THE IRFU SAYS it will sink an extra €4 million per annum into the four provinces and the club game from the start of the 2015/16 season onwards, after reporting an encouraging financial surplus in its annual accounts.

Munster and Leinster will get a financial top-up. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Irish rugby’s governing body reports it had a surplus in excess of €8.7 million for 2014/15 on account of ticket sales, prize money for their Six Nations triumph and new broadcast agreements.

The IRFU says that surplus resulted in a “net cash operating surplus of €1.2 million after amortised non cash income and expenditure were accounted,” comparing favourably with the €1 million deficit reported for the 2013/14 season.

Leinster, Ulster, Munster and Connacht will now get a top-up to their finances and the Irish club game will also benefit from the overall €4 million injection.

Despite these positive reportings from the union, honorary treasurer Tom Grace warned against anyone getting carried away.

The former Ireland international pointed to the relative financial might of French and English rugby as an ongoing concern, while also highlighting the issue of free-to-air TV rights.

“There are significant risks facing the union, including economic uncertainty, the free-to-air issue and the relative financial strength of our partners and competitors in international and provincial rugby,” said Grace in an IRFU statement.

“For the second year in a row the success of the national team in the RBS 6 Nations has boosted the level of prize money secured from the tournament.

Ireland are hoping for another decent crowd tomorrow at the Aviva. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“The strong support of the national team at the Aviva Stadium remains a vital source of revenue for the union and contributes massively to the IRFU’s ability to provide funding to all levels of the game in Ireland.”

Meanwhile, the IRFU announced that Martin O’Sullivan, a UL Bohemians clubman, has been enrolled as the 128th president of the union.

The Sligo native played club rugby with Bohemians and Cork outfit Dolphin, before returning to Limerick to play an integral role in the merger of the University of Limerick and Bohemians clubs in 1999.

O’Sullivan was first elected to the IRFU Committee in 2005, going on to serve in a range of positions within the union. He helped to develop the union’s ‘Plan Ireland’ process, which has seen the National Professional Game Board come into life and also created the powerful position of performance director for David Nucifora.

O’Sullivan succeeds Louis Magee.

The Tullow Tank is delighted to be captaining Ireland for the first time‘Cian is a chirpy and happy fella… you don’t want to get him mad!’