Having been brought up in a family whose involvement in and contribution to the game of rugby was, to say the least, considerable, it is hardly surprising that Peter Boyle's interest and participation in the game, from an early age, were nurtured and encouraged by his father, the late Cyril.
Rugby was always very high on the agenda in the Boyle household. Cyril was a player of considerable substance with Trinity and Lansdowne and one of three brothers all of whom played for Leinster. The other two were Douglas and Charles Vesey, who also played for Ireland being capped on nine occasions between 1935 and 1939 and was a member of the Lions team that toured South Africa in 1938 and at 91 years of age is the oldest surviving Irish international and the oldest surviving Lion. A former judge with a very distinguished record in the 1939-45 war, he lives in Exmouth and still retains a great interest in the game.
"My father was a great source of encouragement to me from my earliest years, during my days playing for The High School, Trinity and Wanderers," said Peter.
His father had a lifetime of involvement in the game, a crucial factor in Peter maintaining the family tradition. Cyril represented Trinity on the Leinster Branch and was President of the branch in 1955-56. He was an Ireland selector from 1955 to 1959 and one of Ireland's two representatives on the Lions selection committee for the tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1959. The other was the late Dave Barry of Dolphin.
That Lions team was captained by Ronnie Dawson. Cyril was President of Trinity on two occasions.
Like father like son, Peter played for Trinity and also represented Trinity on the Leinster Branch before becoming honorary treasurer of the Branch for a period of 13 years. He was President of the
Branch in 1983-84, a distinction attained before he had celebrated his 30th birthday.
He was initially elected on to the IRFU committee in the 1986-87 season, served on the committee for a few years and after being elected honorary treasurer for the Branch, he rejoined the IRFU Committee. He has served on many of the union sub committees, is a member of the Board of ERC (European Rugby Cup) since 1996-97 and three years ago succeeded Dr. Syd Millar as one of Ireland's representatives on the International Rugby Board, after Millar was named as Chairman of the Board. He is also a director of the Six Nations.
...Peter Boyle at Lansdowne Road...
Now in the Presidential chair of the IRFU, he is the latest in a long line of former Trinity men who
have filled that office. "My hope is that the Irish and provincial teams will continue to prosper and that we can help iron out the difficulties in the domestic game," he said.
"The provinces made a great start in the Heineken Cup and hopefully can maintain a vigorous challenge. I honestly believe that the national team has a very good chance of winning the Six Nations. We have some great players who have achieved a great deal, lifted the profile of the game in this country and beyond. I believe the players under Eddie O'Sullivan and his back-up team can go on to further success."
He looks forward with eager anticipation to the rebuilding of Lansdowne Road.
"The redevelopment is on track and we have reached the point where we wanted to be at this stage of the project. There is huge enthusiasm for the new stadium and we have got great support from Dublin City Council, from the Government and the relevant department who have been very encouraging and see it as a very worthwhile project for the city."
Of course it is a big challenge on so many fronts, but right now the priority issues for the union are the re-development of Lansdowne Road and the domestic game. We are aware of clubs' difficulties and aware that many are dissatisfied about some elements. It would, in my view, help if the club game was amateur, but the game is open and the clubs are entitled to pay players if they so wish. Of course we know how important an issue it is and how important the clubs and the schools are to the game and the dedicated work being done in these areas. You know we all come from the clubs.
"The AIB League is under review. The clubs have a considerable input themselves into the shape and structure of the league. But I still feel positive that we can get the structure right and sort out the
difficulties that exist. It is an ongoing process and, as I have stated, a priority issue for the IRFU."
In conclusion, he paid tribute to the staff at Lansdowne Road under Chief Executive Philip Browne. "Their contribution and dedication are admirable and in every way vital to the running of the game."
Dublin, April 18, 1954
The High School, Dublin and Dublin University
Wife Joan, two daughters and one son
The High School JCT and SCT; Dublin University,
won Leinster Senior Cup medal in 1976, also played
for Wanderers and a season with Sydney University
President of the Leinster Branch 1983-84
Honorary Treasurer Leinster Branch 1991-92
First elected to IRFU Committee in 1986-87.
Served on IRFU AIL, Disciplinary, Finance and IRFU
Charitable Trust sub-committees.
Director ERC: 1996-97 to present
Director of Six Nations
IRB Representative 2003-04 to present,
Junior Vice President IRFU 2004-05
Senior Vice President IRFU 2005-06
President IRFU: 2006-07
**This article featured in the Ireland v South Africa Match Programme. To purchase copies of the match programme please contact the publishers:
New Century Publishing on tel: +353 1 8398008**