The rugby player hung up his boots in the most special way.
Veteran rugby player Mike Ireland recently played his last game for Heaten Moor third XV rugby team in England. And as he went out on to the rugby pitch to captain his team, he was accompanied by his seven sons, ages 18 to 35.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the 56-year-old felt “pretty emotional” as he and his sons — who all played forward positions — managed to thrash the opposition 65-7. However, as he explained to the BBC, he waited until his youngest son turned 18 to retire so that they could have this chance to play together for the amateur team.
Although Ireland, who also has eight daughters, some of whom also play rugby, didn’t score a try himself, he was delighted by this special occasion, sharing with the BBC:
“During the years I’ve played many games for the Mighty Threes — as we call them — and I’ve played with one or two, three or maybe four of my sons. But I’ve never had them all on the field at the same time, so I’m really grateful to the people at the club who made it happen.”
“It was a great treat for an old man retiring,” adding, “I’m not the most amazing rugby player in the world, and some of my sons are very good and play for the first team, but rugby’s not about that, it’s a very big family thing, especially at grass roots level, and everyone’s welcome of all abilities.”
To keep the chartered engineer from being tempted to go back out on to the rugby pitch, he has decided to burn his boots! But he will be cheering his sons on from the sidelines.
Rugby is definitely a family affair for the Irelands, and it’s so lovely to see how rugby has proved such a bonding experience for this family of 17.