Dublin 7s Festival

Dublin 7s Festival

Saturday saw me make my way to Donnybrook to the inaugural Dublin 7s Rugby festival. It saw two different competition takes place where a domestic tournament took place alongside the main international tournament.

 It was refreshing to see teams like Italy, Germany and Norway take part in the shortened form of the game. This form of the game will return at the Olympics in August.  Donnybrook was taken over for the day with food stalls, a stage where various acts performed throughout the day.

 While the rugby was the key ingredient to the day, there was plenty of other activities to keep people entertained with a bouncy castle for the kids. There were plenty of other activities for the adults in the crowd with hair stylists on site alongside those Food stalls and also the customary clothing stalls that sold merchandise including, shirts, balls and caps.

Getting back to the rugby there were some terrific performances including some cracking moves specially designed for the 7s game with UCD trying a few moves that worked out and looked wonderful and these moves only added to each game.

Samurai the 7s only side made the trip from the UK and added real class to proceedings. While Italy in particular along with Germany showed some real quality and skill. They have made some real strides forward in the shortened form of the game.

All the teams that were involved this weekend brought something to the table and made it a very special day and with glorious sunshine it brought a few more people out to see what was going on. They showed the Pro 12 Final and Champions League Final on a big screen so people wouldn’t miss out on any of the action that was happening elsewhere in the sports world.

Special thanks goes to organiser Brian Mc Dermott and all his support staff for a well-run day. Thanks too to Peter Fitzgibbon, David O Brien and the team of IRFU officials with the support of some Leinster associate Referee’s that helped officiate in the domestic Tournament.

Here’s hoping this tournament can continue into the future and can become a big part of the thriving 7s circuit in Ireland.


Cisn Mc Gibney


Irish Squad for South Africa

Ireland Squad For South Africa

The Ireland squad has been named for the three game tour of South Africa with new boys Sean Reidy and Quinn Roux the only two new names in the squad with a number of young bucks like Ringrose and Mc Closkey being left behind in favour of more experienced heads.

Lads like Matt Healy and Craig Gilroy can feel very aggrieved at being left out because this season they proved they could finish off any chances that came there way. Schmidt has again gone for the tried and trusted with the majority of players that played in The Six Nations.

You has to admire his loyalty to the players that have been so successful in his time as Ireland Head Coach. To me there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of forward planning with Japan 2019 in mind or even the November Tests later in the year. You can’t honestly blood new talent against Australia , New Zealand and that again like 2014 leaves only the Canada game where any new players will only get one game to show what they can do before the 2017 Six Nations.

Here is a mad idea, sacrifice one Test in South Africa and put a whole different XV on the field and see how they get on. The third test would be the ideal situation to put this theory into practice. I may being very naïve but pardon me , this all very similar to the period between 2011 and 2015. Although to puncture that period Six Nations wins in 2013 and 2014 put Ireland to the head of the table in Europe even though the 2014 win was on point’s difference.

Schmidt has decided to go with two out halves in Jackson and Sexton with Stuart Olding to cover the out half position if he is required. In the forwards , Tommy O Donnell and Chris Henry have been dropped with Sean Reidy and Quinn Roux the men to profit and gain the opportunity to win a first cap.

To me it just looks like Schmidt doesn’t really have any faith in young players at this moment and I think the good will that has been shown to him in 2013 and 2014 is beginning  to run thin with young players not being thrown in at the deep end. It just feels that the opportunities will be few and far between to give these guys the chance to show what they can do.

 Gary Ringrose and Stuart Mc Closkey should have been given the chance to try and form a partnership that could work into the future also trying out , Henshaw and Ringrose as a combo was a missed chance I feel.

Also the fact that Jared Payne will not most probably be Robbie Henshaw’s long term partner again with the World Cup in 2019 in mind , these summer tests should be used to test out players. The IRFU will of course want Joe Schmidt and his coaches to deliver at least one win in South Africa. This is the first test series in South Africa for Ireland since 2004.

Here’s hoping that at least one win can be achieved and the rough season at International level can end on a high. All the good work at provincial level that saw Connacht , Ulster and Leinster make the Pro 12 Semi Finals can give the National side the boost the need and hopefully help seal  a first Test win in South Africa….


Cian Mc Gibney


Open Letter

An Open Letter

I put a video together a few weeks ago and it got some great support from people. I hope it helped people in some small way. It seemed to strike a chord with people and a number of people spoke to me in the days after it was uploaded. My reason for putting the video together was to demystify Mental Health and make sure that the people that matter have a voice and a way to speak out if they need to speak out.

