Leinster, of course, won the inaugural Celtic League in 2001. Their winover Munster in the all-Irish Final at Lansdowne Road in December saw Matt Williams' team take their first major trophy after a triumphant run. Indeed, the success of the Irish provinces in this innovative competition(three of the four Irish provinces won through to the 2001semi-finals) sparked a huge interest in the Celtic League among Irish rugby fans.
TG4's exclusive live television coverage of the Celtic League won thechannel many new friends. The channel covered the opening rounds and acted as host broadcaster for other UK channels for the Final.
Sixteen participating teams are divided into two pools for the opening rounds of the Celtic League and the competition kicks off on the last weekend in August. TG4 will provide live Friday evening coverage of theopening rounds each week beginning on Friday 30th August with Leinster v Pontyrpridd, live from Donnybrook.
All four Irish provinces are included in the channel's attractivelist of fixtures which features a number of Irish derbys including Leinster v Connacht in the 3rd round and Ulster v Munster in the 5th round.
Welcoming the announcement, TG4 Leascheannasam, Padhraic S Ciardha, saidthe channel had pioneered television coverage of the Celtic League."We were delighted with the audience reaction to our coverage of the first season of the Celtic League, our major international sports competition," he said "It proved to be a natural fit for our sports schedule, given theclose contacts we have with our Celtic cousins in other areas of programming. We are very proud to have secured these rights and look forward to bringing top class club rugby to our audience again in 2002."
Once again TG4's live coverage will be provided by Nemeton, the independentproduction company from Waterford. The programme will be presented by Garry Mac Donncha with commentary and analysis by Eoghan S Neachtain and Gearsid Mac Donncha.
Celtic League matches live on TG4 2002/03.