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."
The Ireland Women's team played their first ever November Test match at the Twickenham Stoop last Saturday. We take a look back at the journey as Ireland capped nine new players in a rain-swept London.
Ireland Women's head coach Tom Tierney said that despite an 8-3 loss to England in their autumn international, the team put in an 'outstanding' effort and to get nine new caps on the pitch is 'a massive boost'.
Head coach Tom Tierney spoke to Irish Rugby TV about the Ireland Women's historic November international clash with England on Saturday. Ireland have eleven new caps in the squad as they build towards the Six Nations.
Ireland Women's second row Sophie Spence talks to Irish Rugby TV about being nominated for the World Rugby Women's Player of the Year honour. The winner will be announced at the World Rugby Awards at Battersea Evolution in London on Sunday.
There are three enforced changes to the Ireland team to play Argentina, with Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy and Chris Henry all coming in up front. Watch as head coach Joe Schmidt announces the side for the quarter-final and flanker Henry talks about his inclusion.
Previewing Ireland's quarter-final clash with Argentina, hooker Rory Best said: "We've trained well and prepared well. It's a massive game. For us, it's going to need another step up from where we were last week against France. I think that's exciting. As a player, you want to be pushed to the end of your ability and there's no doubt Argentina will do that."
Ireland Women's head coach Tom Tierney, scrum coach Derek Dowling and captain Niamh Briggs talk about their open training session at Kingspan Stadium and preparations for next month's clash with England and the 2016 Women's Six Nations.
'It's a quiet presence that takes up a lot of space' - Joe Schmidt spoke today about the impact of losing Paul O'Connell and his inspirational role in the Ireland squad. The head coach also commented on the incredible contribution of Jared Payne and Peter O'Mahony.
Robbie Henshaw, who starred in the centre against France, talks about Paul O'Connell's influence on him, calling the Limerick man a 'true inspirational leader' and 'a massive loss' to the Ireland squad following his tournament-ending hamstring injury.
Ireland team manager Michael Kearney issues an update on the injuries suffered by Peter O'Mahony, Paul O'Connell and Jonathan Sexton, while full-back Rob Kearney reflects on the 24-9 pool win over France.