Dublin rugby player stars in world award-winning photo
THE mucky face of the Dublin rugby player Conor Crowley (centre, with hands on ball) helped create a world-class award-winning image for photographer Ray McManus.
The picture of Conor and his fellow players covered in muck, mist, rain and sweat won second prize in the sports singles section of the World Press Photo contest.
Scrum-half Conor first saw the picture in the Evening Herald and saw it later on the main RTE television news programmes on Friday.
"I remember that match. It was an absolute muck-fest," recalled Conor (23), who needed extra time in the showers after the game at Anglesea Road in Dublin last February.
"The rain came down really bad that night. I couldn't really pass the ball. It was covered in so much mud there was no grip on it. Everyone was falling over," he said.
He was playing for Blackrock College RFC against rivals Old Belvedere in the Ulster Bank All-Ireland Division 1A clash last year when Sportsfile agency owner McManus captured the scene to perfection. McManus's picture was selected out of tens of thousands of entries worldwide from thousands of professional photographers in 124 countries.
The acclaimed picture was entitled Scrum-half and was sent around the world. Conor told the Herald: "I was shocked by it all. I got lots of phone calls when the picture came out."
Conor, who now plays for Lansdowne, said he and his Blackrock friends Robert Keogh and Ryan Fisher were delighted with their heat-of-battle photo. He was happy to show he scrubs up well when he agreed to be photographed muck-free today.
He is a business management student at Dublin Institute of Technology at Aungier Street and grew up in Mount Anville Park in Dublin before moving to Milltown in the city.
His father, Vincent Crowley, told the Herald the family were proud of Conor and looked forward to getting the stirring picture enlarged and framed.