Trying times for Irish rugby

Disappointing performances by the national team - and rapidly falling ticket prices - are putting severe pressure on IRFU finances, writes John Burke.

19th February, 2012
Trying times for Irish rugby
Ireland captain Paul O'Connell leaves the pitch after the Six Nations defeat by Wales in Dublin earlier this month. Photo: Inpho

When Ireland lost to Wales by two points in the opening game of the Six Nations tournament earlier this month, it seemed to compound the view of many critics that the so-called "golden age" of Irish rugby was spluttering to a sad end.

The loss followed the team's exit from the Rugby World Cup at the quarter-final stages, again at Welsh hands, by a rather more decisive scoreline of 22-10. It was a performance which...

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