And three ex-Lions — Tom Kiernan, Noel Murphy and Ronnie Dawson — will attend the Heineken 7s in Kinsale, Co Cork, to help celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Former Irish international and Munster captain Mick O’Driscoll joined Irish women’s international and member of the Grand Slam winning team Joy Neville last night to announce details of the landmark tournament.
Over 10,000 visitors are expected in the harbour town over the May bank holiday weekend.
With a prize fund of €30,000, the competition is fully subscribed with 86 teams, including elite and club players from the US, Canada, France, Britain, and all over Ireland signed up. But the success of the nation’s ladies’ rugby squad has been credited with a surge in entries for the women’s tournament.
More than 25 teams in elite, open and social competitions are lined up, including the French Navy, Cleveland Women’s Rugby from the US, Newfie Streels from Canada, Wooden Spoon Women from Britain, an IRFU development team and the Tommy Bohs from the University of Limerick.
Organisers have also launched a tag competition with entries open on www.kinsale7s.com.
Heineken’s events and sponsorship manager Pat Maher paid tribute to Kinsale RFC for their dedication to the festival over the last 25 years.
“It is a truly remarkable dedication to their club and the game of rugby, despite the continued challenging economic climate over the last five years,” he said.
The Heineken Kinsale 7s generates a massive boost to the local economy at the start of the tourist season and is staffed by volunteers.
* Full details onwww.kinsale7s.com or follow the tournament on Facebook or Twitter.