Thank you for supporting seriously injured rugby players

The fifth Ireland’s Call Six Nations Ball took place at the luxurious five-star Shelbourne Hotel on Friday 26th January 2024.  As rugby fans, the night was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone in attendance, with all funds raised on the night going to the IRFU Charitable Trust in aid of seriously injured rugby players and their families.  Thank you once again to the event sponsor – Northern Trust, who has been a loyal sponsor of the event from the very beginning.  All guests had the pleasure of listening to Clive Bellows from Northern Trust; on why they are avid supporters of the game of rugby and the care of those who have been seriously injured playing the game.

The evening kicked off with a drinks reception kindly sponsored by Guinness which included complimentary Champagne, and of course Guinness, on arrival for all.  Everyone was pleasantly surprised to see some very special guests in attendance – Kevin the Carrot, along with Gilbert the Grape – thankfully in one piece following their Rugby World Cup exploits; and ready to support the boys in Green for the 2024 Guinness Six Nations!  Thank you to Aldi for loaning Kevin and Gilbert to us.

Prior to a sumptuous dinner being served with greatly appreciated complimentary and superb wine, MC Matt Cooper welcomed everyone to the Ball and spoke about the important work the IRFU Charitable Trust undertakes for seriously injured rugby players and their families.  Thank you to Matt Cooper for hosting the Ball for a second year running.  Matt introduced a video featuring seriously injured player Jamie Graham and his lovely family – you could have heard a penny drop given how compelling their story is.  You can watch Jamie’s video below.

The Ball came at a very opportune time with the Guinness Six Nations kicking off a week later when Ireland take on France in Marseilles.  Matt was joined on stage by Irish rugby legends: Sene Naoupu, Nora Stapleton, David Kilcoyne, Luke McGrath and Malcolm O’Kelly.  Thank you all for your support and your very, very interesting insights (and predictions!) on the Six Nations.  Matt then interviewed one of the guests, seriously injured player Bernard Healy who spoke about life, coping with his injury and the incredible help the rugby community, including all the guests at the Ball, provide to injured players like himself.

The live auction lineup kicked off with tickets to see Ireland take on Scotland at the Aviva on Super Saturday 16th March – hopefully in the race to secure their Grand Slam title two years in a row.  Thank you to Henry Beeby of Goffs, George Beeby and Tadhg Dooley for running the auction.

We would also like to say a massive thank you to Paul Sheeran who, with Breitling – the Official Timing Partner of Six Nations Rugby, very kindly sponsored a stunning timepiece for a very unique Raffle:  the exclusive opportunity for a rugby fan in the room to own their very own Breitling Six Nations Ireland Watch.  As you will see from the photographs below, the winner, and we are happy to say a very loyal supporter of the Ball, is clearly delighted!  Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Raffle, which raised an incredible amount of funds for our seriously injured rugby players.   Thank you also to all our guests who generously took part in the Silent Auction.  We would also like to thank all of you who donated prizes, in particular the Little Arches Hotel Barbados which attracted a lot of attention.

These events would not be possible without the commitment and compassion of the organising committee:  Chair Stephen Jacobs, John Jacobs, Laoise Healy and Gerry Niland; supported by Linda Black, Marc Sheridan and Michael Whelan from the Trust.

Finally, and importantly, we would like to thank all of you who attended the Ball.  It was wonderful to see the support for seriously injured players from so many true rugby fans around the room.   On behalf of all seriously injured players, and their families, across all four provinces of Ireland – thank you.