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."
We spoke to Leinster and Ireland winger Dave Kearney after the Captain's Run at Thomond Park as he prepares to take on some familiar faces and some well-capped stars when the Ireland XV play the Barbarians.
Leinster prop Tadhg Furlong is one of two uncapped players in the Ireland XV starting team to play the Barbarians. We caught up with the young prop at Thomond Park as he prepares to pull on the green jersey.
Jamie Heaslip will captain the Ireland XV against the Barbarians at Thomond Park on Thursday. He spoke to Irish Rugby TV about facing the star-studded visitors and the battle he is relishing with his Leinster colleague Shane Jennings, who captains the Baa Baas.
Ireland Under-20 head coach Nigel Carolan has likened the World Rugby Under-20 Championship to 'a mini Six Nations in three weeks'. His side take on Argentina in their tournament opener in Parma next Tuesday.
Ireland Under-20 backs Nick McCarthy and Garry Ringrose and Feargal O'Rourke from team sponsors PwC spoke to Irish Rugby TV as the squad prepare for the World Rugby U-20 Championship which starts next week in Italy.
We caught up with Sean O'Brien at the Canterbury Ireland training kit launch where he spoke about next week's Barbarians game, the build-up to the Rugby World Cup and 'moving forward' with Leinster next season.
We caught up with Ireland international Luke Fitzgerald at the launch of the new Canterbury Ireland training kit. He spoke about his recovery from shoulder surgery and his aim to be fit for the Guinness Summer Series games in August.
Ireland Men's Sevens squad member Matthew D'Arcy is gearing up for a 'long and tough season' of Sevens rugby this summer. "It's very exciting (to be involved), there's a huge opportunity for us all," he said.
IRFU Director of Sevens and head coach Anthony Eddy talks about the Ireland Men's Sevens squad's upcoming tournaments and ambitions, while squad members Cian Aherne and Tom Daly tell us about their enthusiasm to play Sevens for Ireland.
IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora speaks about the newly-announced Ireland Men's Sevens squad and structures, and we also hear from squad member Matthew D'Arcy on the training camps and how he got involved.
IRFU Women's Rugby Ambassador Fiona Coghlan played in three Rugby World Cups and captained Ireland to Grand Slam glory. She believes the 2017 Women's World Cup in Ireland will be a 'hugely successful and exciting' tournament.