Author Archives: Aaron McAllorum

This afternoon.

Just in.

Via RTE:

RTÉ and Virgin Media Television today announced details of its historic partnership to bring all of the 2022 Six Nations Rugby action, free-to-air for Irish sports fans. Starting on Friday 4 February with Ireland U-20’s taking on France, coverage includes all matches from Ireland Men’s, Women’s and U-20s tournaments.

The partnership will see all matches in the Guinness Six Nations equally aired across both broadcasters, showcasing the agonies and ecstasies of Rugby’s Greatest Championship. Ireland open the 2022 edition of the Championship on Saturday 5 February against reigning champions, Wales. Then on 26 March the Women’s Six Nations begins with current title holders England taking on their age-old rivals Scotland.


*burns imaginary telly licence*

Pic; Sportsfile


It’s coming home.

Willie O’Connor eases past Glen Durrant into third round of World Darts Championship (Irish Mirror)

The Ireland team stand for the national anthem before the 2021 Rugby World Cup European Qualifying Tournament against Italy in Italy last September

This afternoon.

Dear Ministers,

We write to you as a deeply discouraged group of current and former Irish women’s rugby players having sadly lost all trust and confidence in the IRFU and its leadership after historic failings.

The aim of this letter is to seek your support now to enable meaningful change for all levels of the women’s game in Ireland from grassroots to green shirts.

We write in the wake of a series of recent disappointments for the international team, on and off the field, but ultimately recent events simply reflect multiple cycles of substandard commitment from the union, inequitable and untrustworthy leadership, a lack of transparency in the governance and operation of the women’s game both domestically and at international level, and an overall total lack of ambition about what it could achieve.

In 2014, the Irish XV team finished the season ranked fourth in the world, having won a Six Nations Grand Slam the year before. This triggered the beginning of a new World Cup cycle and new leadership within Irish rugby with David Nucifora and Anthony Eddy overseeing the women’s programme.

The end of this cycle ended in bitter disappointment as the team finished eighth in their home World Cup in 2017, crashing out in the pool stages.

In response, the IRFU produced an action plan for the game with a number of high level targets. However we find ourselves at the end of 2021 with those plans in disarray and with a large majority of those targets missed, including the XV team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup and the sevens team’s failure to qualify for the Olympics.

Notwithstanding the challenges of the pandemic, these facts represent significant failure.

This is not just a recent issue. At the end of every World Cup cycle in the Irish women’s game, there has been a review.

None of these reviews have ever been made public, with the IRFU cherry picking a handful of findings to present to the public. Many of us have felt that the range of stakeholders asked to take part in these reviews have not always reliably represented the game well enough to capture accurate, independent data and insight – neither do all of us feel fully confident that the information submitted has been factual and designed to act in the best interest of the women’s game.

There are now two ongoing reviews – one into the failure to qualify for the World Cup, and a second looking at the implementation of the current ‘Women in Rugby Action Plan’ which was due to run till 2023 and which covers all aspects of the game across Ireland.

Despite there being well-qualified independent leads running these, we have no faith that in the end that these will do anything significantly different to all those which have gone before and therefore the overarching objective of this letter is to ask for your help to intervene in these processes to make them genuinely transparent and meaningful.

A large group of current players, including some who have recently retired, have collectively submitted a more detailed overview for the World Cup Qualifier review, which we are happy to privately share with you.

This gives greater context to some of the current disillusionment but there is a wider and historic element to all of this and that is why we are asking for your support with the following.

– We ask that you meet with the IRFU to confirm appropriate guarantees of meaningful change so the women’s game can move forward positively.

– We ask that you request oversight of the ongoing reviews; help guarantee the findings are transparent and help ensure that they maintain their independence.

– We ask for your support in gaining assurances that both the findings and the recommendations of these reviews will be made fully available to the players and that relevant details and full recommendations are published publicly and following that, that leadership with the necessary authority and appropriate governance is put in place alongside a serious action plan and new targets to help move the game forward.

Unresolved, the many challenges facing the women’s game at all levels have the potential to have a significant knock-on effect not just at the top end but also on the grassroots game. There are increasing numbers of young girls taking up rugby across Ireland but the IRFU’s failure to create meaningful pathways significantly impacts the quality of the system and structures these community players are experiencing.

All of this is happening at a time when women’s rugby around the world is on a massive upward trajectory. Playing numbers, TV audiences, crowds and investments are on the rise but we fear Ireland will be left further and further behind and the opportunity for growth will disappear at a time when surely we ought to be promoting as many sporting opportunities for women and girls across the country as possible.

We appreciate that your roles oversee all sport across the country and these are specific issues, but we have tried to work constructively with the IRFU for decades and much of the same problems persist.

Many of us have been part of previous attempts via private intervention to work constructively with the IRFU to help them to understand how the players have felt over many years and to support them to make changes which would create the right environment for women’s rugby at all levels to thrive. These have failed and so we feel we have to resort to requesting your help and to publishing this letter.

