Speaking at the announcement of the sponsorship deal, Response Engineering Group director Sean Murphy said: "Munster are the current interprovincial champions and we hope that our involvement will help them retain the coveted title in the 2007/8 season. We see our support for the team as a perfect fit for Response, as both groups strive for excellence, one on the field of play and the other in the field of business.â0
He added that they see Womenâ00s rugby as an emerging force in Irish sport, increasing in popularity all the time, particularly since the performance of the Irish Womenâ00s team in the World Cup in Canada last year where the Irish team finished in the top eight teams in the world.
Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald welcomed the linking up of Response Engineering Group with the Munster senior Womenâ00s team, adding: â00We are delighted to be associated with such a successful Munster-based company who lead the field in their area. Uniting one of our most successful representative teams with a company of such calibre as Response Engineering is an indication of the steady growth in the Womenâ00s game in the province and we thank Response Engineering for their support.â0
The Response Group is one of the foremost Irish companies engaged in the designing, building and operating of water and waste water treatment plants and recently acquired the Carlow based CSL, which specialises in utility operations and maintenance in the water and waste water treatment sector.
The Munster Womenâ00s team has been the dominant force in interprovincial rugby over the last decade, winning all but one of their interprovincial championships. Of Ireland's 26-strong World Cup squad from 2006, eleven of those were from Munster, and nine of those players are currently training with the Munster Womenâ00s squad.
Under the new coaching partnership of Donal O'Driscoll (Ballincollig) and Fiona Steed, Irelandâ00s most-capped female player, the Munster Womenâ00s team have been back at training since late July, with a training squad of 34 currently being put through their paces at Fermoy RFCâ00s excellent facilities.
These 34 players were chosen from two open sessions, with eight Munster clubs now represented, including Clonmel, Shannon, Waterpark, UL Bohemians, Nenagh Ormond, Clonakilty, Highfield and Clanwilliam.
Included in the training squad is last year's Munster Womenâ00s Player of the Year Paula Oâ00Connor, as well as the 19-year-old Nicole Fitzgerald who picked up her first Irish cap during this year's Six Nations. The squad also includes two inter-county Gaelic footballers - Niamh Briggs (Waterford) and Mairead Kelly (Cork).
The Munster Womenâ00s team kick off their defence of their interprovincial crown on Saturday, September 8 against Ulster, and face last year's beaten finalists Leinster on Saturday, September 29.