The IRFU should make the wearing of protective headgear compulsory for rugby players, a Fine Gael Senator has said this morning.
Senator Kieran O'Donnell raised the issue in the Seanad in light of a junior cup game being stopped after nine minutes play yesterday when three players suffered concussion injuries.
The game involved the senator's old school St Munchin's College against Presentation Brothers College, Cork in Musgrave Park.
After an hour delay, St Munchin's declined to continue the game, and as a result, they will have to await the referee's report regarding the outcome of the fixture.
Three young players got head-related injuries with concussion, while two players were injured in a game between St Clements and Castletroy College the previous day.
"What I really want is that the IRFU would make the wearing of head gear, particularly for junior cup players, compulsory and particularly for forward players," said O'Donnell.
"The comparison I would make is with hurling in the GAA where they introduced the use of compulsory wearing of headgear first for underage players and it developed then for senior players.
"Even if you look at senior level of rugby some of our players have got multiple concussions. It's something that we need to look at."
"The game has changed, backs are required to tackle and be defensive. We see the way Brian O'Driscoll's game changed over the years.
"I hope in the spirit of friendship that it will be replayed," said Munchins past pupil O'Donnell. "I welcome the fact that the PBC players visited the St Munchin's players in hospital in Cork."
The coaching staff at St Munchin's stand by their decision not to return to the field of play when requested by match officials.
“Our young squad of players were not in a safe psychological state to return to the field and continue to play in a tough physical cup contest,” explained rugby coach Pat Cross, speaking in today's Limerick Leader.
"We were very much taken aback and distressed by the fact that the referee requested us to return to the field and that the game would continue in five minutes and proceeded to start the game with no opposition on the field.
“As a proud, sporting and respected rugby school, that has made a huge contribution to Munster and Irish rugby, we have never being involved in such an incident and did not make our decision lightly.
“A very long delay for the first concussion in which a player was knocked out cold for 10 minutes and was removed 20 minutes after the incident by ambulance, was followed by another injury which also required removal by ambulance 30 minutes later. Including the serious injuries the total delay in play was 54 minutes,” said Cross.
He added: “We now had insufficient coaches to cover our squad as some had to attend to the injured players.”
A statement from Munster rugby said that “The Munster Rugby Schools Committee and the Age Grade Competitions Group will consult with the match referee in reviewing the fixture”.