20 August 2018 News
Some of the most historic and memorable items from the world of rugby will be on display in Armagh later this month to mark Dr Rory Best OBE’s conferment with the Freedom of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough.
The exhibition will include the match ball from the Ireland rugby team’s historic win over the New Zealand All Blacks in Chicago in 2016; Rory’s shirt from the Six Nations Championship Grand Slam winning game against England in 2018; the boots worn by the hooker on his 200th cap for Ulster in 2017 and his captain’s shirt from the Lions game against the Chiefs on the tour of New Zealand in 2017.
In addition, a bespoke armchair made for the rugby star and upholstered with rugby shirts will be on display, as well as a host of other items from the Ulster, Ireland and Lions player’s illustrious career.
Dr Rory Best OBE said:
“I’ve been lucky enough to be part of some pretty memorable events during my rugby playing career and have picked up mementos along the way which mark occasions that will live with me forever. These items are normally kept at home, so it is a privilege to be given the honour of sharing them with the public in this way.
“There are some great stories behind many of them: from the ball used in the win over the All Blacks to the shirt from the Lions game which I captained and I know they’ll resonate with many, many people.”
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Councillor Julie Flaherty said:
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the rugby kit which has marked one of the most impressive careers in world rugby. We’re thrilled to be given the opportunity to host Rory’s exhibition ahead of his conferment with the Freedom of the Borough.
“I urge everyone to take the opportunity to come along and see the exhibition of treasures of a true legend of the borough.”
The exhibition will open on Friday 31st August with a viewing from 7pm to 9pm and will then be open weekdays 10am to 5pm and 7pm to 9pm and weekends 2pm to 5pm, with the exception of Saturday 8 September and Wednesday 12 September.
On Saturday 8th September Rory will be conferred the Freedom of the Borough honour at a ceremony in the Palace Demense, Armagh.
The honour is the highest symbolic gesture a council can bestow on an individual or organisation who have contributed significantly to the borough.
It recognizes the outstanding sporting achievements of the local man who was raised and educated in Poyntzpass and went to Tandragee Junior High and Portadown College. He played rugby for Banbridge and his wife Jodie teaches in The Armstrong Primary School, Armagh.
Rory has won a raft of honours in the rugby world, including captaining Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions; earning more than 100 caps for Ireland and more than 200 for Ulster; leading Ireland to a third Grand Slam and Triple Crown in 2018; also leading Ireland to historic wins over the New Zealand All Blacks, South Africa and Australia and being part of the Ulster side which reached a Heineken Cup final in 2012.
In addition, Rory was honoured with an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University earlier this year for distinction in sport.
Dr Rory Best OBE