The IRFU Charitable Trust Vodafone Rugby Ball 2022

We were all delighted to be able to enjoy the IRFU Charitable Trust Vodafone Rugby Ball this year, twenty four months on from the last Rugby Ball!  Thank you to everyone for a wonderful night, from our sponsor Vodafone who has stuck with us through the pandemic, to our committee and volunteers, our seriously injured players and special guests.  And of course, thank you to all of you who joined us on the night – nearly 400 attending, all supporting those who have been seriously injured playing the game we all love.

Due to the resounding feedback from 2020, the Rugby Ball was held for a second time in the Round Room at the Mansion House on Friday 11th March, with Vodafone once again our title sponsor on the night.  Guests were treated to a drinks reception sponsored by Diageo with Guinness and Gordon’s Gin served up by a Gordon’s specialist mixologist, while guests were entertained by magician Aidan Murphy.

Alan Shortt once again hosted the event, starting with the ever popular ‘Heads or Tails’ with special guest Claire Molloy (who flew over from London especially to be at the event – thank you Claire) calling heads or tails with the coin toss.  Alan then introduced Michael Whelan, the Trust’s head of fundraising, who gave a very warm welcome to everyone, thanking our sponsors – including our new wine sponsor Fallon & Byrne, highlighting the important work the Trust undertakes in helping to support seriously injured rugby players and their families.  Michael then introduced a short video showing the support provided to Mark Governey, one of our seriously injured players, in renovating his home – please take the time to watch Mark’s video and listen to his own words. Mark and members of his family were in attendance on the night, as well as seriously injured players Bernard Healy and Philip Caldwell.  Philip spoke emotionally about his on-going journey to recovery since his injury nineteen months ago and beautifully described the unique and powerful rugby family that exists within our game; and how he was humbled by the incredible outpouring of support he received and continues to receive today.

The Rugby Ball committee, led once again by Shane Whelan, did a sterling job in ensuring a great night, amazing raffle prizes and auction items; both for the Silent Auction and the Live Auction – the highlight of the latter being a ‘last minute’ trip for two people to Twickenham the following day. How lucky they were to experience one of Ireland’s greatest wins against England!  Thank you to everyone who contributed to the raffle and auctions; and of course, a massive thank you to all of you who bid on the auction items.  A list of the auctions items can be seen in the adjacent Table Card.

Claire Molloy was joined on stage by two more Irish rugby greats, Lindsay Peat and Sene Naoupu. The three rugby stars spoke about all things rugby, sports and life.  Nigel Osborne was up next with a very entertaining comedy sketch impersonating Brent Pope and George Hook amongst others. Nigel then went on to interview special guests Aifric Keogh about her life, rowing and her Olympic Bronze medal, and Greg O’Shea about his Rugby 7s career, life after rugby and of course Love Island!

The Controversial All Stars had everyone on the dance floor after dinner – with many guests remarking that the last time they danced was two years ago at the last Rugby Ball!  Get Broadcasting once again very kindly filmed the evening – please check out the video adjacent and view the photos below.

Thank you again to everyone and here’s looking forward to the 2023 Ball!