Looking back at my own problems that happened to me in 2014 and a few times before that I realise that using Facebook as a means of trying to deal with my problems was wrong , but that is only my opinion of course whatever a person decides to do to try and help themselves is good because the more people open up the better.

We are in the middle of exam season and stress levels are at their highest level and people will do anything to help themselves this time. Take it from someone who didn’t do a great Leaving Certificate, I am still here and it isn’t the be all and end all , trust me…. Just do the best you can and nobody will say a thing to you.

I just hope my efforts to highlight these issues will help people and make it easier for anybody to just start talking about anything that is troubling them. I know that I have probably contradicted myself by putting this on my website and also sharing on Facebook and Twitter but I really just really wanted to reach out to people.

My own issues have been well highlighted by different pieces I have recorded and written and I have now steeled myself not to end up in the same position that I was in back in 2014. I am more open with people about issues and hopefully this piece will say if Cian Mc Gibney , Mr quiet and conservative can be open so can I……


Cian Mc Gibney


Tarbert School Awards Night

Tarbert Comprehensive  Awards Night

I had the pleasure of being one of a large crowd that descended on the PE Hall of Tarbert Comprehensive School for the annual awards night , a highlight of the school year. The night was full of laughs and with the old hands of Mr Denis O Se and Mrs Siobhan Fitzgerald guiding proceedings it all went off without a hitch.

The decision to move the ceremony from the Assembly Hall to the PE Hall has to be commended and it was vindicated last night by such a large turn out. For the first time the whole of the 2016 Leaving Certificate class had the opportunity to come and experience what is always a terrific night.

The night always has two guests from different parts of public life with people like Marcus Horan , Deirdre Walsh , Dr Patrick Kiely being past guests and last night was no different with past pupil Brian Scanlon and Irish rugby international Marie Louise Reilly doing the honours  and handing out each award.

Mrs Fitzgerald immediately noted she was feeling old as Brian took to the stage for the first time to hand out to first couple of awards. He finished in the Comprehensive in 2007. He noted in his few words to the crowd that the school had done a lot for him and had helped put him on the road to stardom…. He is a primary school teacher in CBS in Limerick.

 Marie Louise Reilly commended the school for the relationship between teachers and students and after hearing some of the stories about certain students from the teachers she reckoned a number of them would make good FBI agents !!

She also said she was going to steal the motto for the evening and the title of the School magazine “ Rising To The Challenge “ and put it up on the gym wall for all of her team mates to look at. From this author’s point of you it was a pleasure to be present last night , it was my second awards night since I left the School in June 2009.

The music interludes were also very good and provided the perfect way to give both presenters a chance to gather their thoughts while giving people the chance to see the musical talent within the school.

 Both nights will remain with me for the rest of my life.  I was part of three awards nights as a student and will always be eternally grateful to all in the School as they gave me great belief in myself at a time when I was still figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. All the students involved last night were well behaved and represented the school very well.

A night like that as was commented on numerous occasions last night doesn’t come together in a day or two and for that I think Jovita Delaney and the organising committee should take huge credit for what was a wonderful night and as I already mentioned the move to the PE Hall may have given Ms Delaney nightmares but it was a masterstroke. Long may that tradition continue.

To Mr Prendeville and Ms Delaney thank you so much for the invite to last night’s awards , I thoroughly enjoyed the night. Well done to the staff and students for making the night go like clock work. Roll on Awards night 2017… To the Class of 2016 , All the best for the upcoming exams this June.


Cian Mc Gibney


Saracens , European Kings

Saracens, European Kings

So Saracens have been crown European Champions for 2016 after a tough final where the weather was a key factor for both teams, Saracens looked armed for a major fight and with the help of a massive scrum and also a resolute defence along with the ice cool kicking of Owen Farrell all of these factors were key to Sarries success. Racing for their part had World Cup winner Dan Carter in their ranks along with three time winner Chris Masoe so they seemed well equipped to challenge Saracens for Europe’s biggest prize but that challenge seemed destined to fail when Maxime Macheaud and Dan Carter, the driver of the bus and his conductor were struck down with injuries in the first and second half.

 Mike Phillips and Remi Tales both came on but they failed to get Racing going and that stubborn Saracens defence coupled with a poor, tiring Racing 92 attack paved the way for Saracens to win a first European crown.

