Gary Halpin

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Gary Halpin
Birth nameGarett Francis Halpin
Date of birth(1966-02-14)14 February 1966
Place of birth Dublin, Ireland
Date of death23 February 2021(2021-02-23) (aged 55)
Height183 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight111 kg (245 lb)
School Rockwell College
University Manhattan College
Rugby union career
Position(s) Prop
Senior career
London Irish [1]
Harlequins [2]

Provincial / State sides
1998–2001 Leinster [3] ()
National team(s)
1990–1995 Ireland [2] 11 (5)

Gary Halpin (14 February 1966 – 23 February 2021) [4] [5] was an Irish rugby union international player and champion hammer thrower. He played as a prop for Wanderers F.C., Leinster, London Irish, Harlequins and the Irish national rugby union team. He was noted for scoring a try against New Zealand at the 1995 Rugby World Cup and celebrating with an obscene gesture directed at the All Blacks.


Early life

Halpin was born in Dublin on 14 February 1966. [2] He attended Rockwell College, where he played schools rugby. He was subsequently awarded a scholarship to Manhattan College. [6] There, he threw the hammer on the Jasper's track team, and set college and meet records at the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America. [7] He won the 35lb weight hammer throw at the 1988 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships and received All-American honors four times for throwing. [6] He also represented Ireland in the hammer throw at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics in Rome. [8]


After graduating from Manhattan College in 1988, Halpin went back to Ireland the following year and began his club rugby career at Wanderers F.C.. [1] He was part of the team that won the Leinster Senior Cup in 1990. [9] He signed for London Irish in 1991, and made 122 first team appearances for them over the next seven years. [1] During his final season with the team, Halpin appeared in 18 matches but did not score any points. [2] He also played provincial rugby for the Irish Exiles during this time. [10] [11] He proceeded to play for Harlequins from 1998–99; in his only season with them, he scored 10 points in 23 games. [2] He moved back to Ireland and played for Leinster from 1998 until 2001. [3]

Halpin played for the Ireland team from 1990 to 1995, winning 11 caps. [8] He made his debut in January 1990 against England in a 23–0 defeat at Twickenham. [2] [6] He was part of the Ireland squad at the 1991 Rugby World Cup and the 1995 Rugby World Cup. [2] He notably scored one try against New Zealand during the pool stage of the latter tournament and celebrated by jogging backwards and flashing both middle fingers at the All Blacks. [6] [12] He later expressed regret for doing this in 2019, [13] [14] adding how he did this in retaliation to Sean Fitzpatrick – who set the All Blacks appearance record that same game [15] – provoking the Irish side by calling them Paddies. [6] [15] Halpin played his final game with the national team on 10 June 1995, [2] when Ireland lost to France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. [6]

Later life

After retiring from rugby, Halpin became a teacher and taught for two decades at St George's College, Weybridge, Christ College, Brecon, and The Oratory School near Reading. [6] He was enshrined into the London Irish Hall of Fame in 2012. [1] He later returned to Ireland in 2015 and coached Kilkenny RFC (who were previously coached by his father Tom). [16] He served as head of boarding at Cistercian College, Roscrea. [6] [17] He resided at the school with his wife, Carol, who was also employed there. Together, they had three children. [18] [19] Halpin died suddenly on 23 February 2021, at the age of 55. [6] [8]

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Gary Halpin – Rugby Union: Players and Officials". ESPN Scrum. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  3. 1 2 Healy, Martin (24 February 2021). "Tributes pour in after former Ireland international Gary Halpin dies aged 55". Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  4. Ball, Off The. "Former Irish rugby international Gary Halpin has died aged 55". Off The Ball. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
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  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 O'Sullivan, John (24 February 2021). "Former Ireland prop Gary Halpin dies aged 55". The Irish Times. Dublin. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  7. Litsky, Frank (25 May 1986). "HALPIN SETS HAMMER RECORDS (Published 1986)". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 24 February 2021.
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  9. "Gary Halpin R.I.P." Wanderers Football Club. Archived from the original on 26 February 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  10. Alexander, Stuart (13 September 1992). "Rugby Union: Corcoran helps Exiles to relax". The Independent. London. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  11. "Exiles History". Irish Rugby Football Union . Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  12. "Former Ireland rugby prop Gary Halpin dies at 55". Associated Press. 24 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  13. O'Sullivan, John. "RWC moments: Gary Halpin's try-scoring salute". The Irish Times. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  14. O'Reilly, Peter. "Gary Halpin: the prop who shook up the All Blacks". ISSN   0140-0460 . Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  15. 1 2 Jackson, Peter (24 February 2021). "Gary Halpin obituary: Ireland have produced no player more widely loved on both sides of the Irish Sea". Irish Examiner. Cork. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  16. "Gary Halpin RIP (1966–2021)". Irish Rugby Football Union. 24 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  17. "Former Ireland prop Gary Halpin dies aged 55". RTE. 24 February 2021. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  18. Scully, Michael (24 February 2021). "Former Ireland international Gary Halpin dies aged 55". Irish Mirror.
  19. Reporter, LaoisToday (24 February 2021). "Shock and sadness at sudden death of local school head and former Irish rugby international".