Highlights: September 2023
Wins against Romania, Tonga and South Africa have Ireland poised at the top of Pool B leading into their final group fixture against Scotland on October 7. Having already banked comprehensive victories in pre-season and in their first outings of the tournament, a colossal statement victory over the reigning champions in front of a raucous Irish crowd in Paris has served to underline Ireland’s credentials. However, the Scottish will have other ideas.
The positive start to the competition has also been amplified by individual achievement with Bundee Aki‘s sensational form coming as he earned his 50th Irish cap. Most notably, Johnny Sexton ousted Ronan O’Gara as the country’s all-time points scorer when he crossed the whitewash for a bonus-point try prior to half-time against Tonga.
Rugby for All
With rugby dominating the hearts and minds, we joined Energia and Leinster Rugby for their Rugby For All blitz which took place at Energia Park. Our thanks to our members who showed up to support the event including Will Connors, Brittany Hogan, Dan Leavy, Martin Maloney, Ross Molony, Jordi Murphy and Mike Ross. The initiative seeks to grow participation in rugby among those with physical and learning differences and the blitz saw mixed ability teams from across Leinster take part.
Tackle Your Feelings
As schools put their first weeks of the new term behind them, we brought Alan Quinlan back to his alma mater at the Abbey School in Tipperary to meet with Liam Carew and Shane O’Connor, two students who are helping to inform mental wellbeing supports in schools across Ireland.
Liam and Shane were winners of the BT Young Scientists and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) for their project; “Assessing the impact of second-level education on key aspects of adolescents’ life and development.”
Ireland were strongly represented in the Barbarians Women’s XVs with current and former internationals Kathryn Buggy, Ciara Cooney, Ciara Griffin, Mary Healy, Ailsa Hughes, Ciara O’Connor and Lindsay Peat turning out for the invitational side against both South Africa in Cape Town, and against Munster in Thomond Park as part of a historic double header with the men’s side.
This month we called by those whom many of the above paved a path for. Ahead of the final interprovincial weekend which saw Leinster Rugby halt Munster’s tilt at three-in-row, we met contracted squad members to share news of some developments in their game and inform them about our involvement in the Protect Integrity Online project with EU Athletes. Our partners at N-Pro and Impact Gumshields also called by the squad as they step up their preparations for the inaugural WXV tournament in Dubai.
Meanwhile, Lucy Mulhall and GAA convert Hannah Tyrrell were nominated for the Goss.ie Sportswoman of the Year.
We were delighted to facilitate a meeting between several of our Connacht Rugby members and Platform 94 team in Galway. The business is a centre of excellence for scaling tech businesses, providing access to the knowledge, network, funding and supports that will unlock and enable companies to scale and build thriving businesses in the West of Ireland.
Last year, Ultan Dillane moved on from the region to link up with Ronan O’Gara at La Rochelle. Capped 19-times by Ireland, the Tralee born forward has found a new lease of life in the historic port town on France’s western coast. Now out of the Irish picture, Dillane made his presence felt as he came off the bench to help La Rochelle to success in Dublin in the Heineken Champions Cup where they overcame Leinster.
Prior to departing Ireland, Dillane had joined forces with his former teammate Sean O’Brien who had developed a revolutionary design for shoulder pads that offers an alternative to traditional strapping.
Ulster Rugby out-half Jake Flannery also provides an ideal case study for the merits of personal development. Having recently graduated from the University of Limerick with a degree in Chemical Engineering, the Tipperary-born talent agreed a three-year contract extension with the northern province in the summer, just a year after joining from Munster Rugby.
After 14 years since his professional debut for Leinster Rugby, 31-times capped Ian Madigan has announced his retirement from the game. In a touching statement, Madigan thanked his friends, family and coaches for all their help throughout his rugby career, stressing that while he was calling time due to a knee injury, his was not a ‘sad story.’
Indeed, the Dubliner can reflect on a successful career that has seen him take in spells with Leinster where he won two European Cups, a Challenge cup and two Pro-12 titles. Having left for Bordeaux in 2016, Madigan moved onto Bristol Bears before returning to Ireland in 2000, finishing out his playing days with Ulster Rugby. Madigan will always be fondly remembered for helping to steer Ireland home in Johnny Sexton’s absence as they booked their place in the RWC 2015 quarter-final with a 24-9 win over France.
A hugely popular figure in Irish Rugby circles, Madigan now joins the coaching staff at Blackrock College RFC as attack coach for both Men’s and Women’s 1st XV squads.
Having recently marked five years since the end of his rugby career, former Leinster Rugby prospect Charlie Rock decided to share some of his learnings as a career transitioned athlete with his LinkedIn network. Ahead of our Rookie Camp, we asked Charlie to expand on his time in the game and how his experiences have guided his post-rugby career.
Our congratulations to Johnny O’Connor who has linked up with Henry Shefflin’s coaching team as the new Lead Athletic Development Coach for the Galway hurlers.
On September 15 we also remembered Nevin Spence who passed away following a tragic accident in 2012.Back to News