O'Hanlon and Higgins feted


TWO members of the only Ireland team to achieve the Grand Slam in 1948, Dudley Higgins and Bertie O'Hanlon, yesterday became the latest recipients of the Rugby Writers of Ireland/ Guinness Hall of Fame awards.

O'Hanlon marked his international debut in 1947 by scoring two tries in the 22-0 win over England and he and Higgins played together for the first time when Ireland defeated Scotland that year. They were team-mates again in 1948 when Ireland were the complete masters. O'Hanlon was also a member of the side that won the Triple Crown in 1949. Higgins is also a former president of the Ulster Branch and the IRFU.

Several of their team-mates from those illustrious years for Irish rugby were present at yesterday's function in Dublin, including Jim McCarthy, Paddy Reid, Des O'Brien and Mick Lane, a member of the Triple Crown winning side of 1949, and Con Murphy, captain of the team that beat England in 1947. McCarthy, Reid, Murphy and O'Brien are all former winners of the Hall of Fame award. Other former winners who attended, the lunch were Harry McKibbin, Sir Ewart Bell and John O'Meara.

The attendance included internationals from every decade dating back to the 1930s as well as the president of the IRFU, Bobby Deacy, and Tom Kiernan, one of Ireland's representatives on the International Board.

The awards were presented by Colin Storm, managing director of Guinness Ireland, and Jim Neilly, chairman of the Rugby Writers of Ireland.