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Posted 26 March 2009

5 UCD rugby heroes in Grand Slam victory

Rob Kearney, 3rd year Arts studying Economics, Gordon D’Arcy, 2nd year Arts studying Geography and Jamie Heaslip, 1st year Masters in Management at the UCD School of Business, join the annals of great UCD sporting heroes as members of the triumphant squad that won the rugby Grand Slam and brought home the 6 Nations trophy for the first time in 61 years.

Kearney, playing at fullback and wing for UCD and Leinster, entered UCD in 2004 and was on the under-20s team to win the McCorry Cup against Trinity.  Also in 2005 he made his debut for Leinster having already represented Ireland at schools, under-19 and ‘A’ levels.  His first international cap was against Argentina in 2006.  Kearney now has 16 caps for Ireland and a score tally of 22 points, including 12 from the Grand Slam campaign (2 tries and 1 conversion).

Earlier this month, Kearney was presented with a UCD President’s Award for Excellence in Student Activities. Thirteen other students from a variety of areas in the college were also honoured with the award at the ceremony hosted by the President, Dr Hugh Brady.

Gordon D’Arcy entered UCD in 2007.  As Centre/wing for Leinster, D’Arcy suffered an arm injury that kept him out of the early games in this year’s championship but burst back with a try against France which brought his career score for Ireland to 25 points.  D’Arcy earned his first cap in 1999 against Romania.  In 2004 D'Arcy was voted player of the 6 Nations as he helped inspire the team to Triple Crown victory for the first time since 1985.  He now has 41 caps for Ireland and 1 for the Lions.

No. 8 Jamie Heaslip is also a student of UCD, currently in his first-year of a Masters degree in Management at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.  Heaslip was a valued member of the Grand Slam winning Irish squad, scoring two tries in this year’s 6 Nations.  He made his test debut with Ireland in 2006 against the Pacific Islanders earning the honour of being the 1000th player to wear the green jersey.

Kearney, D’Arcy and Heaslip joined two former UCD students – Brian O’Driscoll and Paddy Wallace – on the rostrum in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

Brian O’Driscoll, UCD and Leinster, had the great distinction of captaining the Irish team to victory.  His inspirational play and motivational leadership drove the team to a titan performance – particularly against England and Wales.  O’Driscoll graduated in Sports Management in 1998.

Paddy Wallace, out-half for UCD and Ulster was a member of the Ireland U19 side which included Brian O'Driscoll that lifted the U19 World Cup in 1998.  While at UCD Paddy was instrumental in the first teams’ promotion to Division One of the All Ireland League.

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5 UCD rugby heroes in Grand Slam victory