London Irish (England) Rugby Academy was proud to host its Powerday sponsored Academy fundraising golf day for the first time in three years at Ealing Golf Club last Friday (24th June).

The effects of Covid meant that the storied annual meeting took a forced hiatus, but the event made a triumphant return with all proceeds from auctions and raffles donated for the benefit of the development of the London Irish Academy.

Established over twenty years ago, the London Irish Academy has become one of the premier talent production lines in English rugby and has featured heavily in the success of London Irish teams in recent years.

This past season has been no exception; with six Senior Academy members making their first team debuts across the 2021/22 campaign (Henry Arundell, Lucas Brooke, Charles Cunningham-South, Michael Dykes, Alexander Harmes, and Tom Pearson) whilst contributing heavily to a first run to a domestic cup as a Premiership side in 20 years and qualification for the Heineken Champions Cup for the first time in a decade.

As well as ensuring progression through rugby development, the Academy retains that its duty is to enable the further education of its players integrated alongside their work at Hazelwood, which evenings such as Friday’s enable.

Friday’s hosts, Ealing Golf Club, have maintained an association with the Club and its Academy spanning circa 20 years as it has laid on several benefits in aid of the Club’s development.

Designed by architect Harry S. Colt and founded in 1898, Ealing Golf Club has a storied history of professional members which include Andrew Rogers, Yasin Ali and Ricky Willison, and has been described as having “some of the finest and fastest green around” by Golf Monthly.

On the day, golfers and guests were treated to a full Irish breakfast before they teed off on the first tee between 9.30am and 11.54am, depending on group timings. The golfers were also treated to an oasis of Italian themed food and refreshment stalls during their game.

Tee times began at 10.24am and concluded at midday, before proceedings on the grass were wrapped up for the day and players were provided a three-meat running carvery from 4.30pm onwards.

The festivities continued on through the evening before the presentation of the James Naughton Memorial Trophy and giving of several awards and prizes for players.

The coveted award is presented to the Young Player of the Year and remembers James Naughton, a former London Irish mini and youth player whose memory will be forever immortalised after his untimely passing due to Ewings Sarcoma in 2004 aged just 17.

Tom Pearson, Senior Academy signing ahead of the 2021/22 season, was the recipient of the James Naughton Memorial Trophy after a standout maiden season in west London.

In his 19 appearances this season, Pearson has scored three tries, making a round-high 25 tackles in a winning debut away to Exeter Chiefs, was called up to his England training squad during the Guinness Six Nations and been nominated for the Rugby Players’ Association’s ’15 Under-23’ MVP of the month.

Auction prizes were then bid for, which included an inclusive four-night stay at the prestigious Foxhills Golf Club, tickets to see The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park and also hospitality tickets for a London Irish fixture at the Brentford Community Stadium in the 2022/23 season.

London Irish Rugby Chairman and coordinator of the fundraiser, Kieran McCarthy, welcomed the return of the event and praised the generous contributions of the benefactors on the day.

“On behalf of the Club and Academy, I would like to thank all attendees of our fundraising event and express my gratitude for their time, effort and all of their kind donations.

“It was nothing other than a pleasure to be in the company of great friends and partners of the Club once more following on from a difficult few years inside and outside of rugby.

“We are hugely indebted to their generosity, and their offerings will be used to further progress our already hugely prosperous Academy system in order to ensure successful seasons like these and the work put in by our emerging stars will be replicated for many years to come yet.

“A special thanks to the voluntary organising team headed by John Wheeler, Bridget Bones and John Nicholson, who were supported by a wonderful team of ladies on the day, and Mike Gibson, Brendan Reynolds, Debbie O’Brien-Cunningham, Wes Linehan and the staff at Ealing Golf Club.”

The Academy would like to thank the following individuals and companies for supporting the fundraising day:


Powerday plc

Island Exhibitions Ltd

VGC Group Ltd

Surfbuild Ltd

Coyle Personnel

Reel Estates

The Irish World

Ealing Golf Club

James Moher Classical Framing

Bernardo La Gaffe restaurant

Kylemore Services Ltd

Thames Materials Ltd

Keltbray Ltd

R Duffy and Daughters

YY Security

Ardmore Group

Hanevo Ltd

Boundary Fencing

John Hamlin

The Jockey Club


Noel and Angela Traynor

Steve Martin

Kerry London/ Kelliher Insurance Group

Brent Cross Commercials Ltd

Foxhills Golf Resort

Workers Guild

Falcon Green

Turmec Engineering (Ireland)


Austin Reynolds Limited

J.Coffey Construction Ltd

O’Neill & Brennan Construction

M.P.Moran & Sons Ltd

Laing O’Rourke

McGinley Logistics & Construction

Cavendish Professionals

Groundshore Ltd

Madigan Gill


Surrey Cricket Club

Tommy Conway

Janet and Mark Burton





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