CELTIC Rugby chief executive John Feehan last night expressed confidence that their league will have a title sponsor next season.
Magners confirmed last month they would not be renewing their agreement and Feehan, speaking at the tournament’s annual awards at Carton House last night, confirmed negotiations to find a replacement are ongoing.
“We’re working on it, we have been working hard (on a successor) for the last couple of months. I’m confident we will secure a sponsor and secure one in the not too distant future. There are certain deadlines in terms of printing programmes and ticket stock, so yes, it will have to be sooner rather than later.”
He admitted: “With something as big as this, it would be wrong not to have a title sponsor. It wouldn’t be impossible to run the competition without a sponsor because you can always cut your cloth to measure but we don’t envisage that being an issue, not even for next year.
“The competition has been huge in terms of impact on the game. We have to have a base tournament that will provide competition and opposition week in and week out.
“That’s what this tournament does, it has been very successful in providing the opportunities for clubs and players and it has become more competitive year on year. More than one million people have gone through the turnstiles this year, that’s pretty impressive. Does it compare with any other league anywhere else? Of course it does.”
Meanwhile Isa Nacewa’s received recognition for the second time in a week when he added the Bank of Ireland Leinster players’ player of the year award to his IRUPA player of the year title.
Centre Eoin O’Malley, 22, was named the Powerade young player of the year while Leinster, Ireland and Lions legend Niall Brophy was inducted into the Guinness Hall of Fame.
St Mary’s College were named the Canterbury club of the year, with Boyne’s Bevan Duffy picking up the Canterbury club player of the year award.
Cill Dara’s Carmela Morey won the Philips ladies club player of the year, with Leinster women’s captain Sinead Ryan of Blackrock College receiving the Philips ladies player of the year. Clongowes Wood College SJ won the Powerade school of the year award while Newpark Comprehensive received the Bank of Ireland special merit award.
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