THE SIXTEENTH annual Pig ‘n’ Porter Tag Rugby Festival begins this Thursday evening with a host of events running up to Saturday, July 17.
Old Crescent RFC in association with Rugby Travel Ireland and TagRugby.ie (ITRA) will host Ireland’s largest and best Tag Rugby Festival, across two venues: Old Crescent RFC and the University of Limerick.
The weekend kicks off with ‘Limerick Summer Music’ at the Rossbrien Pavilion on the Old Crescent RFC Grounds with music from violin virtuosos Vladimir & Anton and support from the amazingly talented Emma Langford.
The event is expected to attract more than 4,000 people to the Rossbrien venue, with over 120 participating teams and former Munster, Ireland and Lions player Alan Quinlan hosting the competition.
The event started with 12 teams in 2002 and has grown to such an extent that there are 120 teams attending this year from almost every rugby-playing nation with representatives from Ireland, the UK, France and Australia.
The popularity of the festival provides a significant weekend boost for the city and has solidified its position as a permanent fixture on Limerick’s sporting calendar.
“We will be happy to see every bed filled in Limerick. This year we have 100 Australians flying in with the International match between Ireland and Australia taking part on Friday,” said event organiser Anthony O’Dwyer.
The development of sports tourism is an integral part of the Shannon region tourism strategy and events such as the Pig ‘n’ Porter Festival enable the city to showcase the proud sporting tradition of Limerick to a wide audience.
Sporting events like the Pig ‘n’ Porter Festival provide a welcome boost to the tourism and hospitality sectors including accommodation providers, bars, restaurants and visitor attractions.
The event caters to people of all shapes and sizes as well as all ages. Teams are made up of men and women; the rules of tag rugby dictate that at least three women must be on the field at all times for each team.
“The weekend is fun for everyone, no matter how old, what shape or size you are there will be something for you. We also have a marquee that protects everyone from the elements, so rain or shine it is going to be a great event,” Anthony explained.
On Saturday, 55 teams will take to Old Crescent RFC and a further 65 teams competing in the University of Limerick in competitions on a number of levels including social and premier league competitions.
The competition will be followed by the Monster BBQ, live music and RTÉ’s 2FM’s Will Leahy as DJ in the evening.
The sponsors of this year’s event are Heineken Light Tag and the Limerick Post as media partner for the event; with commercial partners Limerick City and County Council, Bord Fáilte, Bord na Mona and Keanes Jewellers.