Some stiff challenges await the four provinces in next season's European Champions Cup following today's draw for the 2016/17 pool stages.
The Irish Rugby Football Union Charitable Trust was formed in 1978 to assist severely injured rugby players in their everyday lives, and help to restore their confidence and independence.
There are currently 33 seriously injured players registered with the Charitable Trust in Ireland, most of whom are wheelchair bound and have some form of permanent paralysis.
The support provided by the Trust takes many forms and includes financial assistance for medical, nursing and caring expenses, home alterations, education and training costs, provision of wheelchairs and specialised equipment together with motor vehicles and vehicle conversion costs. The Trust also maintains regular contact with each injured player and their families.
Over the past few years the average annual cost of financial support provided by the Trust has been approximately €200,000. This is partly funded by direct grants from the IRFU along with various fundraising campaigns and donations. Fundraising events include sponsored walks every two yeas to coincide with Lions tours and the Rugby World Cup, golf tournaments, sports quizzes and gala dinners on the eve of a home Six Nations match along with the Friends of the Charitable Trust scheme.
The Friends scheme is important to the Trust as it provides a regular income from subscriptions with membership currently in excess of 400. A Friends scheme for clubs is also in place with each member club receiving a Friends plaque for display in their clubhouse.
The IRFU monitors the Trust through six Trustees: Ronnie Dawson, Don Crowley, John Hussey, Roly Meates and Ian McIlrath.
The day to day affairs of the Trust are administered by a sub-committee currently comprising: John Callaghan (Chairman), Cliff Beirne, Ollie Campbell, Declan Madden, Billy Dawson, John Doherty, Gerry Drennan, Joe Gallagher, Leo Galvin, Stan Huey, Keith Mangan, Pat O'Connor, Dr. Noel O'Mahony, Mick Quinn and Michael Whelan.
The IRFU Charitable Trust is registered as a charity in the Republic of Ireland under Charity Reference CHY6120. In Northern Ireland the charity has a Registered Charity number XR87763 and is registered as the IRFU Charitable Trust (Northern Ireland) to take advantage of Gift Aid tax concessions.Donate Online Now