| 3.9°C Dublin

Close

Premium


Championship cuts will narrow options for Ireland's aspiring professionals

Ruaidhri O'Connor


 

Close

Connacht’s Tom Farrell. Photo: Sportsfile

Connacht’s Tom Farrell. Photo: Sportsfile

Connacht’s Tom Farrell. Photo: Sportsfile

For some of those fringe players getting an outing in the Guinness PRO14 this weekend, this was a bad week. The same goes for a number of the U-20s who trained opposite the Ireland seniors at Irish Independent Park yesterday morning.

Due to circumstances well beyond their control, their options for a career in professional rugby have narrowed sharply. For two decades, the English Championship has acted as a release valve for aspiring Irish players deemed surplus to requirements back home.

Some have used it as a route back to the top, others to eke out a living. In a world where the gap between the four provinces and the Energia All-Ireland League is growing every year, it was a relatively soft landing from the juddering shock of being released.