You bet Craig Gilroy’s try was superb
Craig Gilroy made Irish rugby history on Saturday — and in doing so almost got himself into trouble.
The young Dungannon man was part of the Ulster/Leinster combined team that saw off a Munster/Connacht XI in the first game to be played at the brand-spanking new Aviva Stadium, the old Lansdowne Road.
The two teams were made up of development players from their respective provinces and Gilroy wrote his name into rugby folklore by scoring the first ever try at the ground.
But before the match, a little bit of naivety almost had him having his collar felt by the authorities.
Getting wrapped up in the occasion, Gilroy admitted he fancied having a punt on himself touching down for the first try, only to find out that under rugby rules, you aren’t allowed to bet on a game you play in.
“We were having a bit of banter before the match and everyone was talking about who was going to get the first try and we were all aware of how important it would be because everyone will remember it,” said Gilroy.
“I think everyone fancied their chances of scoring and I did too.
“There were bets being taken at the bookmakers on who was going to score it.
“I was down as 10-1 and thought that was decent odds. I was going to put €20 on myself until someone told me that that was illegal, so I quickly changed my mind.”
The 68-0 scoreline points to a one-sided affair, but for everyone taking part, it was a day to remember as 35,000 made for an impressive atmosphere, in a game that for all intents and purposes was set up to ensure that everything ran smoothly when the ‘bigger’ games come around.
But that won’t take anything away from Gilroy and co, with many of the players on show unlikely to play at the stadium, or in front of such a large crowd again.
“It was a great game to play in and I was delighted to have been called up to play in the match,” said Gilroy, who is currently in Portugal in a training camp with the senior Ulster squad.
“The stadium is fantastic and you could tell by the sheer number of people who were working there just how big it was.
“It was great to look around the place and the atmosphere was really good and I suppose for a lot of us, it gave us a bit of a spur to go on and hopefully get to play there again sometime in the future.
“When you look at the scoreline I suppose it looks like it might have been a bit of a mis-match, but I think the occasion got to them a little bit.
“I have played with and against many of the players in their team and they are a lot better than that, but as well as that, we had a very strong squad and played very well on the day.”
Ulster were well represented on the scoresheet with Luke Marshall, Connor Spence and Michael McAuley all touching down.