Looking at the Saracens team, you had a smattering of Grand Slam winners from earlier this year with England, Maro Itoje and George Kruis led the way in defence and Owen Farrell punished any Racing 92 indiscipline. Racing 92 can have no complaints about the result as they failed to trouble a Saracens defence who seemed to know every move they were going to make.

Mark Mc Call has to take huge credit for yesterday’s win as he had his team in peak mental and physical condition. They played the normal Saracens game where tight defence and a solid set piece usually leads them to victory. Maro Itoje for his part has pulled on a Saracens shirt 20 times this season and has won 20 times, not a bad strike rate…

Racing 92 will know they were in a battle and will also know that they could not have done much more to stop the Saracens juggernaut from taking a 1st European crown. Guys like Ben Tameifuna , Joe Rokocoko and the departing Luke Charteris did as much as they could but as all 9 teams that faced this Saracens team in Europe this year they came up well short when it came to beating them.

What team will stop Saracens this year one wonders as Wasps won 64-14 and at that moment you thought maybe things were derailed  but as yesterday proved it takes more than one heavy defeat to knock this side of it perch.

Nigel Wray will have been extremely proud of the team he has owned for the last 20 or so years. He tried at the turn of the century to build a team capable of winning all before it with guys like Michael Lynagh , Francois Pienaar , Paul Wallace and French man Thierry Lacroix to guide them round the field. They didn’t do anything as good as the current group. Of course this adventure started with Brendan Venter who was Director of Rugby before Mark Mc Call took over. This is the guy who famously did an interview where he spent two full minutes refusing to answer questions.

They were backboned by tough guys at that time namely Ernst Joubert and the soon to depart human version of the game “Operation” Jacques Burger , this man has the pins and bolts that held his body together  after different procedures he had during his career.

The new breed of Itoje , Farrell and the Vunipola brothers led Sarcens to the promise land yesterday winning 21-9. Huge congratulations to all at Saracens, they proved yesterday that hard work and persistence pays off….

 For Racing 92, its back to the drawing board and trying to uncover that coveting secret, on how you win The Champions Cup. They will be back I have no doubt, not if Ronan O Gara and Labit and Travers have anything to do with it….


Cian Mc Gibney


Ireland’s Rugby Year

Irish Rugby – Season Report

Irish rugby has had a mixed season and after a disappointing finish to the World Cup where Argentina ended their involvement at the quarter final stage. In the Six Nations there were defeats to England and France but wins at home to Italy and Scotland that saw Ireland finish in 3rd spot in the Six Nations table.

Moving to the Provinces where 3 of the 4 sides have made the final 4 in the Pro 12 and that has been a massive boost after some poor European performances saw Ulster, Leinster and Munster exit Europe at the group stage although Connacht kept the flag flying in Europe in the Challenge Cup quarter finals where Grenoble beat them 32-31 in an exciting game that saw Connacht lead 21-3 at one stage.

Connacht of course have been the story of the season that has seen them play an open brand of attacking rugby that has been a breath of fresh air to the Pro 12 and it also shows that club sides north of the equator can play that open attacking style that only ever seems to be seen in Super Rugby.

 Pat Lam has recruited cleverly over the past few seasons with players like Tom Mc Cartney , Bundee Aki and Jake Heenan  to add to the home grown talent Robbie Henshaw , Peter Robb and Caolin Blade. They play with a real freedom that has seen them rocket up the table and get within one game of the Pro 12 final that will take place in Murrayfield on May 28th. Glasgow the defending champions stand in the way of Connacht and a first ever domestic final.

Ulster have had a mixed season like Munster and Leinster and have also gone about the season quietly and have now made a semi-final after just missing out on a European quarter final spot on point’s difference. Having Iain Henderson back has been a massive boost given the fact Nick Williams has been ruled out for the rest of this year, he joins Cardiff Blues next season.

Leinster of course will look back on this year and wonder what more they could have done but they will also know that teams like Wasps, Toulon are further along in there development and things will turn around again Leinster didn’t win 4 European Trophies in 5 years for all that winning mentality disappear.

Guys like Jonny Sexton, Sean Cronin and  Rob Kearney need to step up to the plate and be counted when they are required.  Gary Ringrose , Cathal Marsh , Peter Dooley and Luke Mc Grath are the new breed of player in Leinster blue. The shadow of Brian O Driscoll , Rocky Elsom and Brad Thorn has to be left behind and new heroes need to step up.

