Thousands expected at tag rugby festival

THOUSANDS of rugby fans are set to gather for the world’s largest tag rugby festival next month.

Limerick’s Pig ‘n’ Porter Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary in July with a line-up of special celebratory events including a pitch side Jacuzzi, fancy dress tag rugby and a live concert by hip-hop trio The Rubberbandits.

The festival is expected to attract in excess of 4,000 people to Old Crescent Rugby Club on Friday, July 15 to Saturday, July 16 where 130 teams will compete in the world’s largest tag rugby competition.

“We started with 12 teams in 2002, had over 100 teams last year from all across Ireland and Britain and, this year, we have up to 130 teams from Ireland, the UK and France eager to win the coveted Pig ‘n’ Porter trophy,” organiser Padraic O’Connor, explained.

“The festival brings a large number of visitors to Limerick for the weekend and is always a huge success which is fantastic considering we’ve built this into an international festival from a volunteer base. Since its inception, we’ve had more than 10,000 participants and we’re delighted to be a permanent fixture on Limerick’s sporting calendar, especially this year as Limerick holds the title of European City of Sport 2011.”

The festival kicks off with a welcome party at Peter Clohessy’s Bar on Friday night, July 15.

Later that evening, the party moves to the ‘Piggery’ Big Top in the Old Crescent Rugby Club where Limerick legends The Rubberbandits will perform.

The tag rugby gets underway on the Saturday. Throughout the day, the iconic pig will be roasting on a spit ahead of the legendary Pig ‘n’ Porter BBQ.

This year’s festival sees an inaugural fancy dress day for all taggers and supporters along with a large pitch side jacuzzi.

John Crowe, tourism and marketing manager Shannon Development, said the Pig ‘n’ Porter Festival showcases the proud sporting tradition of Limerick to a wide audience.

“The economic benefits of sport to Limerick, particularly this year as European City of Sport, are very significant. It is estimated that sports events in the Shannon region last year generated over €60m,” he said.

* For team registration see www.tagrugby.ie.

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