Following the successful 2023 ITF Tag World Cup in Limerick, the Irish Tag Rugby Association (ITRA) has begun planning for the next era of international tag rugby.
ITRA wishes to place on record its immense gratitude to Barry Keary, Felix Ross and Gary Kinkade who are stepping down from their roles as head of Irish tag squad management, performance, and coaching respectively.
The 2023 ITF Tag World Cup was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for players representing Ireland in the first ever northern hemisphere tag World Cup.
Under the leadership of Barry, Felix and Gary Ireland claimed 8 medals and impressed the tag World with their quality and progress.
Barry was appointed “Team Ireland” manager in 2013/14, and became responsible for establishing international tag rugby in the northern hemisphere. Under his leadership Ireland has won all but two British & Irish Cups held in the period.
Felix first joined the programme as coach of the Men’s 30s, leading them to a World Cup semi final in 2018. After two years at Men’s Open he professed to the role of Performance Director, where he designed the programme which culminated in historic World Cup success.
Gary joined the Irish tag programme in 2022, and delivered Ireland’s first accredited coaching training programme in April of that year. While based in Australia - where he is an Oztag Hall of Fame inductee - he offered mentoring and advice to Irish tag squad coaches, and attended both the 2022 British & Irish Cup and the recent World Cup in Limerick.
“Irish tag rugby owes a debt of gratitude to all three of these exceptional men, who move on from their roles with our best wishes,” said Simon Bewley, ITRA founder and director with responsibility for the international programme.
“We wouldn’t have the programme and structures we do now without Barry. He has been central to practically every positive development in elite tag in Ireland, which is unrecognisable now compared to when he first took up the role”.
“Coaches like Felix are a rare find, combining passion for the game with granular expertise and strong leadership skills. We have no doubt that he will continue to inspire athletes and young people in his other roles."
“Gary’s appointment signalled how seriously we were taking the home side’s showing at the World Cup. Thanks to Gary we now have more qualified tag coaches in Ireland than ever and this can only be good for the future of Irish tag”
“We in ITRA are so grateful for their many years of service, sacrifice, volunteerism and above all their advancement of the game.”
"On behalf of ITRA I would like to thank Barry, Felix and Gary for all their hard work, time and dedication to developing Tag over the years reaching our goal of improving the quality of Tag on and off the pitch. This was proven with all teams being so competitive on the pitch at the recent TWC and so many podium medals. Wishing them all the best in the future. "
ITRA will now set about making arrangements for the programme in future seasons and will make announcements to this effect in due course.