independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Sporting warriors who are in the pink

Still dizzy from celebrating the news that Ireland will host the 2008 Bingham Cup, the gay world rugby tournament named after Mark Bingham (a passenger on the hijacked United 93 on September 11, 2001 who stormed the cockpit), film publicist Nick Costello told me that the Emerald Warriors have snagged their first sponsorship deal from IFG Financial Services.

Not bad, considering the Warriors only put on their rugby boots for the first time in 2004. (Check out their video pitch on YouTube.)

"IFG came to us," Nick told me at the opening of The Last Blue Sky art exhibition at the Mother's Tankstation gallery. "They want to market themselves to the gay community, but they're genuinely interested in the Cup. It was a philanthropic decision as well as a commercial one."

DCU will be the host venue and - crucially - teammates from the US, Europe and Australia can stay in cheap accommodation on the campus. "It's a little like an Olympic bid," Nick added. "The ability to host the event is important."

Nick no longer plays in the same position as Gordon D'Arcy, so we can't call him the Gordon D'Arcy of gay rugby (though he did get some slagging for that in the past), nor do we wish to discuss the controversial issue of supporters allegedly voguing on the sidelines of Bingham Cups past.

But how did the Emerald Warriors manage to beat the Sydney Convicts and London for the 2008 Cup? "We did a bit of lobbying when we played in New York in the last Cup. We socialised with the decision makers." Smart boy.

Nick is also gearing up for Paramount Pictures' first Irish premiere with Dreamgirls on January 24, starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles and Eddie Murphy. But he won't be back on the pitch just yet. He broke his collar bone in New York at last year's Bingham Cup and again recently. "After 30," Nick sighed, "you just don't bounce any more."

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