The Irish Universities Rugby Union (IURU) is hosting its annual Festival of Rugby this Saturday at Terenure College RFC, in association with the Maxol Group and Quilter Cheviot Investment Management.

For the first time, all four rugby intervarsity competitions will be played on the one day. With 22 teams and 550 players participating, the Festival of Rugby is the largest third level rugby event in Ireland annually.

The Dudley Cup is up for grabs for the 63rd time and involves the four Ulster Bank League teams. UCDhave dominated the competition in recent years until Queen’s University triumphed last season. This year’s tournament is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in recent times with UCD having started the season well in Division 1A, with two wins and a draw.

Both UCC and Queen’s University have won twice in Division 2A so far. Finally, Dublin University recently finished second at the World Universities Rugby Cup held in Oxford University and since returning to league action, they have won three on the bounce.

The Conroy Cup is the Under-20 intervarsity rugby tournament inaugurated in 1988. Dublin University are seeking their third victory in-a-row at this level having beaten UCD in the previous two finals. Both clubs have started their seasons positively.

UCC opened their campaign with a competitive draw with Shannon and will be hoping to feature in the shake-up. NUI Galway will be looking to use their Connacht underage contingent to force their way into the reckoning. Queen’s University and NUI Maynooth will be joining the other four sides in the quest for glory.

The social intervarsity competition is the Maughan-Scally Cup and has been competed for over the last five years. The cup has found a home out west in NUI Galway RFC for the last two seasons. The competition continues to grow and will have six universities competing for honours this time around.

Beaten finalists last year, UCD, will again prove strong contenders along with the improving Dublin University at this level. UCC, NUI Maynooth and University of Ulster Coleraine will all be returning to stake their claims for glory.

Finally, the women’s intervarsity event – the Kay Bowen Cup – is in its fourth year and continues to go from strength to strength. Six teams will be battling it out for top spot for the first time.

Similarly to the Maughan-Scally Cup, the trophy has been secured by NUI Galway RFC for the past two seasons. Ominously for the rest, NUIG have started their season well. Dublin University, winners in the inaugural year, and beaten finalists last year, UCC, will be hopeful of toppling them. Joining them will be the University of Limerick for the first time, Queen’s University and UCD.

With 25 matches across the levels throughout the day and facilities to watch the first Rugby World Cup semi-final, this should prove to be a very enjoyable day of competitive rugby. We would welcome all to come along to Lakelands Park and enjoy the highest level of live rugby in Dublin over the Bank Holiday weekend. Admission is free.