Annual Business Lunch   11/11/2023

On Friday 3rd November the Club hosted our 2nd Annual Business lunch where attendees were treated to a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon's fare which continued into the evening and, for the bravest, into the early hours of the following morning. Aah.....a reprise of the good old days! Writing in the Longford Leader Tommy Lyons stated:-

"Business people and rugby fans from across Longford converged on The Sin Bin at Longford Rugby Club last Friday to support a novel fundraising lunch.

The feature point of the afternoon was a discussion with two of the county's most successful businesspersons and rugby tales “from inside the camp” from the legendary 'Rala' O'Reilly.

The annual business lunch took place last Friday (November 3) and was a replica of last year's hugely successful inaugural event. The club presented an afternoon of quality business networking, industry leading speakers and top hospitality.

The welcome address was delivered by Karen Lennon, Vice President Longford RFC, and the event opening fell to Mike Magan, Chairperson Longford Rugby Club.

Mike spoke of the importance of the fundraiser for supporting grassroots rugby: “We do not do this alone. Many help us on this journey, you are part of this,” he said.

Benny O'Brien presided over a conversation with Michael Brewster and Padraic O'Kane. The men spoke of the importance of their Longford roots in the development of their careers and how the connection with the local community helped shape the directions they took in life.

Michael Brewster is a Managing Director at Stifel, an American multinational independent investment bank and financial services company. Michael runs the Brewster Financial Strategies Group.

A graduate from Institute of Technology Athlone Michael emigrated to America in 1989.

He is a Director of the Ireland US Council, and involved in many charitable endeavours associated with Sport and Education both in the USA and Ireland.

Michael  gave a wonderful insight into his business resilience; from working for £2 an hour in the Annaly Hotel, to the set back of working at Lehman Brothers Inc when they filed for bankruptcy in 2008, to founding the Irish International Business Network in the USA.

Padraic O'Kane, a past student at St Mel's College continues to be a stalwart member of LRFC. Padraic played for the Club with distinction and was capped for Leinster Youths.

Padraic's revelation that his decision to seek pastures new was precipitated when “Turner put me on the fourths” drew much hilarity from the guests.

As CEO and founder of, the Longford man presides over a portfolio of brands including FIRE Steakhouse & Bar, SOLE Seafood & Grill, The Round Room at the Mansion House and the Aer Lingus College Football Series.

Patrick 'Rala' O'Reilly gave an engaging insight to the inner workings of Irish rugby he has gleaned over two decades as kit man with the IRFU and the British and Irish Lions.

Club President Donagh McDonnell thanked the guests for their ongoing support: “We are proud of what we do but we can only do this with your help,” Donagh said.

Donagh said the money raised will  develop facilities to afford young people access to sport: “Running a club like we have here is both a challenge and a joy. We achieved quite a lot and want to continue to grow and develop,” he concluded. " 

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Back: Donagh McDonnell (LRFC President), guest speaker  Michael Brewster, Karen Lennon (LRFC Vice-President), Pat Fitzgerald (Past President IRFU), guest speaker Padraic O'Kane and Mike Magan (LRFC Chair). Front: Ian Morgan,  Joe Flaherty TD, guest speaker Patrick 'Rala' O'Reilly and Benny O'Brien (compere).

Our thanks to Tommy Lyons and the Longford Leader for permission to print this article in full and for the use of the picture.

The Club wishes to extend it's appreciation and gratitude to all attendees, to Precision Health who were the event's Main Sponsor, to Davis SuperValu who provided additional sponsorship, to our three Guest speakers who gave of their time, namely, Michael Brewster, Padraic O'Kane and Patrick "Rala O'Reilly, to our compere for the day, Benny O'Brien, to all who generously donated Auction Prizes (Padraic O'Kane, John Naughton, Pat Fitzgerald and Bank of Ireland) and to the volunteers within the Club who worked tirelessly to make the event an outstanding success. Finally, note the date in your diary,,,the first Friday in November 2024 for the 3rd iteration of the event. 

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