The blurb for this podcast says ‘On this week’s Keith Wood’s State of the Union, Keith, Johne Murphy, Steve Rooney and Ger Gilroy discussed the future of the AIL, club rugby, the importance of the under-20s game, and how the Leinster Schools players are effectively pro in terms of commitment.
The podcast served as a timely reminder of the importance of the club to the overall health and survival of the game in Ireland – at all levels.
Keith Wood is as polished a presenter as you will ever meet and skillfully guided the wide-ranging discussion so that it stayed on track and what we got was a snapshot of not only the state of play in the AIL club game, but the schools set-up, how the pathway system works, how players are being identified and placed on the relevant pathway, how players are sidelined and prohibited from playing – be it the 24th player on the pro set-up or the panelled played on the SCT squad.
Ger Gilroy was a passenger throughout and perhaps only intejected once to ask Steve Rooney a question on whether players in the AIL are paid.
Overall, this was excellent reporting by Steve and he put the case of the AIL clubs across really well. One of the endearing aspects of his input was the ‘one for all, all for one’ approach, in that he spoke about the overall health of all the AIL clubs and not just Lansdowne’s.
This podcast is a timely reminder of how we must maintain all dialogues with all the vested interests so that the AIL club voices are heard, recognised, respected and when appropriate, actioned.
The club lies at the heart of the game in Ireland and without it there is no heart.