Dave, who hails from Kilmanahan, completed his Leaving Cert in the High School in 2006. By then, he had captained his country at U18 level and went on to make his senior debut for Munster in April 2010. Dave made his senior debut for Ireland in November 2014, starting in the 49-7 win against Georgia and earning the Man-of-the-Match award. He also came on in the 26-23 win against Australia later that month.
On his return to the High School, Dave addressed the junior students and staff. He spoke of his fond memories as a student, expressing his appreciation for all the help and assistance he received from his teachers. Presenting his Irish jersey to High School Principal Karen Steenson, Dave thanked the school for the opportunity and wished the school well in the future.
Ms. Steenson acknowledged Dave’s achievements, attributing his success to his hard work and dedication to his chosen career. She thanked Dave for taking the time to return to his school and presented him with his own High School jersey as a token of the school’s appreciation.
Dave was accompanied by Munster Branch President Bertie Smith and international referee John Lacey. Mr. Smith thanked the High School for the very warm welcome and commended the school for contributing in the development of Dave’s rugby career. He thanked the school for continuing to promote schools’ rugby and also stressed the importance of sport in a young person’s life.
Clonmel RFC was represented by Tom Fennessy and Paul Lonergan. Mr. Fennessy congratulated Dave and the High School on their respective success and conveyed the club’s continued commitment to support rugby in the school. Clonmel RFC co-sponsor a Rugby and French scholarship which sends a 5th Year student to France each summer and make their fantastic facilities at Ardgeeha available for schools’ matches.
Sinead and Keiran Cleary, whose family co-sponsor the Rugby and French Scholarship, were also in attendance. Mr. Cleary spoke of his family’s proud association with the High School and wished Dave and the school continued success.
2016 was a very successful year on the rugby field for the High School. Our junior and senior teams reached the qualifying final of the Junior and Senior Cups. The U16 team also reached the King Cup final. Our U15 team went a step further, winning both the McCarthy and Cleary Cups. High School coaches James Hayes and Colm O’ Loughlin presented the medals with Dave to the team amidst the rapturous applause of the assembled students and staff.
Ms. Steenson closed proceedings congratulating Dave and the team on their success, and expressing her appreciation to all the teachers involved in promoting rugby in the High School. She thanked Munster Rugby and Clonmel RFC for their continued support.