Carlow man Des Kavanagh couldn’t have predicted how strange his tenure as president of the IRFU would have been when he was elected to the post.
He has been unable to attend any international games due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it is not an overstatement to suggest that his role has been diluted somewhat.
Speaking to KCLR’s Saturday Scoreline, Kavanagh admitted that he has found the limitations in his role to be quite frustrating.
“It has been very tough because I have missed out on being able to attend all the matches and different functions that would usually be part of the role. Hopefully, it will get back to normal by the summer,” said Kavanagh.
However, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom for one of Irish rugby’s greatest servants.
He said: “I’ve enjoyed working with the different committees in trying to manage ourselves out of this huge financial crisis that the IRFU finds itself in because of Covid. It’s tough for us at the moment but I do enjoy the job.”
With news last week that twenty non-playing staff members had been made redundant by the Union due to the financial implications of the pandemic, the gravity of the situation that sporting bodies across the country are currently facing came to the fore.
Kavanagh has revealed that there may be more redundancies to come.
“I think there will be further redundancies before the end of the year, but the bulk of the redundancies have occurred this week thankfully.
“It has been a tough time for the IRFU, and we are very grateful to the government for the funds that they have given us.”
The IRFU president highlighted the focus for Irish rugby once the pandemic comes to an end.
“We have to make sure that all clubs, players, and referees are given the opportunity to develop after we come out of the pandemic and that has to be our aim once we return to like it was in the past.
“Hopefully we’ll see that at the end of the summer,” said Kavanagh.
He also gave his opinion on Andy Farrell’s reign as Ireland’s head coach.
“Andy Farrell will develop the squad with the World Cup in mind. Overall, we’re really positive about how the Six Nations went and while it is important for our revenue, we also know that it is there to develop players with the future in mind.”