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18 May 2022

Ireland's Sean O'Brien pays tribute to David Wilkie of Edenderry RFC for encouragement during early career

Irish forward announces retirement

Retirement: Ireland's Sean O'Brien pays tribute to David Wilkie of Edenderry RFC for encouraging him during early career

The late David Wilkie

Ireland rugby player, Sean O'Brien has paid tribute to the late David Wilkie of Edenderry RFC for encouraging him during his early career. 

In his retirement statement released this morning, the Carlow man said; "I would like to say a special thank you to to some people who believed in me early on in my career, who are sadly no longer with us. Jim Kealy (Tullow RFC) and David Wilkie (Edenderry RFC) always said the right thing and gave me direction when needed."

The former Leinster, Ireland and Lions forward will finish out the season with London Irish before hanging up his boots. In his announcement, he thanked everyone who was instrumental in his rise to the top of the sport. David Wilkie, who was a stalwart with Edenderry RFC was singled out for special mention. 

David of Blundell Wood, Edenderry was originally from Ayrshire in Scotland. He passed away peacefully at Tallaght Hospital on March 28 2020.

He was a former club president, coach, midlands rep and ladies team coach and Leinster Youths Rep.

He is survived by his wife Patricia, family David, Scott, Lesley and Lorraine, sister Linda, grand-children, great grand-children, relatives and a large circle of friends.

A special remembrance service was held recently at the club in honour of David. 

At the time of his passing, Edenderry Rugby Club President Alan Finney paid tribute to the loyal clubman.

"Where do you start with our good friend? What this man had done for Edenderry RFC is unbelievable. When I started playing rugby at the Club in 1976, I got to know Dave. Both himself and the great Danny O'Neill ran the underage teams at the club. They ferried young lads here there and everywhere to training and matches," Alan said.

"No task was too big. A huge amount of our adult players would have had Dave as a coach. He would fight tooth and nail for his teams. He even coached the 2nds and 3rds for a number of years as well as the underage.

"Dave was actively involved in every aspect of the club. Coaching. Selector. Manager. Mentor. President. Fundraising. Midlands rep. Midlands Youths Rugby. Leinster Youths Rugby. Dave was known the length and breadth of Leinster.

"In his later years in the club, he ran The Edenderry Ladies Team. They were his girls. I would safely say our Ladies Team wouldn't have had the success that its had but for the drive and determination of Dave. You never said "No" to him. Not an option.

"Dave could be seen supporting every age level at the club. He was there with encouragement for everyone. On the good days and on the bad ones. He would appear out of the blue at matches at the far end of the country.

"He was one of the best ambassadors the Club could have ever had. The only falling out we would have was the Scotland v Ireland Internationals. We had words at times if he arrived out and there would be something not done right. Or a dog that wasn't on a lead. Flags not up.

"But head into John at the bar and bring Dave a cup of coffee and peace was restored. He will be sorely missed by everyone.
We will miss his wit, banter and friendly manner. Mainly his determination to put the club up where it should be."

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