The Irish Rugby Football Union today presented its 2013/14 Annual Report and Accounts, reporting a 7.3 million euro surplus due to improved GUINNESS Series ticket sales and increased prize-monies thanks to a better than 'budgeted' finish in the RBS 6 Nations Championship and another year of strong provincial performances.
This success resulted in a smaller than expected cash deficit of €1 million (versus €4.5 million in 2012/13) after non-cash items, such as depreciation and amortised income, were accounted for.
The strong financial performance will allow for increased provincial and domestic game funding and an additional €1million investment in the Union's club loan scheme.
However, Honorary Treasurer Tom Grace urged caution based on the fragility of the wider economic recovery and the potential impact of changes to 'free-to-air' broadcasting rules and possible limitations to sports sponsorships agreements.
Presenting the accounts, Grace said: "As the economy slowly finds its feet the Irish people continue to get behind their team, and we were very pleased with the increased ticket sales for the 2013 GUINNESS Series.
"Success off the pitch was matched by big performances on it and the RBS 6 Nations prize money, in particular, has provided a welcome boost.
"The 2013/14 season demonstrated once again that supporting the national team at the Aviva (Stadium) enables the IRFU to continue to make significant funds available to the professional and domestic games."
Ireland Under-20 head coach Nigel Carolan looks forward to the 2015 campaign and discusses the objectives for his squad this season. There is a strong emphasis on player development at this level which Carolan believes is important in bringing young talent through to the professional game.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's clash with Australia, Ireland flanker Rhys Ruddock said: "We need to bring the defensive physicality we had against South Africa, as Australia have threats all over the park. We need to be at the top of our game."
As the countdown continues to Ireland's GUINNESS Series showdown with Australia, number 8 Jamie Heaslip talks about the Georgia game and what it will be like to face an 'old friend' in Michael Cheika this Saturday.
Behind the scenes with the Three Tunnel Cam at the Aviva Stadium for the Ireland v South Africa clash in the 2014 GUINNESS Series. Ireland ran out 29-15 winners with Jonathan Sexton winning the man-of-the-match award.