The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) is the governing body for the sport of rugby union in Ireland. The IRFU comprises four provincial branches as well as the national governing body.
A number of years ago it was identified that Irish Rugby needed a clear strategic planning policy if it was to optimise its resources and develop our game to its maximum potential.
Dublin University, founded in 1854, was the first organised Rugby Football Club in Ireland. Students at the University had first learnt the game while at English Public Schools. Other clubs which were formed at the time and are still in existence include, Wanderers founded in 1869; Lansdowne (1873); Dungannon (1873); UCC (1874); Co. Carlow (1873); Ballinasloe (1875); NIFC (1868); Queen’s University (1869).
Ballinasloe and Athlone amalgamated in 1994 to form Buccaneers.
From 1874 to 1879 there were two Unions. The Irish Football Union had jurisdiction over Clubs in Leinster, Munster and parts of Ulster; the Northern Football Union of Ireland controlled the Belfast area. When the first International was played against England in February 1875, the teams were twenty a side and the Irish team included 12 players from Leinster and eight from Ulster. The first fifteen a side match was in 1877 and the first Munster players were chosen in 1879.