Mason blazed trail for ‘annoying’ pal Healey

Simon Mason: Will be returning to Belfast in the new year for a reunion to mark the 20th anniversary of the first Irish team to conquer Europe. Photo: Sportsfile.

As kids at St Anselm’s College, the Christian Brothers school on Merseyside, they launched the most lethal of half-back alliances in the U12s.

Let loose a few years later on an unsuspecting world, they embarked on different routes to common goals, like winning the European Cup and international caps.

Out-half Simon Mason blazed the trail for his ‘annoying’ sidekick, four goals on a winning debut for Ireland against Wales in 1996 followed by six penalties in winning the Heineken Cup for Ulster three years later.

His St Anselm’s partner, Austin Healey, got there with Leicester and England after the turn of the century,

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