Ulster Rugby v Leinster Rugby

We have played three games since our bonus point victory here over the Southern Kings. We had a great day out in the Aviva Stadium in the quarter-final of the Heineken Champions Cup when, after a magnificent performance by the team, we suffered a narrow defeat to this evening’s visitors. I would like to thank all the supporters who travelled to cheer the team on and created a tremendous atmosphere in the stadium. The loss was hard to take at the time but congratulations to Leinster who have gone on to beat Toulouse in the semi-final. We wish them well as they seek to retain the Cup and we will all be supporting them as they take on Saracens in Newcastle. After the Leinster match we resumed the PRO14 campaign in Glasgow where, after a good start, we suffered defeat. We then travelled to Edinburgh where the boys dominated the game and achieved the bonus point win. With a little help from our Munster friends in Treviso, that secured second place in the conference and gives us a home quarter-final against Connacht next weekend. To have done that with a game to spare is testament to the effort which the players and coaches have put in so far this season. Although both teams may have more significant matches in the coming weeks, this evening’s game is still important. Inter- provincial derbies are always hard fought affairs and this evening will be no different. We have suffered recent defeats to the other provinces and would like to turn the tide, starting today with a home win. Recent weeks have seen many club finals played both at Kingspan Stadium and at other venues throughout the Province. Congratulations to all of the winners and commiserations to the losers. Special mention to Enniskillen who won the River Rock Towns Cup here on Easter Monday for the first time since 1937 with victory over Ballyclare. Also, well done to City of Armagh on putting up a battling performance when losing to a strong Garryowen team in the Bateman Cup final last Saturday. The league matches in the AIL have been completed and the playoffs have begun. Many congratulations to Ballynahinch on winning automatic promotion to Division 1A. It is important that Ulster has teams playing in the top division. Best wishes to Malone, Queen's University and Rainey as they continue in their efforts to secure promotion. The support the team has had this season has been tremendous and I thank you all for that. I hope that everyone enjoys this evening and I look forward to seeing you all back here next week. Stephen Elliott President, IRFU Ulster Branch league match against our provincial neighbours Leinster. A particularly warm welcome to President Lorcan Balfe, his wife Deirdre and the other Leinster officials, staff and supporters. We trust that you will enjoy our hospitality on your short trip to Belfast. PRESIDENT’S WELCOME On behalf of Ulster Rugby, I welcome everyone to Kingspan Stadium for this evening’s Guinness PRO14

IRFU ULSTER BRANCH 2018/19 OFFICERS Stephen Elliott President Gary Leslie Senior Vice President Philip Gregg Junior Vice President Denis Gardiner Honorary Secretary Michael Boyd Honorary Treasurer Greg Irwin Competitions Secretary EXECUTIVE TEAM Jonny Petrie Chief Executive Officer Dan McFarland Head Coach Bryn Cunningham Operations Director Chris Webster Head of Rugby Development Audrey Robinson Head of Finance & Operations Fiona Hampton Head of Sales & Marketing

Kingspan Stadium, 134 Mount Merrion Avenue Belfast, BT6 0FT T +44 (0)28 9049 3222 ulsterrugby.com



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