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Irish Rugby Football Union

From Academic Kids

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) is the body managing rugby union in Ireland. The IRFU has its head office and grounds at Lansdowne Road, where Irish rugby union international matches are played. In addition the Union also owns Ravenhill Park in Belfast, Thomond Park in Limerick and a number of grounds in provincial areas that have been rented to clubs.

Initially there were two unions both founded in 1874. The Irish Football Union had jurisdiction over Clubs in Leinster, Munster and parts of Ulster; the Northern Football Union of Ireland controlled the Belfast area. The IRFU was formed in 1879 as an amalgamation of the two different organisations and branches were formed in Leinster, Munster and Ulster. The Connacht Branch was formed in 1886.

Following the political break up of Ireland into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the then Committee of the Irish Rugby Football Union decided that it would continue to administer its affairs on the basis of the 32 Irish counties and the traditional four provinces of Ireland - Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. This led to the unique situation among international rugby union teams, where the Irish representative teams are drawn from players from two separate political territories: the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom). To maintain the unity of Irish rugby union and the linkages between North and South the IRFU purchased a new ground in 1923 in the Ravenhill district of Belfast at a cost of 2,300. The last full International at Ravenhill took place in 1953-54 against Scotland who were victorious by 2 tries (6 points) to nil.

During the 1880s the four provincial branches of the IRFU first ran cup competitions and although these tournaments still take place every year their significance has been diminished by the advent of an All-Ireland league of 50 Senior Clubs in 1990.

The four provinces have played an Interprovincial Championship since the1920s and continue to be the focal point for players aspiring to the international level. Munster, Leinster and Ulster continue to be the strongest three with Connacht in the west of the country traditionally the weakest.

There are presently 60,000 (approx.) players in total in Ireland. 56 clubs are affiliated to the Ulster Branch; 71 to the Leinster Branch: 59 to the Munster Branch and 19 to the Connacht Branch. In addition there are 246 Schools playing rugby, Ulster (107), Leinster (75), Munster (41) and Connacht (23).

See also

External link


National Rugby Unions of the IRB

Argentina | Australia | Canada | England | Fiji | France | Georgia | Ireland | Italy | Japan | Namibia | New Zealand | Romania | Samoa | Scotland | South Africa | Spain | Tonga | Uruguay | U.S.A. | Wales | Zimbabwe

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