Irish teams win big at LGBTQ+ rugby world championships

The Cork Hellhounds and Emerald Warriors made historic débuts during the Gay Rugby World Cup, with the Cork Hellhounds winning the Challenger Cup.

Side-by-side team photos of Cork Hellhounds and Emerald Warriors who made historic débuts during the International Gay Rugby World Cup

Cork Hellhounds RFC, Cork’s first LGBTQ+ inclusive rugby team, and the Emerald Warriors, Ireland’s oldest and leading LGBTQ+ rugby club, made history at the International Gay Rugby (IGR) Bingham World Cup in Rome, where the first of the two Irish teams won the Challenger Cup.

This year was the first time both Irish teams took part in the Bingham Cup, a bi-annual competition hosted by IGR, an organisation that brings together LGBTQ+ inclusive rugby clubs from across the world.

Cork Hellhounds RFC is Cork’s first LGBTQ+ inclusive rugby club, founded in 2020. In anticipation of the IGR, the team’s players and coaches trained for six months.

After four days of playing some intense rugby matches, the team ultimately won the tournament on Sunday, May 26, after a thrilling match against the Plymouth Dolphins.


After winning the International Gay Rugby tournament, Conor O’Brien, Captain of the Cork Hellhounds, said: “We are thrilled to be able to bring home the Challenger Cup from Rome.”

He added: “We played our hearts out on the pitch for each of our games, many of which were against other IGR teams we hadn’t faced before. The hard work and training of our players and coaches paid off, and we are so proud to have been able to represent Cork at the Bingham Cup for the first time.”

The club offers men’s contact rugby and mixed-gender tag rugby teams, and they are looking forward to further promoting rugby among Cork’s LGBTQ+ community, especially ahead of Cork Pride in August.


The Emerald Warriors, Ireland’s first LGBTQ+ rugby team, shared that they are “immeasurably proud of our womens+ team”, the Azures, who also competed in the International Gay Rugby match for the first time this year.

The team advanced to the semi-finals after winning against the Flying Nuns and reigning Ottawa Wolves. While they lost to the incredible Amsterdam Lowlanders, they made a comeback against the Nashville Women’s Rugby team for an impressive third-place finish.

The club offers a nurturing environment for players to excel as well as a community where everyone is welcome and “athletic achievement is matched by sportsmanship and a commitment to inclusivity, while having fun.”

The team made history by sending Ireland’s first-ever women’s+ squad to the tournament, and anyone who wants to join the Emerald Warriors should get in touch at [email protected]!


The International Gay Rugby match also included a match with over 60 trans athletes from more than 35 IGR rugby clubs in eight different countries.

The all trans match included many athletes from eight different countries who were all able to play a sport they love for the first time in years after being impacted by trans-exclusionary policies.

The IGR said there is no room for hate in rugby and: “The match showcased the pure joy that can be found in inclusive community sports, and how life changing that experience is for so many vulnerable individuals.

“It’s for exactly this reason that we will continue to platform such exhibition matches, until the day when rugby is universally inclusive again.”


© 2024 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.