President of IRFU 2015-16 Martin O’Sullivan
I am delighted to extend my best wishes to Dolphin RFC in my capacity as President of the
Irish Rugby Football Union.
I greatly value my strong association with the club and I treasure the lasting friendships I
made and the happy memories I have of the 11 seasons I spent at the club as a player and
Congratulations to Tim Crowley on his election as President, to Chris Rowe as club captain
and to Fergus O’Donoghue on his appointment as new head coach. I wish them and all
members of the club every success and enjoyment throughout the 2015-’16 season – and
In this special World Cup season there is much to enthuse on the domestic club front, as
highlighted in the Ulster Bank League which breaks new and exciting ground with the launch
of a remodeled five division format of 10 clubs each, played on a home and away format.
The 26th staging of our premier inter-club competition also marks the introduction of a Player
Points System (PPS) which is designed to incentivise youth development, to curb transfers
and to encourage club loyalty.
These innovations follow extensive consultation with the clubs and it is the Union’s
ambition for the Ulster Bank League to become an enhanced premier domestic competition,
creating a greater platform for clubs to promote themselves within their local communities
and to generate sufficient revenues to develop and be sustainable for the future.
In this regard, the Union is delighted that again this season, in addition to traditional funding,
it will also put in place the popular Your Club Your Country Grand Draw, in association with
Ulster Bank. Last season the programme raised €654,000 for participant clubs. This brings to
€2.6 million the amount raised by clubs – at no cost to them.
I sincerely thank Ulster Bank for their continued support as the IRFU’s Community rugby
partners. Its wide and varied portfolio includes sponsorship of the Ulster Bank League and
Awards, plus the Irish Club international team, the Bateman All Ireland Cup and the Ulster
Bank RugbyForce programme.
Meantime, best wishes to all at Musgrave Park.
President – IRFU.
Meet the IRFU President
Martin O’Sullivan is the 128th President of the Irish Rugby Football Union and holds the highest
office in Irish rugby as the first member of the amalgamated UL – Bohemians club, having played a
leading role in the then unique merger in 1999 between the University of Limerick and Bohemians
The retired Bank of Ireland manager also bridges a gap of 44 years since Dom Dineen from
Bohemians was IRFU President, in the 1971 – ’72 season.
Sligo-born, the well know and popular O’Sullivan, was first introduced to rugby through his
father Tom’s involvement with Sligo RFC, although it was when the family moved to live in Limerick
in 1966 that his rugby career took off.
The first milestone was as a member of the historic Munster schools’ junior cup winning St.
Munchin’s College squad in 1970. This was followed in senior club rugby as a back row forward by
distinguished playing and coaching careers at both Bohemians and also Dolphin, when his banking
career saw him transferred to Cork. He spent 11 seasons with Dolphin, highlighted by a season as
first XV captain and a season as first team coach. He also coached the Munster junior interprovincial
team and Clanwilliam RFC and served as secretary/treasurer of the Munster Branch coaching
On returning to Limerick in 1987 and re-joining Bohemians, O’Sullivan coached the first XV in
1989, ’90 and ’91 and contributed richly to the establishment of the club’s renowned Academy. It
has produced numerous Irish capped players at various levels, highlighted more recently in senior
ranks by Tommy O’Donnell, Dave Kilcoyne, Dave Foley and Barry Murphy. He was also instrumental
in establishing the club’s first women’s section. It has won 11 All Ireland League titles and been
linked with 25 internationals and five Irish captains, including Fiona Coghlan who led Ireland to
Grand Slam victory in 2013 and Niamh Briggs, captain of last season’s RBS Six Nations championship
winning Ireland team. He was club President in 2003/’04.
Elected as the Bohemians club delegate to the Munster Branch in 2003/’4, O’Sullivan served as
Chairman of the Professional Team Management Committee for four seasons and on being elected
to the IRFU Committee in 2005, he served on several high-powered committees. He has been a
member of the Management Committee for the past six years and been Chairman of the
Representative Game Committee and the National Team and Professional Contacting Review
groups. He also played a key role in the Union’s Plan Ireland process which has resulted in the
establishment of the National Professional Game Board and the employment of David Nucifora as
the IRFU’s first Performance Director.