Rugby League Ireland (RLI), the governing body for rugby league in this country started the year by stating that it wanted to �escalate the popularity of the game, increase the playing numbers and improve on 2004�. So far, this season, these aspirations have come to pass; we have witnessed a season with all these components, we have seen the game go onward in terms of growing stronger, people are starting to sit up, listen and pay attention to the voice of rugby league in Ireland.
The number of new teams that joined and that expressed an interest is also on the increase. In many ways, rugby league remains a fledgling organisation and with this in mind, the promotion and awareness building campaigns need to reflect this situation. The 2004 season saw Clontarf claim the ultimate prize on the domestic rugby league scene and this year we�ll have another new champion as the Titans face the Dragons in the rugby cauldron that is Limerick city.
It�s a fair reflection of what unfolded this season, the teams that finished on top of their respective provinces have made it all the way to the AIF on August 20th. It�s also an indication that league is getting stronger in a time when other codes of sport are experiencing predictability in their showpiece finals. Who would have guessed back in April of this year that this would be the final two to battle it out for the RLI Trophy?
Undoubtedly both sets of warriors are going through their paces right now, going through the moves, the plays, getting mentally ready for the conflict that lies in wait. Undoubtedly both sets of players will not want to suffer defeat, TCT don�t want to lose in their home town and the Dragons will not want to go back home without the cup. This game is there for either team to win, anything can happen in finals, that�s what makes them such special occasions.
In the next few days, the management will release the squads; these are the names that will pass into history as first time winners of the RLI Trophy for their clubs. Many players have held this piece of silverware in the past, it�s a proud old trophy, it needs worthy winners.
Whose name will be written on that cup? Kildare have beaten a very strong Kilkenny team to make it to the final and have come through a bear pit of a provincial competition, TCT have beaten one of the best and established teams in the land to claim the final spot and have been impressive in their journey through Munster. It�s anyone�s guess as to who will be the winners, who will be the new champions of Ireland? You�d be brave to guess
4 P.M - SAT 20TH AUG - TREATY CITY TITANS v KILDARE DRAG Venue St Mary's, Corbally, Limerick