IRFU announce plans for 150th celebrations

by Aaron Dunne
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The IRFU has announced plans for its 150th year celebrations which will take place during the 2024/25 season.

Throughout the 2024/25 season, the IRFU will mark the 150th anniversary of Ireland’s inaugural international rugby match, which took place between Ireland and England on 15th February 1875, with a calendar of events to celebrate the game of rugby in Ireland.

Since Autumn 2022, a Working Party, chaired by former Ireland International player and Team Manager Paul Dean, has worked closely to develop events which bring together past and present rugby communities across all four provinces to celebrate the sport’s standing at local and national levels. In doing so, a stated aim of the 150th Anniversary is to make the sport more inclusive and to inspire future generations.

There will be commemorative 150 matches honouring men’s and women’s rugby and, in addition to a specially commissioned Book and Documentary, there will also be other digital activations over the course of the season.

One of the flagship events will be the inaugural ‘Rugby in Ireland Day’ in Spring 2025 which will showcase the best of clubs across the island of Ireland.

The IRFU 150th will also highlight the work of the ‘Spirit of Rugby’ department through a number of exciting initiatives including support around Disability Festivals, highlighting the development of the Youth Council and by hosting a series of webinars across a range of topics reflecting the changing face of the game in Ireland and the season will include a LGBTQI+ Pride Tournament in the summer of 2025.

The 150th celebrations will then conclude with the British & Irish Lions facing Argentina in Aviva Stadium for the first time on Irish soil on Friday, June 20th 2025.

And there are lots more exciting announcements and partnerships to follow. IRFU President Greg Barrett commented: “The IRFU is proud to celebrate the 150th anniversary of our first International match throughout the course of the 2024/25 season.

The game has been played in Ireland for more than 150 years, with a number of our founding member clubs marking their Sesquicentennial celebrations recently, making it one of the oldest sporting organisations in Ireland. A huge amount of planning is underway to mark this special year in the IRFU’s history and we are excited about rolling out these plans in greater detail in the weeks and months ahead.”

Paul Dean, Chair of the IRFU’s 150th Working Party, said: “Irish rugby has many key parts who have each played a role in its success over the course of the last 150 years. It is our ambition to celebrate all who have helped sustain and grow the game across the various men’s and women’s Clubs, Schools, Universities and Youths sections through to the professional game.

We are delighted to partner with the IRFU Charitable Trust, who do so much positive work to help seriously injured rugby players. Throughout the course of the 150th celebrations, proceeds will be generated and distributed to the IRFU Charitable Trust who we will partner up with for their annual Golf Day.”

IRFU 150 Working Party

Paul Dean (Chair), Niall Rynne, Declan Madden, Michael Collopy, Yvonne Comer, Rory Best, Ciara Griffin, Rob Kearney, Feargal O’Rourke, Padraig Power, Peter Breen, Aoife Clarke, Garrett Tubridy.

IRFU president Greg Barrett (left) pictured with author Dr David Doolin at the launch of his book ‘A History of Rugby in Leinster’ in the Library Room, RDS Ireland in November.

Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

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