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Former Ireland international Gary Halpin passes away age 55

The prop represented Ireland at two Rugby World Cups.

Image: EMPICS Sport

Former Ireland and Leinster prop Gary Halpin has passed away at the age of 55. The news was confirmed by Leinster Rugby earlier today.

Halpin was responsible for one of the most iconic moments in Irish Rugby history, scoring a famous try against New Zealand at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, followed by an infamous middle-finger celebration.

The Kilkenny native made his international debut against England in 1990. He represented Ireland 11 times and also featured at the 1991 World Cup.

Halpin’s club career also took him to England where he enjoyed spells with London Irish and Harlequins.

He also represented Ireland in the hammer event at the 1987 World Athletics Championship.

Halpin worked as a teacher in England and after returning to Ireland, took up a position as Head of Boarding at Cistercian College, Roscrea. 

The college posted a short message on Twitter: “The College community of staff, students, parents and monks were devastated this morning on hearing of the sudden death of our much loved colleague and friend Gary Halpin RIP.”

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News of Halpin’s passing has been met with much sadness among the Irish rugby community.

On Twitter, Alan Quinlan wrote: “Very sad news to hear this morning of the passing suddenly of Gary Halpin. What a lovely man he was and a wonderful character. Sincere condolences to all his family and friends. R.I.P.”

Matt Williams said: “Heart broken at the news that Gary Halpin has died. A great athlete representing Ireland at hammer throwing & rugby. The best sense of humour & the funniest man I have ever coached. Off the field a gentleman & great family man.The world today is a lesser place. RIP Gary.”

Jerry Flannery wrote: “Gary Halpin RIP. One of my favourite players when I was a kid. You need to be a bit mental to give the @AllBlacks the finger scoring a try.”

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