Ireland international and former Ireland Under-20 out-half Ian Madigan was on hand to launch Electric Ireland’s continued sponsorship of the Ireland Under-20s’ Six Nations Championship home matches.
The Ireland Under-20s will host both France (this Friday) and England (Friday, March 17) at Donnybrook on the Friday nights preceding the Ireland Men’s RBS 6 Nations fixtures against the same opposition. The U-20s’ home series provide a unique opportunity to see Ireland’s future stars in action and is an ideal way to introduce the next generation to international rugby.
As the Ireland U-20s look ahead to a massive test against France this Friday at Donnybrook, Ian Madigan fondly remembers his own U-20 encounters with les Bleuets.
The former Blackrock College and Leinster star put in a stunning man-of-the-match performance to kick a last-minute penalty back in 2009 and give the Ireland U-20s a memorable Six Nations win over France. He went on to play 14 times for the Ireland U-20s before excelling with Leinster and the senior national team.
Speaking at the launch of Electric Ireland’s sponsorship, he said: “Playing Under-20 rugby for Ireland was a huge honour and a key stepping stone in my development as a rugby player. Pulling on a green jersey is always special and to do it with your peers and be part of a Six Nations weekend is an incredible opportunity.
“So many of the squad that I played with at Under-20 level have since gone on to become an integral part of Joe Schmidt’s current Ireland team – the likes of Conor Murray, Jack McGrath, Peter O’Mahony and many more. It really shows just how important games at this level are.”
The talented out-half is encouraging rugby supporters to come along to the games which are competitively fought as well as providing an opportunity to see the next generation of Irish rugby talent.
“We are very lucky in Ireland to have such a well-developed under-age system which prepares players for a professional career in the game,” added Madigan.
“Playing rugby for Ireland is the ultimate dream for all players. Under-20s is a major milestone as can be seen from the list of players who then went onto play for their country. There is always a great atmosphere at the games, the quality of the action is excellent and I would encourage people to come along and show their support. As in any sport the home crowd always make a big difference.”
Niall Dineen, Head of Commercial at Electric Ireland, commented: “Electric Ireland has a long tradition of supporting young people in sport and we look forward to working with the IRFU and helping to promote this year’s U-20 Six Nations home games. At Electric Ireland, we are committed to rewarding loyalty and we would encourage rugby fans to come out and experience the Six Nations atmosphere and see Irish rugby’s future stars in action.
“Their talent, commitment and dedication to rugby is deserving of our support. We are therefore delighted to confirm that Electric Ireland has continued its support of the U-20 Six Nations home series for a further three years up until the 2019/20 season.”