Munster have also had a poor season by their high standards but with Champions Cup rugby secured for next season and a new Director Of Rugby appointed on a three year term things may finally begin to look brighter for the men in red. Unlike Connacht, Munster’s recruitment hasn’t work out too well with Mark Chisholm and Tyler Bleyendaal spending large amounts of time on the sideline.

 Johan Erasmus will take up the Director of Rugby role from July 1st and will appoint some new members to his backroom staff with Mick O Driscoll and Ian Costello moving to pastures new with Costello moving to a head coaching role with Nottingham RFC. Mick O Driscoll will leave to pursue interests outside of rugby.

So to sum up although things didn’t go to plan in the World Cup or in Europe you can’t ask for much more than three of Ireland’s sides making the Pro 12 Semi’s. Roll on Ireland’s three match tour of South Africa where they will hope to pick up at least one Test victory although knowing Joe Schmidt  he will want more than one win……


Cian Mc Gibney


Leicester City , Unlikely Hero’s

 Leicester City – Unlikely Hero’s

Leicester City were last night crowned Premier League Champions after Tottenham drew 2 all with Chelsea. The result capped the end of the most exciting title races that didn’t include the old reliable sides like Man United, Arsenal or the new breed of Chelsea or Manchester City.

Claudio Ranieri has guided Leicester City to one of the most unlikely title wins in the history of the game. The team is built on solid foundations with Keeper Kasper Schmeichel  , Skipper Wes Morgan and Robert Huth a man that Ranieri has admitted he wanted to sell in his time as Chelsea manager.

They have also got some hard working midfielders like Danny Drinkwater , Marc Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez to supply the main man Jamie Vardy who has fired in a number of key goals for Leicester along with Lenardo Ulloa and Shinji Okazaki.

They have been a real breath of fresh air this season after managing a great escape last season to survive for another season in the Premier League. They have only been beaten 3 times so far this season and that in itself is the mark of a quality side. The “Tinker Man “as he was known in his days with Chelsea has brought together a group of players that have had uninspiring careers up until this season. But now they are the most well-known group of players in world football.

The big question is now how will they cope as Champions , they will also be in next year’s Champions League alongside the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid , how many of the players would have thought that would have been possible when they returned for Pre Season training last July.

Can Leicester continue their run into only time will tell. Mr Ranieri will have more money to spend in the summer transfer market but will also have to fend off interest in some of his key men because the likes of Jamie Vardy , Lenardo Ulloa will be hot commodities as Vardy will lead the line for England as the Euros in June. 

So really the hard work will start now for all behind the scenes at Leicester in terms of getting new improved contracts sorted for all of the squad and trying to sign new players who can improve the team. This is a win for all of the teams that think they will never win a major trophy. People in general can take a few notes on how never giving up and self-belief can really bring you to place you never knew you could get to.

In football terms the win has given hope to every club in the world that they too can win the league they are involved in if they work hard and never stop believing in what you are doing it gives you the best chance of fulfilling your potential.

Leicester City, the most unfancied unlikely side to win a league title have done the unthinkable after being 5000/1 outsiders they won the title and are now entering another exciting chapter in the history of Leicester City Football Club. Leicester City they truly are Unlikely Hero’s……


Cian Mc Gibney


Feeling Down , Speak Up

Feeling Down Speak Up

Just to follow up from my video last week I just feel it’s important to keep up the momentum and keep the discussion going. People have trouble speaking their minds when it comes to important stuff like family matters or what might be troubling them.

We as a nation talk a load of rubbish, we can take the piss out of each other no trouble but as soon as the conversation turns serious people start shutting down and not wanting to say anything just in case we hurt the other person’s feelings. That’s the wrong attitude, we really need to be more open I know it took me a hell of a long time to be open with people but by god it has been a huge help to me.

I realise people will say that we as a society are more open but being open via Facebook and Twitter isn’t much good if you can’t be open in real life outside the confines of a computer screen or a phone.

After what in the Dail last week people have put the Mental Health debate to the front of the queue ahead of the much talked about Irish Water and college students marched on Leinster House to voice their disapproval at what went on during that debate.

 People that are suffering need people like me and you to speak up for them and make it easier for them to open up and seek the help that is around them in everyday life. Places like Pieta House are always open to people who need help and support.

So come on lads and ladies help me reach out to those who need our help. You may come across somebody that is suffering, a friend, family member, boyfriend or girlfriend, Let them know you there for them and if they need to talk you will listen. Don’t forget the darkness in light walk next weekend on May 7th at 4.15am. Let’s keep this topic at the front of people’s minds….


Cian Mc Gibney