The Emerald Warriors are one of Ireland's first and finest LGBT+ rugby teams. Since their foundation in 2003, the club has established itself as one of the country's top LGBT+ inclusive teams and this year will see them reach new heights as they send their largest contingent yet to the Union Cup.
Established in 2005 the Union Cup is a European rugby tournament celebrating equality, inclusivity and sportsmanship. While the tournament was played in Ireland back in 2019, this year will see the Birmingham Bulls host the tournament.
🏆 Only 3 Days To Go Till Union Cup 2023!
💪 Best wishes to all teams playing.
ℹ️ For more information on the schedule:
👉 https://t.co/aMBrGXrlP5#igrugby #rugbyforall #unioncup2023 pic.twitter.com/RCF1DB9yGk
— IGR International Gay Rugby (@IGRugby) April 24, 2023
While the Emerald Warriors have competed in the tournament before, this year will see them travel with over 100+ players, coaches, medics, physios, team coordinators and supporters, the largest cohort of players they've ever taken to the tournament.
Among the 100+ people travelling will be the four teams set to take part: three men's teams and a women's team. The event marks another major milestone for the club, who for the first time ever will be fielding a women's team at the tournament that will represent both the club and Ireland.
Speaking this week ahead of the tournament Club President Richie Fagan hailed the success of the club and event as the club nears its 20-year anniversary.
Bursting with PRIDE, the incredible work ethic of our members over the past few months in preparation for Union Cup is paying off. We have never travelled with such a large and diverse membership, an incredible milestone for us, as we head into our club’s 20th anniversary.
While ladies captain Jessica Elmes spoke of her pride at the club putting together a ladies' team many of whom had never played tugby before.
I'm absolutely honoured to be captaining Emerald Warriors first female identifying team as we represent our club and country at Union Cup in Birmingham. Many of us had never played rugby before and it's incredible to see how far we've come in just 10 short weeks, thanks to the enthusiasm, dedication and commitment of our coaches and players. I'm immensely proud of our Azure team and can't wait to see how it comes together on the pitch this weekend!
The Emerald Warriors head to the three-day tournament tomorrow where they'll be competing as one of the top seeds there and hoping to prove themselves as one of the best in Europe and take home some silverware from the event.
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