish team from the tunnel and stand alongside them for the anthems.
“He is just over the moon,” said his dad, Donal O’Reilly.
Darragh won the mascot competition on Instagram thanks to his mom, Caroline, who entered the ‘Like and Share’ competition. Both his parents and his younger brothers, Stephen (10) and Cillian (6), will also attend the game.
The family didn’t believe they had won at first, but when both the Aviva and the IRFU contacted them, they realised that they were indeed set for a day dreams are made of.
In fact, both the IRFU and Aviva went one step further and gave extra tickets so that all the family could attend the game. Irish Rail also pulled out all the stops to get them train tickets to travel to Dublin.
Before the rail service stepped in, the family were unable to source reasonably priced and suitable accommodation in Dublin, and the trains were full, forcing them into an eight-hour round drive.
“Irish Rail was just superb, they were so willing to help out,” said Donal.
Both Darragh and Stephen play with Killorglin Rugby Club, and the club has succeeded in instilling a love of the game in young people locally.
Both boys are also Kerry fans, and Stephen was recently lucky enough to get Donal O’Sullivan Down’s glove after the game last week. He, too, was a virtual mascot for Munster during the COVID lockdown.
The family attend as many games as possible, but this will definitely be an extra-special match for the family.
“Darragh is over the moon. It is really starting to sink in now,” said Donal.
“He wants to meet Johnny Sexton and the team, but he also wants to meet President Michael D Higgins too, that would make his day.”