By Bernard Purcell.
Last month’s nail-biting clash between Ireland and Rugby demonstrated conclusively, if proof were needed, that the Irish game has moved into the professional age and 21st century.
For the past forty years one of the most assiduous contributors to that development has been the IRFU’s recently elected new President, Pat Fitzgerald, who assumed office last summer.
Fitzgerald, who helped transform Lansdowne Road’s finances by bringing business acumen, and intolerance for some of the more snobbish trappings that probably discouraged talent from less traditional quarters, served on every possible committee since the 1970s. He is modest about his success pointing, directing the plaudits, instead, to his colleagues in the IRFU head office.
He distinguished himself in commercial and marketing and following a distinguished playing career as a scrum half and centre he made IRFU history by becoming the first member of Longford RFC to assume his office.
A Kildare man by birth, who made his business career in in Longford and the UK, he lives in Castleknock in Dublin and is married to Ann, a Dublin Northsider originally from Drumcondra who says she is probably more of a GAA fan by nature.
For more see this week’s edition of the Irish World