Paul Waters from MU Barnhall Buffaloes meets Pope Francis
The MU Barnhall Buffaloes special needs tag team had a narrow win in Italy the day after meeting and receiving a blessing from Pope Francis last week.
The squad and supporters travelled to Italy for a four day tour as part of the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of Maynooth University Barnhall RFC.
While in Rome the Buffaloes squad and their coaches enjoyed the many sights of “The Eternal City” and also savoured the various culinary delights on offer each day.
In Rome the Buffaloes were granted a papal audience at the Vatican City with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on Wednesday February 20.
The squad received a blessing and were given an opportunity to have their photo taken with the Papa as a memento of this once in a lifetime experience.
Following the papal audience the Buffaloes enjoyed a tour of the Vatican City taking in the sights of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.
On the final day of the tour the squad travelled to the picturesque mountain village of Artena, situated south of Rome to play their tour test match.
The opposition for this much anticipated encounter were Partenope RFC, established in 1951, who travelled north from Naples to compete against the Buffaloes in the Italian spring sunshine.
Spokesperson, Anthony Larkin said: “The match was played in the true spirit of rugby however is was a strongly contested by both sides and in the end the result saw the Buffaloes winning the fixture 36-34.”
Following the match both sides were guests at the rugby museum in Artena where a banquet was held in their honour courtesy of museum curator, Mr. Corrado Mattoccia.
“This event filled tour of Rome was a first trip outside of Ireland for many of the Buffaloes, which provided them with new friends, choices and opportunities,” said Anthony.
He thanked to all the Buffaloes families, friends and fellow club members at MU Barnhall RFC for making this trip of a lifetime one to remember forever