The 2019 Union Cup, Europe’s biggest LGBT+ inclusive rugby tournament, was launched today at the home of Irish Rugby, the Aviva Stadium. Minister Katherine Zappone TD, Nigel Owens and Ireland prop Lindsay Peat were on hand to help launch the two-day festival which will be held at Dublin City University on June 8-9.
World-renown international referee Owens, who is a regular visitor to these shores and holds the current world record holder for most Test matches refereed, will be officiating the final in June.
Joining the tournament line-up as official partners are Bank of Ireland, Guinness and Vodafone, who proudly champion diversity and inclusion both on and off the pitch.
Host team Emerald Warriors and tournament supporters, the IRFU, are inviting everyone in Ireland, not just the rugby community, to #TryWithPride to enjoy the family-friendly festival, as international teams battle it out on the pitch.
Union Cup Chairman Richie Fagan said: “We are passionately promoting diversity and inclusion in sport. We believe that rugby is a game for all. There’s never been a more exciting time in Ireland to host an inclusive, high-level rugby tournament, with a dash of glitter. We are excited to showcase pride in rugby, as Ireland has never seen before.”
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD, commented:
Sport is the lifeblood of Ireland. For players and followers alike it sparks excitement, passion and joy. No one should be excluded from this. Sport and rugby are for everyone. By hosting the Union Cup, the Emerald Warriors are leading the way and I am thrilled to see the entire Irish Rugby community row in behind them.
“The inclusion of a dedicated Women’s tournament is a very welcome development and the Union Cup is to be congratulated for striving to be even more inclusive. I look forward to two days of passion and fun this June and wish all who are travelling to Dublin a céad míle fáilte.”
Rory Sheridan, Head of Partnerships with Guinness, said: “As a long standing supporter of rugby, Guinness is proud to announce its partnership with Union Cup Dublin. Rugby has an extraordinary capacity to unite, and this tournament celebrates the unique camaraderie and friendship at the heart of the sport. We are particularly excited that Union Cup Dublin will spotlight inclusivity in the Women’s game by hosting the first dedicated Women’s tournament, alongside the Men’s.”
Gemma Bell, Sponsorship Manager at Bank of Ireland, stated: “Bank of Ireland is proud to be an official partner of this year’s Union Cup tournament. As an organisation, our purpose is to enable our customers, colleagues and communities to thrive and in order to do this – it is important to reflect the diversity of our customer base. Bank of Ireland is at the heart of rugby across the island of Ireland and we are looking forward to welcoming over 50 teams from across Europe to DCU for the Union Cup in June.”
Speaking at the event, James Magill, HR Director at Vodafone, added: “Partnering with the Union Cup allows us to combine two elements of our business that we are immensely proud of – our partnership with Irish Rugby and the Vodafone Ireland LGBT+ Friends Network. This Network is a grassroots, employee-led initiative that aims to inspire, empower and support our LGBT+ colleagues to ensure that everyone at Vodafone Ireland can be at their best both inside and outside of work. We feel that this ethos is absolutely reflected in the ethos of the Union Cup.
“Equally, since we began as Irish Rugby’s lead partner in 2016, we have always focused on the power of the support from the six million people on the island of Ireland through #TeamOfUs. The #TeamOfUs support very much extends to the Union Cup and it is something we are proud to be a part of.”
David Keane, Participation Rugby Operations Manager with the IRFU, remarked:
Rugby prides itself on being an inclusive sport and we are delighted to assist the Emerald Warriors in hosting the Union Cup. We will support the tournament across all of our digital platforms while assisting with the delivery of a great weekend of rugby. We believe this is an opportunity for everyone in Irish Rugby to celebrate diversity and inclusion and underline rugby’s commitment to a sport for all.”
Why is the Union Cup important?
- 17% LGBT+ are members of a sports club or team
- 55% of LGBT men, 56% women not active enough to maintain good health (compared to 33%/45% general population)
- 84% of gay men, 82% gay women reported experiencing homophobic insults while participating in sports
Prices: €10 for adults, €5 for children (under-2s go free). All profits go to Belong To LGBT youth services.