On Saturday, 27th March 2021, Devin Toner set a new record in the colours of Leinster when he togged out for his 262nd appearance for the province. To add to the occasion, Devin’s record-breaking appearance was in the final of the Guinness PRO14 against the always-competitive Munster.
In his 262 appearances for Leinster, Devin also managed to win 7 Pro 12 and 4 European Rugby Champions Cup winner’s medals.
Devin’s connection to Lansdowne began when he was in Castleknock College where he was coached by Lansdowne stalwart, Charlie Quinn.
Charlie recalls that when Devin joined them in the Castleknock SCT squad he had never been lifted before. As Charlie says, “We had to teach him from scratch and the 3 takeaways I had to give him were,”
1. If you flap your arms it doesn’t keep you up there.
2. If you kick the lifter in the bo**ix, he’ll drop you!
3. Charlie is always right!
Sound advice that set Devin on his way to remarkable success.
Post-Lansdowne and well embedded in the professional set-up at Leinster, Devin has always been a great supporter of the club, and throughout the years has provided valuable advice and motivation to the junior players.
A case in point. In 2014, under the leadership and management of Justin & Stewart Meagher, Mark McMahon, Michael Herrity and Donal McEvoy, the U17s defeated Terenure RFC on May 1st to win the Leinster U17 Premier League, one of the most competitive youth leagues in the country.
They asked Devin if he could attend a team meeting in advance of the U17 Metro Cup Final v Terenure. Terenure were very credible opponents and would be keen to reverse their defeat from the previous week.
At the captain’s squad meeting, Devin spoke to the assembled group of players and followed that with a jersey presentation. I was fortunate enough to be in the room that night, taking photos as I often do. You read and hear about special moments and jersey presentations, and how they can motivate entire groups. This was one of those special moments and Devin’s words, followed by the jersey presentation, filled the room with an incredible energy.
The Lansdowne 17s completed the double over Terenure to win the Metro Cup.
Over the years Devin has attended many of our annual dinners and that’s another mark of the man and his close ties to the club. When club life returns to how it was prior to the pandemic, we look forward to welcoming Devin and his family to celebrate his many club, province and international achievements. What a night that will be!
Of course, for Devin to set a record, this means he had to surpass a record set by someone else. As is so happens, he passed Gordon D’Arcy, his fellow Lansdowne clubman’s long-standing record of 261 caps for Leinster. With the rotation of modern squads, many thought Gordon’s record would never be surpassed.
Devin Toner is a remarkable individual and a phenomenal athlete. All your friends at Lansdowne FC wish you continued success in the blue of Leinster.
To borrow from cricket, Devin Toner 262 Caps Not Out