Retiring rugby captain Mike Ireland plays final Heaton Moor game with all seven sons

Mike Ireland scrummed down with all seven of his sons Credit: Heaton Moor RUFC

When amateur rugby union captain Mike Ireland decided to hang up his boots for the last time, little did he know about the unique send off he would be given.

The father-of-15 from Reddish near Stockport didn't play sport as a child and took up rugby with his children at the age of 41.

Now, 15 years later, the veteran was joined on the field by all seven of his sons playing in the same team for his final match.

The eight men made up the forward pack of Heaton Moor 3rd XV, beating opponents Wythenshawe 65-7 at the weekend.

Mike told The Telegraph it was a "fantastic" occasion that amounted to "a dream come true."

A family affair: The forwards in the official team line-up Credit: Heaton Moor RUFC

He explained how he has played many games with his sons over the years, but never all together at the same time.

Three of Mike's daughters have previously played rugby at Heaton Moor too, making the sport a real family affair.

The Ireland family forwards on the field at Green Lane Credit: Lucy Croucher

Before the game, the Rugby Football Union said: "Facing one Ireland is daunting enough so we can only imagine what facing 8 will feel like!"

Heaton Moor RUFC later tweeted: "A rugby first, an amazing thing to be a part of as a club.

"Thanks for everything Mike, happy retirement. What a way to go!"

The 56-year-old chartered engineer is now planning a holiday to Thailand with his wife Donna.

But with some of their 15 grandchildren already part of the club's mini teams, Mike is unlikely to become a stranger at the Heatons Sports Club any time soon.