We want to make clear that a small number of current players who either work for the IRFU or have playing contracts with them were not asked to sign this letter, for obvious reasons.

We have always believed that with the right structures, processes and support that Ireland could become a leading women’s rugby nation, providing opportunities for everyone at all levels, and even with all of the recent challenges, we are certain that with your support we can come out of this better and stronger.

We thank you for your ongoing support

Ciara Griffin; Lynne Cantwell; Fiona Coghlan; Grace Davitt; Claire Molloy; Paula Fitzpatrick; Mairead Kelly; Laura Guest; Ailish Eagn; Lauren Day; Allison Miller; Marie Louise Reilly; Jen Murphy; Heather O’Brien; Deirdre O’Brien; Shannon Houston; Ruth O’Reilly; Nikki Caughey; Stacey Lee Kennedy; Jackie Sheils; Orla Fitzsimons; Sharon Lynch; Siobhan Fleming; Sarah Mimnagh, Mairead Coyne, Fiona Reidy, Nicole Fowley, Ilse Van Staden. Alisa Hughes, Anna Caplice. Louise Galvin, Laura Feely, Edel McMahon. Michelle Claffey. Aoife McDermott, Cliodhna Moloney. Lindsay Peat Ciara Cooney, Leah Lyons, Chloe Pearse. Nichola Fryday, Sene Naoupu, Laura Sheehan, Lauren Delany, Emma Hooban, Ellen Murphy, Anne-Marie O’Hora, Kathryn Dane, Judy Bobett. Neve Jones, Katie O’Dwyer, Aoife Doyle, Hannah O’Connor, Eimear Considine. Victoria Dabonovich O’Mahony, Shannon Touhy, Catherine Buggy, Sam Monaghan, Ciara Cooney, Leah Lyons, Chloe Pearse, Nichola Fryday, Sene Naoupu, Laura Sheehan, Lauren Delany, Emma Hooban. Ellen Murphy. Anne-Marie O’Hora, Kathryn Dane, Judy Bobett, Neve Jones, Katie O’Dwyer, Aoife Doyle, Hannah O’Connor, Eimear Considine, Victoria Dabonovich O’Mahony. Shannon Touhy, Catherine Buggy, Sam Monaghan and Hannah Tyrell.

In fairness.

Irish players write to government to express loss of trust in IRFU (RTÉ)

Pic: INPHO via


Irishtown Road, Dublin 4.

St Patrick’s Athletic fans are attacked at the Irishtown House pub ahead of the FAI Cup Final at the Aviva between St Pats and Bohemians.

Ugly scenes as groups brawl in Dublin pub before FAI Cup final (DublinLive)



From top: Ronnie Delany (left) and Kieran Mulvey, chairman of Sport Ireland; Ronnie with wife Joan and their grandchildren

This afternoon.

Arklow, county Wicklow.

A statue by sculptor Paul Ferriter and commissioned by Wicklow County Council honouring Olympic Gold Medallist Dr Ronnie Delany was officially unveiled in his home town.

Dr Delany was born in Arklow on March, 1935 and achieved international fame when, at the age of 21 he won a Gold Medal in the 1500m at the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, on December 1, 1956.

At the unveiling, Kieran Mulver, chairman of Sport Ireland, said:

 “At the raw young age of 21 years this gangly youthful figure confounded the greats of the athletic world by winning the Gold Medal in the 1500 metres Final at the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956. He achieved it in a then Olympic record time of 3.41.2, and he was then only the seventh man to beat the four-minute barrier in this prestige race.”

Pics: Michael Kelly

This morning.

Dundrum Shopping Centre, Dundrum, Dublin.

Rugby Gordon D’Arcy and Ross O’Carroll Kelly author Paul Howard with ‘Lions Roar‘, the third book in their Gordon’s Game series of children’s books in the new Dubray bookshop, which has just opened on Level two in the centre beside Golden Discs.

Bants level: Almost to wedgie.

Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Last night.

Aviva Stadium, Dublin 4.

Fine and ban her from all home games.

‘Dream come true’ – young pitch invader secures Ronaldo jersey (RTÉ)

This afternoon.

RDS Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

But how will we beat him?

Tactical ingenuity?




Preview: Reality check for Stephen Kenny’s Ireland as Ronaldo returns (RTÉ Sport)

Earlier: He Is Among Us

Last night.

Dublin Airport.

Portugal football players, including their star player Christian Ronaldo (centre left), arrive for tonight’s World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland.

Pic: FC Porto Global



The Intercontinental Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Thanks Ted

Above from left:  Irish Rugby International Jenny Murphy, Shamrock Rovers’ Captain Ronan Finn, award-winning writer Paul Howard, Irish Paralympic athlete Greta Streimikyte, and Senior Dublin ladies’ footballer Sinead Ahearn

This morning.

Herbert Park, Dublin 4.

The launch of the the GOAL Mile, supported by AIB, which returns this year with ‘both in person and virtual events for the first time ever’.

Virtual running, eh? I’m in.

Register here.

Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland