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'Hilarious storyteller, the life and soul of any team he was part of': Tributes pour in for the late Gary Halpin

By Josh Raisey
Ireland's last amateur era front row - Gary Halpin (left), Terry Kingston and Nick Popplewell (Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images)

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The rugby world has been paying tribute to former Ireland prop Gary Halpin, who has died at the age of 55. Social media has been flooded with figures from across the game paying respect to the Irishman and reflecting on his career. 

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Halpin won eleven caps for Ireland between 1990 and 1995 after making his debut against England and he competed in two World Cups. He is perhaps best remembered for his exuberant celebration after scoring a try against the All Blacks in the 1995 tournament. He also represented Ireland in the hammer throw at the 1987 track and field World Championships in Rome.

Plenty of players have mentioned his off-field personality as well as his fierce approach on the pitch, with Alan Quinlan calling him a “wonderful character”. 

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Brian O’Driscoll, who played alongside Halpin at the beginning of his career for Leinster, described him as “a hilarious storyteller and the life and soul of any team he was part of”. His former Leinster coach Matt Williams echoed this, saying that Halpin had “the best sense of humour” and was “the funniest man I have ever coached”. 

Irish Rugby added to this, describing him as “a unique and much-loved figure in the game”. Having played in England for Harlequins and London Irish as well as Leinster, Halpin would have had plenty of teammates across his career. 

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London Irish described him as an “inspirational leader” after representing them for seven years in the 1990s. Current Harlequins coach and fellow Ireland international Jerry Flannery said that he was one of his “favourite players” growing up. 

Halpin more recently worked at Cistercian College in Roscrea and coached at Kilkenny. The club said on Twitter: “He had a distinctive and assertive style of coaching, he was a gentleman and a genuine person, he will be missed by many.” 

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'Hilarious storyteller, the life and soul of any team he was part of': Tributes pour in for the late Gary Halpin

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