Tom Kiernan, (centre) the first Chairman of ERC and one of the founding fathers of the Heineken Cup, was today honoured for his part in the launch and early running of Europe's premier club rugby tournament.
Tom Kiernan, the first Chairman of ERC and one of the founding fathers of the Heineken Cup, was today honoured for his part in the launch and early running of Europe's premier club rugby tournament.
The 69-year-old former full back, who won 54 Irish caps and captained both his country and the British & Irish Lions, was ERC Chairman from 1995 to 1999.
In London today he was announced as the inaugural winner of a new annual presentation, the Heineken Cup Achievement Award.
The award in recognition of the key role Mr Kiernan played in the early years of the then fledgling tournament was presented to him by ERC Chairman Jean-Pierre Lux.
"Tom did an outstanding job in helping launch the tournament at extremely short notice and then defending and championing the principles and objectives of the Heineken Cup," said M. Lux.
"The Heineken Cup has made enormous strides since 1995 and the groundwork done by Tom in those early seasons has proved to be the perfect and solid foundation for the continuing growth of the tournament."
Mr Kiernan said: "I have to share this honour with the late Vernon Pugh who was responsible for not only instigating the Heineken Cup concept, but also so many other things around the advent of professionalism in rugby in the 1990s.
"The Heineken Cup has grown into the wonderful product we always believe it could become and now everyone looks forward to Heineken Cup matches across Europe."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.