Historic moment won't be live on RTÉ
Ireland's Alison Miller celebrates her try against Scotland with Joy Neville. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
A pre-arranged agreement between the IRFU and sponsors Price Waterhouse Coopers means the biggest game in the history of Irish women’s rugby, against France this Friday, will not be televised.
Instead, the Ireland under-20s’ largely irrelevant meeting, certainly by comparison, with the French in Athlone remains in the prime time live TV slot.
“RTÉ and the IRFU looked at the possibility of broadcasting the women’s game live but due to long-standing contractual agreements it wasn’t possible to do it,” explained Ryle Nugent, RTÉ head of sport.
“We are committed to the under-20 game. It has been in the schedule for a long time and there is a reciprocity deal there with the French.”
The aforementioned contractual agreement is to televise Ireland’s home under-20s matches on RTÉ, as the IRFU have guaranteed this exposure to sponsors.
Instead, RTÉ will provide radio commentary from the women’s game in Ashbourne on 2fm and it will also be streamed live online.
Should they beat France, Fiona Coghlan’s women will be playing for the Grand Slam against Italy in Milan on St Patrick’s Day. They’ve already captured their first Triple Crown.
Women’s rugby has received a number of guarantees from the IRFU, both financial and otherwise. Any trips to Europe, be it to Italy or France, they can travel two nights before the game. For fixtures in the UK, travel takes place a minimum 30 hours before kick-off.
They have also been supplied with a full-time manager, Gemma Crowley, a strength and conditioning coach, Ross Callaghan, and a nutritionist. This trio also double up with the Sevens squad, who are due to receive joint funding from the union and the Irish Sports Council.