IRELAND CROWNED EUROPEAN TOUCH RUGBY CHAMPIONS!

IRELAND CROWNED EUROPEAN TOUCH RUGBY CHAMPIONS!

IRELAND CROWNED EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS

Two of Ireland’s Touch Rugby teams were crowned the best in Europe at the European Championships in Bristol over the weekend.

The Men’s Over 40 successfully defended their European title from 2008 by beating Wales 7 – 4 in their grand final. The Mixed Open Team also beat Wales 7 – 6 in the Mixed Open Championship Final.

President of the Ireland Touch Association, Mr Peter Ashe-Browne was ecstatic at the success in Bristol.

“All four teams have been training so hard in preparation for the Championships, and it certainly paid off,” he said.

“Both our Men’s Over 40 team and the Mixed Open showed incredible determination to work through their pool stages and progress to the finals. To win the title of European Champions is a fantastic achievement not only for the players, but the coaches and managers as well.”

Slideshow Of Pictures From Ireland Teams Playing aT European Finals – CLICK HERE

The Men’s Over 40 team had a tough progression through the group matches, losing to Wales and France and recording a draw against England. However they continued to show their strength with success over Italy and Portugal with a countback on points to finish second at the end of the group stage. They secured a spot in to the grand final with a win over Italy 6 – 1. The Men’s Over 40 Championship Final against the Welsh saw a solid win in the final with Ireland scoring 7 touch downs to Wales’ 4, and Irish player Fergus Conway being named as Player of the Final.

The men and women of the Mixed Open team made their way through the pool stage with wins over France, Scotland, Belgium and Austria losing only one match to Jersey. They went on to win their quarter final against the England Senior Open Mixed team to face the England Open Mixed team in the Semi-final. The Wales Mixed Open team beat Jersey in the other Semi-final to secure a spot in the Championship match against Ireland, with Ireland hanging on to win the title of European Champions 7 – 6, and Irish captain Eddie Devitt being named Player of the Final.

Both teams will hold the title until the next European Championships to be held in Italy in 2012, and will enter the 2011 Touch World Cup to be held in Edinburgh next year as the top seeded European teams in their respective divisions.

The Men’s Over 35s team made an impact on their debut at a European level, finishing third in their overall position. With difficult first matches against England, France and Scotland, the Men’s Over 35s found their pace and finished the group stage in third position. Facing France in the play off for third and fourth, it was a tough match which saw the scores locked at three apiece on the full time hooter. Ireland put on a spectacular performance with a runaway touch down to secure the win 4-3.

The Men’s Open Team also had a very good tournament on debut, coming 6th overall in the Men’s Open division. The Men’s Open team had a tough start to the tournament, facing some of the top Touch countries in the opening games. However, a win over Spain and Guernsey, along with a draw to Switzerland saw the team in the playoff for 5th and 6th with the Netherlands. With many players new to the sport it was a courageous effort by the Men’s Open to take on some of the toughest Touch teams in the world and to walk away with 6th position.

President Peter Ashe-Browne is keen to build on the success of the European Championships.

“Touch is a unique sport where men and women can play side-by-side at an international level. We are hoping that through our success at the 2010 European Touch Championships, we can highlight touch as an accessible sport for Irish men and women of any age.”

“We really had courageous and dedicated players representing Ireland at this competition. For such a small country, competing at a tournament like this where the UK has approximately 21,000 participants alone really puts into perspective just how incredible it is to walk away with not one but two European titles.”

“Through the fantastic support of our sponsors and the tireless fundraising by each of the teams, we were able to compete and succeed at a European level. The Ireland Touch Association will continue to work and grow this sport in Ireland, so that we can develop the natural talent of many Irish players who have taken up the sport in the last five years.”

Mixed Open: Aroha Nathan; Ashley McLaughlan; Christina Tuataga; Claire Camilleri; Craig D’Alton; Deanna O’Byrne; Eddie Devitt; Elizabeth Comerford; Emma O’Byrne; Eric Jackman; Katie O’Byrne; Michael Wills; Nathan Simpson; Shannon Tau; Simon Neale; Teresa Aldous.

Men’s Over 40s: Frank Ennis; Edward Morton; Simon McKenna; Howard Tracey; Fergus Conway; Rory Hickey; Brian Sweeney; Philip Elliott; John Gleeson; Kevin Stiles; Barry Keogh; Paul Brown; David O’Donnell; Kevin Wyer; Martin Huggard; Peter Ashe-Browne.

Men’s Over 35s: Andrew Moss; Paul Bradley; Gary Purcell; Federico Black; Mark Bagnal; Boris Darceaux; Micheal Davies; Emerson Devlin; David Dowling; Les Devlin; Garret Fanning; Garreth Agnew; Clayton Homer; Peter Gilbourne; Gerald Pelosi; Bryan Noble.

Men’s Open: David Beagon; Jack Brennan; Daragh Devlin; John Gavin; Alan Glenn; Mark Kavanagh; Adam Kelly; Nicholas Leung; Luke Madden; Kevin Masterson; Eamon McAleese; Stephen O’Connor; Shane O’Neill; Killian O’Sullivan; Lorcan Gregorian; Mark Woolfield; Mark Smith. ENDS

SUPPORTING INFORMATION
The 2010 European Touch Championships were held in Bristol from 22-25 July. The four Ireland teams represented the best touch rugby players in Ireland will compete in the Mixed Open, Men’s Open, Men’s Over 35s and Men’s Over 40s divisions.

The event brought together 56 teams with over 900 players and more than 50 referees from 16 different countries.

Photos
Images are attached with this press release. Caption information is listed on the photo file. Photographer accreditation: Photos have been taken by Oliver O’Flanagan, Eamon Magan, Elizabeth Comerford

What is Touch?
The game of touch was established in Australia more than 40 years ago and was loosely described as a simplified non-contact version of rugby league. The game has been competitively played in Ireland for the last five years. Touch is played by both men and women, and is commonly played as a social mixed sport in most rugby nations.

Background to Touch Rugby in Ireland
The Ireland Touch Association was formed in 2007 and is a non-profit organisation. Ireland has competed at the last two European Touch Championships in 2006 and 2008. Competitive summer leagues are held in Dublin at Terenure College on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Player Profiles
There are a broad range of both male and female touch players available for interview and for filming/photographing, with some interesting backgrounds in how they became involved in touch.

Press Event
There will be a kit presentation to the players to be held in July. Further information will be released closer to the date.

For more information on Touch Rugby in Ireland, please visit www.irelandtouchassociation.com or www.touchrugby.ie or contact the Press Officer on the details below.