The Union Cup took place at DCU at the weekend and brought a splash of colour, a dash of diversity and a rare collection of some of Ireland’s biggest sporting sponsors together.
The Kings Cross Steelers emerged triumphant in the main competition beating fellow English team the Manchester Village Spartans in the Final. Local side Railway Union won the first ever Women’s tournament, for the Ann Louise Gilligan Trophy which was presented by Minster Katherine Zappone to team captain Lindsay Peat.
The Steelers have been a dominant force through the history of the competition winning each of the previous six tournaments. Now they have added Ireland to the previous titles won in England, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.
A total of 45 countries from across 15 countries came to play in the tournament, hosted by Irish Gay Rugby pioneers the Emerald Warriors.
Among the legacies left behind by the tournament is the sponsorship announced last week by Bank of Ireland who are backing the Irish team for three years, alongside their existing partnerships with Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster.
Read More: Banking on Emerald Warriors
Guinness and Vodafone also came together to support the tournament as part of their own diversity agenda’s but this was far more than a box-ticking exercise.
All the brands involved had a very visible presence at DCU throughout the weekend.
Guinness recreated the rainbow painted gates at St James’s Gate Brewery which were unveiled as a key part of their support and remained in the rainbow colours until Sunday.
Vodafone had rainbow themed ‘team benches’ on site to recreate the experience of being part of the Irish Rugby team. they also hosted the Rainbow Family Rave which attracted families there for the festival atmosphere.
Bank of Ireland had a strong presence through volunteers on the day and at the Emerald City area for refreshment and entertainment.
The tournament was streamed live on Pundit Arena and was hailed as being the best in the history of the tournament.
“The common goal here is fun, inclusiveness, rugby and just having a great weekend,” said Lindsay Peat summing up the mood of those who were there.