The Irish Universities Rugby Union (IURU) is hosting its annual Festival of Rugby on Saturday 24th October in Terenure RFC in association with the Maxol Group and Quilter Cheviot Investment Management. For the first time, all four rugby intervarsity competitions will be played on the one day. With 22 teams and 550 players participating, the Festival is the largest 3rd level rugby event in Ireland annually.
The Dudley Cup is up for grabs for 63rd time and involves the four Ulster Bank League Teams. UCD have dominated the competition over recent years until Queens University interrupted this last season. This year’s competition is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in recent times with UCD having started the season well in 1A. The club have won 2 and drawn 1 from their first 5 matches. Both UCC and Queens University have won on 2 occasions in 2A from their first 5 matches. Finally, Dublin University recently finished second at the World Universities Rugby Cup held in Oxford University and since returning to league action have won three on the bounce.
The Conroy Cup is the Under 20s level intervarsity rugby tournament inaugurated in 1988. Dublin University is seeking its third victory in row at this level having beaten UCD in the previous two finals. Both clubs have started their seasons positively. UCC have started their season with a competitive draw with Shannon and will be hoping to feature in the shake up. NUI Galway will be looking to use their Connaught under age contingent to force their way into the reckoning. Queens University and NUI Maynooth will be joining the other four sides in the quest for glory.
The social intervarsity competition is the Maughan-Scally Cup and has been competed for over the last 5 years. The cup has found a home out west in NUI Galway RFC for the last two seasons. The competition continues to grow and will have six universities competing for honours this time around. Beaten finalists last year, UCD will again prove strong contenders along with the improving Dublin University at this level. UCC, NUI Maynooth and University of Ulster Coleraine will all be returning to stake their claims for glory.
Finally the women’s intervarsity – The Kay Bowen Cup – is in its fourth year and continues to go from strength to strength. Six teams will be fighting it out for top spot for the first time. Similarly to the Maughan-Scally Cup, the trophy has been secured by NUI Galway RFC for the past two seasons. Ominously for the rest, NUIG have started their season well. Dublin University, winners in the inaugural year, and beaten finalist last year UCC will be hopeful of toppling them. Joining them will be the University of Limerick for the first time, Queens University and UCD.
With 25 matches across the levels throughout the day and facilities to watch the first World Cup semi-final – this should prove to be a very enjoyable day of competitive rugby. We would welcome all to come along and enjoy the highest level of live rugby in Dublin over the Bank Holiday weekend. Admission is free.