A beacon of light, energy and humour is gone …

23 October 2000; Gary Halpin, Ireland. Ireland Rugby Squad Portraits. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

TRIBUTES have been pouring in for the former Ireland international Gary Halpin who has passed away suddenly at the age of 55.
The Kilkenny native represented Ireland 11 times — including 10 starts — between 1990 and 1995.
His Test career ended with the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and he scored a try in that tournament against the All Blacks.
Famously, he gave New Zealand Captain Sean Fitzpatrick the two fingers after scoring his try and later expressed regret over his gesture as Ireland lost 43-19.
Former Munster and Ireland star Jerry Flannery paid tribute to Halpin, tweeting: “One of my favourite players when I was a kid. You need to be a bit mental to give the the finger after scoring a try. Ballsy.
“A special person; beacon of light, energy and humour gone; we’re left with very special memories.”
Leinster Rugby also paid tribute, tweeting: “Leinster Rugby is deeply saddened Our thoughts are with Gary’s family, friends, and all who knew him.”
Rugby Players Ireland added: “Saddened to hear of the passing of one of the game’s great characters.”
And Kilkenny Rugby said: “It’s with great sadness and surprise that we’ve learned of the sudden and untimely death of Gary.”
Halpin returned from Wales to live in Kilkenny in 2015, taking up the Director of Boarding role at Cistercian College Roscrea, his friendly approach and distinct frame saw him become a recognisable figure when walking around the City or strolling down the Parade.
Cisterian College said: “The college community of staff, students, parents and monks were devastated this morning on hearing of the sudden death of our much loved colleague and friend Gary Halpin RIP. Ar dheis Dé a anam.”

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