IT IS back and bigger than ever, with the backing of Bulmers this year, drawing thousands of taggers on their annual rugby pilgrimage to Limerick.
The Pig ‘n’ Porter tag rugby festival takes place this weekend, marking a welcome tourism windfall for the city.
This is the 14th year of the self-professed “largest tag rugby event in the world”, run in association with the Irish Tag Rugby Association in Old Crescent, with upwards of 145 teams expected to again make their way to Rosbrien this Saturday and Sunday.
An estimated 2,500 players and 5,000 visitors – 70% of which tend to visit from outside Limerick for the event - will flock to the Pig ‘n’ Porter, which is backed by Bulmers Irish Cider, with whom a new two year sponsorship deal has been agreed.
“We are delighted to announce the extension of our sponsorship deal with Bulmers Irish Cider for another two years. This is a huge boost to the festival and ensures it will continue to grow into the future,” said organiser Eugene O’Riordan of the festival, which is run by a team of around 50 volunteers.
“We have developed a really novel festival and the very fact that we have such a high profile brand willing to weigh in behind it confirms the success of the event. Team registrations are already practically full and with so many coming in to stay here for the weekend, it is going to deliver a real boost for those in the hospitality sector,” he added.
Eoghan Prendergast, CEO of Limerick Marketing Company, said the festival had been “a triumph” for the organisers.
“I don’t think anyone could have predicted 13 years ago when the Pig ‘N’ Porter festival started that it would grow into the event it now is,” he said.
“It has not just been a massive success in its own right but has also contributed to the promotion of Limerick as the fun city it is and the entire team deserve huge credit for this.”
145 teams took part last year, including 80 tag crazy Aussies, and over 5,000 through the gate on the day.
Despite the large numbers of players and teams travelling from around the world to the city for the tournament, Mr O’Riordan hopes that the trophy can be kept on Irish soil in the premier event.
“Tumeke Hippos are the reigning champions from 2014, they’re based in London, and are returning in great force once more to defend their title. The title has been won by a team from the UK for the last three years but I am pretty confident we will have an Irish winner this year,” he said.
The public are welcome to attend and there is plenty of entertainment. See www.pignporter.com for more.