ANOTHER year just over and already there is interest from New Zealand, Tongan and South African teams for the 2015 Pig ‘n’ Porter tag rugby festival.
The CEO of tag rugby South Africa, Stuart McConnell, attended and made a commitment to return with teams, while there is strong interest also from New Zealand and Tonga.
This year’s event, the 13th staging of the entirely voluntary run event, featured 80 taggers from Australia, who won the inaugural Tri Nations tag tournament, their Irish counterparts coming second, while the overall event was won, for the third year in a row, by a London based team.
The total numbers? Over 5,000 people through the gate and 145 tag teams - nearly 80% of which come from outside Limerick. Stag parties were also the order of this year’s event, with groups from the UK, Dublin and Cork travelling to the city. This is one tag rugby juggernaut that shows no signs of slowing.
“We are thrilled, it was spot on,” said Eugene O’Riordan, festival co-ordinator. “The weather was the only thing, we got a good bit of rain on Friday evening and Saturday, but outside of that, it all went well, which was great. It was fantastic.
“We had great numbers - about 5,000 through the gate over the day. The gate up to 6pm was four times what it would normally be.” The festival is a massive one on Limerick’s summer calendar, and hotels in the city and surrounding region reported high occupancy levels.
Held in association with ITRA - the Irish Tag Rugby Association - it proudly claims to be the “largest tag rugby event in the world”.
Australian Perry Haddock, who introduced the sport Down Under, returned for his second visit to the Limerick event, bringing a large contingent of his compatriots.
“A lot of them were over for the first time obviously, and they had a ball, absolutely loved it. The feedback has been very positive,” said Eugene.
“Already teams are asking about next year - we have a commitment from teams to come over from South Africa and interest from New Zealand for next year, which is phenomenal.”
He also paid tribute to the “phenomenal effort” of all those who helped out and make the festival better ever year.
There were at least 60 involved, remaining in situ in the Rosbrien facility for almost ten days, setting up, managing and taking down the mammoth infrastructure that goes into running the three day event.
“This thing wouldn’t run without all the volunteers - it is a savage effort out of them,” he explained.
“Operationally it ran the best it has ever run, it all ran smoothly.
“We have been getting a lot of thanks yous and the feedback is exceptionally positive.”