In huge news for the Irish LGBT+ sporting community, Dublin is set to play host to the Union Cup 2019 – Europe’s biggest LGBT+ inclusive rugby tournament.
Host team, the Emerald Warriors, won the bid to welcome 45 teams from 15 countries to Ireland – all converging on Dublin’s DCU from June 7 – 9 for the two day festival and celebration of rugby.
On hand at the launch in the Aviva Stadium were Richie Fagan of the Warriors, Minister Katherine Zappone, celebrated sportspeople Lindsay Peat and Gordon D’Arcy and refereeing legend Nigel Owens. It was also announced that this year, for the first time, there will be a dedicated women’s tournament – the Union Cup Women’s Cup.
#UnionCupDublin is a go! @Nigelrefowens and @lilypeat11 this afternoon officially launched Union Cup Dublin which takes place June 7-9. The tournament will see players from across Europe #trywithpride and compete for the title. #rugbyforall @IGRugby pic.twitter.com/4ba7bR1SHN
— Union Cup – Dublin 2019 (@unioncuprugby) April 8, 2019
Speaking at the launch, Richie Fagan told those gathered, “We believe that rugby is a game for all. There’s never been a more exciting time in Ireland to host an inclusive, high-level rugby tournament, with a dash of glitter. We are excited to showcase pride in rugby, as Ireland has never seen before.”
Fagan also offered the slightly sobering statistics that over 80% of LGBT+ people reported experiencing homophobic insults while participating in sports and over half of LGBT+ people are not active enough to maintain good health. Events such as this are the perfect way to combat that prejudice and inspire future sportspeople.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) April 8, 2019
Lindsay Peat, the Ireland international rugby player, and Nigel Owens, the international rugby union referee, are ambassadors for this years Cup, with Owens lined up to officiate the final.
Commenting on the huge coup for our country to host such an event, Minister Zappone said, “Sport is the lifeblood of Ireland. For players and followers alike it sparks excitement, passion and joy. No one should be excluded from this. Sport and rugby are for everyone. By hosting the Union Cup the Emerald Warriors are leading the way and I am thrilled to see the entire Irish rugby community row in behind them. The inclusion of a dedicated women’s tournament is a very welcome development and the Union Cup is to be congratulated for striving to be even more inclusive. I look forward to two-days of passion and fun this June and wish all who are travelling to Dublin a céad míle fáilte.”
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