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Message from Martin O’Sullivan, President, IRFU to Young Munster RFC on the occasion of your 120th anniversary season celebrations.

As President of the Irish Rugby Football Union, I am delighted to extend my congratulations and best wishes to Young Munster RFC on the notable milestone of reaching your 120th anniversary season.

It is a proud landmark in the history of a club widely regarded as one of the foremost in Munster and Irish rugby. You can truly be proud that succeeding officers, committees and members down through the years have fully realised the ambitions and dreams of your pioneering, founding members.

Through your President Tony Cusack, I wish all members of the club every success and enjoyment from your special season which will be suitably marked by a variety of events planned to mark your celebration.

On a personal note, I am greatly privileged to have been elected President of the Irish Rugby Football Union and within that context it is my honour to have shared that distinction with your esteemed member, Charlie Quaid, who held the office in season 1992-’93. I am delighted also for this opportunity to acknowledge Charlie’s brother Gerry, himself a former IRFU Committee member, and who continues to serve on the Munster Branch.

“Munsters’’ 120th celebrations coincide with the huge anticipation about the 2015-’16 season, which is highlighted by the staging of Rugby World Cup, the defence by both our men’s and women’s teams of the RBS Six Nations Championships and by the challenges of our Provincial sides in the Guinness Pro 12 and European Cup competitions.

But the domestic club scene will also command great appeal, highlighted by the 26th staging of the Ulster bank League which sees the launch of a new five division format of 10 clubs each, together with 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 Tom Clifford Park.

Martin O’Sullivan.

President – IRFU.