Co-operation Ireland #45in45 – Ireland vs Barbarians 1996 Peace International programme

Co-operation Ireland #45in45 – Ireland vs Barbarians 1996 Peace International programme

Fri 15 Mar 2024 by Co-operation Ireland

In 2024 we are marking Co-operation Ireland’s 45th anniversary by exploring our history through 45 items.


Item 9: Ireland vs Barbarians 1996 Peace International programme

As the 2024 Six Nations draws to a close we look back at a very special game held almost 30 years ago in Lansdowne Road and featuring some of the most iconic names to ever have played with the oval ball for which Co-operation North/Co-operation Ireland were the charity sponsor.

In 1996 the peace process was finding it’s feet and as the atmosphere in Ireland began to lift, Trevor Ringland – who now sits on Co-operation Ireland’s board – and Hugo MacNeill, both former Irish internationals, helped to organise an Ireland vs Barbarians game at the home of Irish Rugby in Dublin.

In the words of then Barbarians Club President Mickey Steele-Bodger, “The idea of such an event was first dreamed up by Hugo and Trevor who saw it as a way of creating an opportunity for all those in Ireland who support rugby to show, in a purposefully non political way, their hope and desire for Peace.”

The game was a barn burner – the Barbarians, who included world famous stars such as David Campese, Phillipe Sella of France, Francois Pienaar of South Africa and England’s Rory Underwood, finished with 70 points to Ireland’s score of 50.

More information on the momentous day can be found via the World Rugby Museum here.

Lending his support to the event on the day was leading businessman and former Irish international Tony O’Reilly, who branded the event a “tremendous statement of the overwhelming desire in Ireland and beyond for peace in our country”.

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