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5,000 attend Pig ‘n Porter festival in Limerick

ELEVEN years after it started life as a small event with just a handful of teams, the organisers of the Pig ‘n Porter tag rugby festival in Old Crescent got what they most craved on Saturday - a day with no rain.

Now the biggest one day tag rugby event in the world, 120 teams travelled from around Ireland, the UK, Europe and as far away as Australia to compete in the event, which drew an estimated 5,000 revellers to the post-tag event in a massive marquee on the grounds of the Rosbrien rugby club.

Organiser Padraic O’Connor, who has been involved in the Pig ‘n Porter since its foundation in 2002, said that the fact that the day remained dry was “phenomenal”, given that the event has previously battled torrential conditions.

“The event is well established and well-known and it largely runs itself thanks to the massive and dedicated team we have here, but the major headache has always been the weather. Most of the work we do in the run-up to the event revolves around protecting the site against rain,” he explained.

Thankfully the sun gods shone on the event, the top ‘A’ division of which was won by London-based team the Chargers, made up mostly of tag crazy Australians.

Recently retired professional tennis player Conor Niland was among those competing in the ‘C’ division, a league that has the social aspect of the event firmly at its heart.

The Mungret man admitted to learning the rules of the mixed, non-contact sport while in the car-park just before the event, but although claiming he “didn’t catch a single tag” during his four games with the Honey Badgers, he did manage a hat-trick of tries in one.

Eurovision singing star Leanne Moore fared out better than Niland by making the final with her team The Protagonists, where they eventually lost a close game, Corbally’s Moore sporting pigtails and red and white fingernails which she proudly displayed as she flinged the ball around the Old Crescent pitch.

Leanne said she hadn’t missed the event for “four or five years” yet nearly did this year as she didn’t have a team before the Protagonists stepped in and recruited her “at the last minute”, she laughed.

Munster’s Felix Jones watched some of the rugby from the sidelines, while Leinster rugby players Sean Cronin and Fionn Carr later made a presentation of prizes to the winning teams.

Organisers estimated more than 70% of the 120 teams taking part came from outside the city, leading to a welcome boost for local hoteliers.#

Leader photographers were on hand to cover the Pig ‘n Porter tag rugby festival. If you are interested in purchasing any of the photographs featured in our latest picture slideshow, compiled by Adrian Butler, contact the Limerick Leader offices at 54 O’connell Street Limerick or phone (061) 214500.

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