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Irish Rugby TV: Emerald Warriors Ready For 2019 Union Cup

Irish Rugby TV: Emerald Warriors Ready For 2019 Union Cup

Emerald Warriors are in the final stages of preparation for the 2019 Union Cup – Europe’s biggest LGBT+ inclusive rugby tournament. The club are tournament hosts and have also entered three teams to compete for honours among 45 teams from 15 countries in Dublin this Saturday and Sunday (June 8-9).

Emerald Warriors’ 1st XV finished second in Division 9 of the 2018/19 Leinster Metro League, losing out in the final to the unbeaten BGF Ravens, while their 2nd XV cut their teeth in Division 11.

Since then, the club’s focus has been solely on working towards the Union Cup.

“Generally we would train twice a week, but we’ve stepped that up to three times a week now for the Union Cup,” said 1st XV captain Oran Sweeney. “There’s a lot more fitness work and we’re trying to refine the skills with the training sessions and stepping up the intensity.

“The pressure is on for the host team but, at the same time, we’re confident in our abilities. All three teams are there to put on a good show to the crowd.”

The club’s focus on developing players has paid dividends in recent seasons. Peter Faherty is their head coach, and he said: “Long-term it’s been about getting guys who’ve never played rugby into rugby. Last year, we had a huge influx of players. We didn’t have enough games for them. We’d only one team so we pushed on to try two teams. I knew they’d perform.

Throwing a pass, making a decision on a pitch and seeing them grow in confidence in a sport that’s quite difficult to be confident at – when you see that, when you see a person grow – you know you’ve achieved something as a club.”

Emerald Warriors staged an open training session at DCU Sports Campus where the Union Cup will be held. Ireland captain Rory Best was on hand to greet the players and offer some last-minute tips to his fellow front row players.

Awareness around the competition is gathering momentum as the first game approaches and Best is keen to put his shoulder to the wheel. He said:

If we don’t put these things in the forefront of people’s minds then people don’t become aware. That is the big thing. It’s to make sure that people become aware that this is going on and the importance of it.”

For more details and to purchase tickets for the Union Cup, go to www.unioncupdublin.ie.