On my own behalf and on behalf of the IRFU, I extend my best wishes to City of Armagh RFC for the 2019-20 season and hope it is a successful one.
The start of this season heralds the staging of the Rugby World Cup in Japan and I know you join with me in wishing every success to coach, Joe Schmidt, and his management team, together with the Ireland playing squad.
This Rugby World Cup year creates a very busy season, taking account of Ireland’s women 15s team; the under 20s; men’s and women’s sectors; the fortunes of our provincial clubs in the Guinness Pro14 and Heineken Champions Cup and also the myriad club, women’s, third level and schools competitions through the grass roots landscapes.
While by its nature the professional game takes precedence on the International stage, the welfare of the domestic amateur game is of paramount importance to me and to the IRFU.
Having been chairman of the AIL and Third Level, I am acutely aware of the position of clubs and I take this opportunity to acknowledge the committed and critical role being played by our huge number of volunteers, who make it all happen.
I greatly welcome the IRFU’s signing of a five year partnership with Energia, which sees the electricity and gas supply company become the official energy partner to Irish rugby and also title sponsor of both the men’s and women’s All Ireland League
This year is the 30th anniversary of the AIL and the support being demonstrated by Energia is timely. It will hopefully give a lift to all clubs in the AIL, both men and women. I appreciate the struggles of some clubs at all levels and hope this season 2019-20 will be a special one.
I wish your club, its members, volunteers, players and supporters every success and enjoyment for the rugby year.
President – IRFU