Dave Gallagher – Rugby legend
Dave Gallaher (30 October 1873 – 4 October 1917) was a New Zealand rugby union footballer, best known as the captain of “The Originals”, the first New Zealand national rugby union team to be known as the All Blacks.
Born in Ramelton, Co. Donegal in October 1873, Dave was the seventh child of shopkeeper James Henry Gallaher and teacher Maria McCloskie from Belfast. Seeking new opportunities and a more financially secure future for their family, the Gallaher’s set sail for three months on the ‘Lady Jocelyn’ from Belfast in 1878 for a new life in New Zealand thousands of miles away.
Originally settling in Katikati in the Bay of Plenty, the family moved to Auckland in the 1890s and it was there that Dave played his provincial rugby. He played 26 representative matches for Auckland, including the first ever Ranfurly Shield defence, and 36 for the All Blacks, including 6 tests. His All Black career spanned from 1903 to 1906,
Dave fought in the Boer War serving as a corporal in the 6th and 10th New Zealand Contingents of Mounted Rifles. He also volunteered to fight in World War I. He saw action at Ypres, and was killed during the Passchendaele offensive on 4 October 1917. He is buried at Nine Elms Cemetery, Poperinge, where his gravestone bears the silver fern. Two of his brothers were also killed in France.
In November 2005 the New Zealand rugby team came to Donegal to honour the memory of “Dave Gallaher” their legendary captain
The team visited the guest house (Crammond House, Market Square) in Ramelton where Gallaher was born. This house is just a few metres from the Lennon Lodge. Team Captain Tana Umaga unveiled a plaque in his memory
“You’ve got a guy that came from Ireland, made a life in New Zealand, became the All Black captain, the most successful sporting team of all time…to then go to war to represent New Zealand, not being a native, and to then die in war…you just about well up thinking of that man”
Brent Pope, RTE Rugby pundit.