An Evening with Mick & Friends
On November 1st last 50-year old Portlaoise Rugby Football Club stalwart Mick Rigney suffered a serious and debilitating stroke. The outpouring and expressions of concern as well as good wishes conveyed to Mick’s wife Linda and three children, Orla (14) Eimear (17) and Mark (20) and extended family and friends are testimony to Mick Rigney.
Mick, an avid sports fan all his life has had a long and rewarding career in the rugby world – he played for 10 years with PRFC and was then honoured with presidency of the club from 2005 to 2007. Mick has coached, managed, and selected on teams throughout his time involved with the midlands club and was also a LB referee for a number of seasons. Mick, who is widely known in Leinster junior rugby circles, has many friends throughout the province and the club has received many, many enquiries as to Mick’s well-being since he became ill.
Initiated by a group of family, close friends and work colleagues, a special evening of sport, music and friendship is being held on Friday 27th July in The Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, preceded by a major golf classic earlier that day in Portlaoise GC where Mick is a popular member. Prior to this on the 22nd July a fundraising cycle ride will take place starting in Portlaoise. Mick Galwey, who soldiered for years in the second row for both Ireland and Shannon with Mick’s brother Brian, will start the cycle rally.
“An Evening with Mick & Friends” will include a presentation of golf classic prizes, an auction of sports memorabilia to include items such as autographed rugby and GAA shirts, golf 4 balls and other items of interest with a special guest auctioneer Michael Duignan of RTE Sports. We also anticipate a number of past and present sports personalities to be with us on the night including Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody.
After a long and at times very difficult battle, things have settled somewhat now and Mick is making progress in his rehab - albeit he still faces many challenges ahead – not least of these challenges is his mobility. While obviously everyone is hopeful that in time Mick will make as near as possible a full recovery, for the moment he needs assistance on an ongoing basis.
The immediate aim is to try and raise funding in order to purchase a wheelchair accessible car so as to give the family some independence – work is currently underway on the family home to make modifications to suit Mick’s needs. There will also be further work required when hopefully Mick is in a position to return home in the longer term.
From realising the sporting history of Mick and his family it is clear to see why all of the fundraising activity on 22nd & 27th July is focused around sport.
The Rigney family has made a remarkable contribution to sporting life in their native Laois and beyond. Sport has always been a way of life and was greatly encouraged by their parents in this household of 8 boys. From their formative years in the fields alongside the family home to Lansdowne Road, Millennium Stadium, Twickenham, Donnybrook, Thomond Park, Croke Park, Semple Stadium and many other grounds throughout the country and beyond the Rigney name has featured prominently over many years.
Brian was a regular for Ireland in the second row while being a powerhouse of the Shannon 4-in-a-row AIL winning dynasty in the early 90’s. He also played with Waterpark, Greystones and Buccaneers, Colm played professionally with Connacht and Leeds, Des played with Greystones and Buccaneers, Ciaran played with Monkstown and Buccaneers while Niall played with Greystones before going on to excel on the hurling fields both as player and manager of Laois.
From Gaelic Games, Rugby, Boxing, Track & Field, Soccer, and Golf, all included, there is hardly a field sport that this family has not competed in and excelled at.
While an exact figure is unknown, a ballpark estimate is that there are 70+ inter county Gaelic Game Championship medals within the Rigney Household.
Mick’s wife Linda said “I just want to say thanks to everyone for their kind words and actions of support since Mick got sick. Also, to his very good work colleagues and friends who are helping us through this difficult time and we greatly look forward to welcoming old and new friends alike to the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel on the night”
His brother Brian said “those of us that know Mick well, know that the last thing he would want is to be the centre of attention and treated in any way special. But what this is about is helping out a great brother and friend who has given all of us so much over the years. Even in Mick’s illness he continues to inspire us all and we just want to show our appreciation by helping him out at this time.”
More information on each of the events is featured on www.friendsofmickrigney.com, Facebook & Twitter. Tickets for An Evening with Mick & Friends are on sale from the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel reception, Grahams Newsagents, Lyster Square and the Parish Centre or by contacting Brian Rigney on 086 803 4678 , Ciarán Reilly on 086 325 8547/057 867 2237, Ned Peacock on 087 782 6332.