On behalf of the Irish Rugby Football Union, I am delighted to wish all participants and followers of Irish Rugby a very Happy Christmas and a safe and peaceful New Year – Ian McIlrath, President of the IRFU.
As we arrive at the halfway point of the season we leave behind a year of unprecedented success, which I believe provides hope that we can also scale the heights in 2019.
And what a momentous year in rugby it promises to be – highlighted by the staging in Japan next Autumn of the Rugby World Cup. In the exciting countdown to the big event added spice is Ireland’s defence of the GUINNESS Six Nations Championship with home matches against England and France, followed by the GUINNESS Summer Series warm-up fixtures against Italy and Wales at the Aviva Stadium, and England and Wales again, in Cardiff.
Further appeal also on the international stage are the fortunes of the Ireland Women’s, Under-20 and Sevens teams, together with the challenges by our provincial squads in the GUINNESS PRO14 and European tournaments.
And of course there is the traditional busy activity on the domestic front which carries its own particular appeal throughout the Women’s, club, schools, refereeing and third level sectors.
Across the Irish Rugby landscape, therefore, another year of great interest and promise is in prospect in all segments of our game.
And while I commend my fellow Union and Branch Committee members for their work to help make it all happen in league with our professional staffs, I pay particular regard to our huge army of loyal and committed volunteers. You are the very life blood of our game and your contributions are warmly acknowledged.
So here’s hoping that 2019 will provide us with every further enjoyment and success.
Seasonal greetings to all.