This weekend sees the start of the inaugural Paul Flood Cup, comprising of 15 senior adult women's teams from Leinster and two from Connacht taking each other on over four rounds of a round robin.
So who was Paul Flood and why is the Leinster Branch moved to honour him? Paul was a stalwart of St Mary's College rugby. His fascination with rugby began in his secondary school years in Templeogue College, where he was a member of the team which reached the Senior Schools Cup semi-final in 1973.
On leaving school, he joined St Mary's College RFC where he played and coached for 35 years. Paul was a very accomplished winger in a career lasting 33 years before hanging up his boots and lending his experience to the coaching of the club's teams. An experienced referee as well, Paul played for the first team on many occasions and competed for his place against international greats such as Tom Grace, Terry Kennedy and Jimmy Bowen.
He took a keen interest in the development of women's rugby in St Mary's by helping out in whatever manner he could before assuming the mantle of coach when the call came. He fulfilled that role with the same enthusiasm he put into every other aspect of his rugby career and he was a strong advocate and promoter in improving the facilities, administration and coaching/training support for the women's game.
Under his guidance, St Mary's women's team made tremendous strides, reaching the All-Ireland Women's League Division 2 semi-final in the year of his passing, 2008, and going on from that to achieve success in the same competition the following year.
Paul also guided the team to the 2008 All-Ireland Bowl Final against UL and, although defeated, Mary's put up a storming performance against the AIL Champions. Paul was immensely proud of the success and achievement of the team and the memories of the day and celebrations with Paul will be forever cherished by the women's team.
The final will see the top two sides battle it out and will be played in Paul Flood's club of St Mary's College RFC on February 28 at 3.0.