Honouring a Legend in New Zealand
How proud New Zealand has honoured a rugby legend
Gallaherís death caused massive distress in New Zealand, where he was already a national hero. The scale of the loss felt was epitomised by the full page report carried in the Auckland Star, and this was replicated in other newspapers.
His achievements and sacrifice was officially commemorated by the Auckland Rugby Union in 1922 when they inaugurated the Gallaher Shield for their provincial championship.
The 1924 touring New Zealand side Ė nicknamed ĎThe Invinciblesí because they suffered no defeats on the countryís second European tour - visited Gallaherís grave in Belgium. A photograph of the side lined up in front of his headstone became an iconic image in the nationís history, both sporting and cultural.
In 2000, the All Black test team again visited his grave and that year the NZRU presented the Gallaher Cup as the prize for all future test matches between France and New Zealand.
In 2004, before the second Gallaher Cup match between France and New Zealand in Paris, New Zealand had the famous photograph of the Invincibles standing by Gallaherís graveside printed onto four training jerseys, which were awarded to the best players in the test matches on that tour. For the game itself, New Zealand added a red poppy to their famous jersey, the first and only time that another insignia joined with the silver fern on an All Blacks shirt.
The French had been just as impressed by Gallaher as everyone else and remembered him starring for the All-Blacks in a 38-8 win in Paris in 1906. A statue of the player used to stand outside the old Stade des Colombes in Paris, the then home of the national team. A firm in La Rochelle in western France also named a trawler, Le Sergeant Gallaher, after the Donegal man.
But in Ireland, the country of Gallaherís birth, his momentous exploits remain unknown. Read on to see how Letterkenny Rugby Club plans to change this.