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Highlights: August 2023

Highlights: August 2023

Bittersweet

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

When 42 players were first named by Andy Farrell on May 30, the conversations quickly began as to who would have a seat on the plane to the Rugby World Cup in France. Ultimately, 33 players earned the call to represent their country with Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray and Keith Earls selected for their fourth global tournament. 

Prior to picking up an injury against Samoa in the final warm-up game, Cian Healy may have counted amongst that number. Capped 125 times, the veteran prop is a notable absentee from the travelling group. Several others have also returned to their clubs and we salute them all for their efforts over the summer. They may yet have a part to play. 

It has a been a particularly momentous few weeks for Earls as the Munster winger scored a sensational try against England to mark his 100th cap in front of family, friends and a loving home crowd at the Aviva Stadium. 

 

MSL Motor Group Empowering Ireland’s Rugby Players

In early August, Rugby Players Ireland announced a partnership with MSL Motor Group, the family-owned business dating back to 1959. Together, they proudly stand behind the exceptional talents of Ireland’s rugby players as they gear up for a busy few weeks in France. 

In a video to launch the partnership, Jimmy O’Brien features alongside young members of Clontarf Rugby Club, who share in Jimmy’s dream to go green – with a nod to the unmistakable EQB, the electric vehicle that symbolises the future of sustainable mobility.

 

Rookie Camp 2023

All roads led to the heart of Ireland in mid-August as the Rugby Players Ireland/IRFU Rookie Camp 2023 pitched up at Glasson Lakehouse. Led by Marcus Horan and facilitated by Rugby Players Ireland staff over two days, 52 of the latest recruits in the men’s game joined us for a comprehensive series of workshops designed to help them transition into the world of professional rugby. Our thanks to our contributors who included Odessa Leadership, B5 Consultancy, LIA, N-Pro and Impact Gumshields. 

 

Bidding Farewell

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Adam Byrne announced his retirement at the age of 29, having left Connacht at the end of the season. Capped by Ireland against Argentina in 2017, Byrne played 66 times for Leinster and often proved to be a handful when fit as he made his way to 24 tries. His final season was blighted by injury, restricting him to six appearances for Connacht last season. The biomedical engineer now turns his attentions to his role as Sales Engineer and Performance Specialist with Output Sports. 

Former Connacht Rugby player Peter Robb has also called time on his career. The imposing centre, who featured in Connacht’s infamous PRO12 win over his native Leinster in 2016, has struggled with injury in recent seasons and played out his final campaign with Ealing Trailfinders. 

 

Paris Bound

As the excitement of the FIFA Women’s World Cup began to subside, we sat down with Anna McGann who was part of the Irish 7s squad that secured qualification for the Olympics in Paris next year. Frustratingly, in the weeks following that success, McGann suffered a bad injury that will see her out of action until spring of 2024. Nevertheless, she remains determined to play her part from the sidelines. 

Check out our interview with Anna here.

Squad Visits

Over the past month we called to our Women’s XVs members at their base in Abbotstown, while we also made the trip to Limerick to meet with the Munster Rugby squad. Through these group meetings we advise our players on developments in their game, with a particular focus on our representative arm and the matters with which we are currently dealing. Furthermore, we also highlight our involvement in Protect Integrity Online, a project run by EU Athletes and funded by the European Commission to combat issues such as match-fixing. 

 

Teaming up for Player Safety

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Rugby Players Ireland and N-Pro Headgear were joined by Linda Djougang, Ryan Baird and former player Danny Kenny (now of N-Pro) to announce a new partnership that combines the players’ association’s commitment to player welfare with N-Pro’s cutting-edge headgear technology.

To enhance their safety and wellbeing, all members of Rugby Players Ireland will be offered headgear while the players’ association will also continue to work closely with N-Pro to promote the adoption and usage of the N-Pro head guard in the wider rugby community.

 

Achievements

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Our congratulations to former Ireland Xvs and 7s player Hannah Tyrrell who inspired Dublin to All-Ireland glory over Kerry for whom Louise Galvin featured at midfield. Tyrrell returned to the Dublin fold in 2021 having hung up her rugby boots. More recognition has since followed with Tyrrell awarded the PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Month award for her excellence in this year’s decider.

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Back on the rugby front, Ciarán Frawley, Calvin Nash and Tom Stewart all made their international debuts as Ireland overcame Italy. Stewart and Cian Prendergast would go on to make their full debuts against Samoa and England respectively. Diarmuid Barron was also exposed to the Test rugby environment when he was called into the squad ahead of the final warm-up game in Biarritz. 

Meanwhile, Nick McCarthy marked his debut for the USA with a try in their win over Ireland’s Rugby World Cup opponents, Romania. Back at McCarthy’s old stomping ground, both Lee Barron and Sam Prendergast signed their first professional deals with Leinster Rugby. 

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