Drought ends for Gaffney

Zingari-Richmond fullback Ciaran Gaffney scores a try during his side’s 45-34 win against Green...
Zingari-Richmond fullback Ciaran Gaffney scores a try during his side’s 45-34 win against Green Island at Montecillo on Saturday. Green Island’s Brad Lee hangs on for the ride. Photo: Gerard O'Brien.
Zingari-Richmond fullback Ciaran Gaffney will be wishing his birthday came around every Saturday.

The 22-year-old scored two tries for the Colours in the 45-34 win against Green Island at Montecillo  during  the weekend.

It was a good way to celebrate turning another year older, and the win came as a bit of a relief for Gaffney. The former Connacht and Ireland under-20 player reckoned he had gone "something like 20 games" since last being on the winning side.

"There was a Guinness or 10," Gaffney responded when asked if he marked the occasion with the popular Irish drop.

It was also Zingari’s first win for the season. And for Gaffney it was just good to feel the grass under his boots again after two injury-interrupted seasons in Ireland.

That is what brought him out to New Zealand. He was just getting over his last injury niggle as the Irish season was wrapping up.

He was encouraged to come to Dunedin  to play some club rugby and press for an opportunity at provincial level by Otago coach Cory Brown.

Brown met Gaffney while he was the elite player development officer for Connacht and rates the strapping outside back as ‘‘talented enough to play international rugby’’. Gaffney is part of the Otago wider training squad and there is a chance he could play for the province.

"I’ll be monitoring his progress over the next two or three months," Brown said.

"But, look, we’ve got Michael Collins, Vili Koroi and Jona Nareki, as well. And Leroy van Dam is playing really good rugby, so there is good competition."

Gaffney’s main goal is to break into the Otago squad.

"If that doesn’t happen, I’ll look elsewhere after the club season is over. I’ll look back in the northern hemisphere and see what my agent can find me," he said with a chuckle.

Gaffney has been in Dunedin "just over a month" and is doing some work for City Care to help pay the bills. He has also had a couple of exams to sit which count towards his commerce degree.

He is flatting with two other Irish guys — Kaikorai lock-loose forward Cian Romaine, who also played for the Ireland under-20 team, and Harbour midfielder Rory Parata. And in case Gaffney gets too homesick, his club team-mate, Dwayne Corcoran, is also Irish.

Zingari-Richmond plays Alhambra-Union at the North Ground tomorrow. Alhambra is coming off a narrow loss to Taieri but remains an attacking threat.

The big game, though, is at Bathgate Park, where Southern hosts Dunedin in a top-of-the-table match. The winner will secure the Speight’s Jug, which is awarded to the team which leads the competition after the first round.

University plays Harbour in another game which promises to be a tight contest, while Green Island will search for its first win when it hosts a resurgent Kaikorai.

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