The Ulster Branch of the IRFU held its annual Maxol Primary Schools Mini Rugby Festival at Ravenhill earlier this month, running from Tuesday through to Friday. 32 schools took part from across the province.
This was Maxol's first year of involvement as sponsor and the Mini Rugby Festival proved to be a big success.
Each school got the opportunity to play three matches against other primary schools followed by a packed lunch provided by Maxol and an opportunity to meet an Ulster star at the end of the day. This year the players present were Rory Best, Robbie Diack, Paddy Wallace and Stephen Ferris(pictured below).
The participating schools came from right across the province, with three schools attending the Maxol event for the first time - Carniny PS (Ballymena), Millburn PS (Coleraine) and Ballyholme PS (Bangor).
A big thank you from Ulster Rugby to all the schools for taking part - they showed tremendous enthusiasm and skill throughout the festival.
Thanks also to the Ulster Society for providing referees and of course to sponsors Maxol - with their help, Ulster Rugby have managed to increase the number of schools playing mini rugby in Ulster to 92.
In order to be eligible to play at Ravenhill, each school must affiliate to the Ulster Branch of the IRFU and take part in a regional qualifying blitz of which there are eight throughout the province.
It was an action-packed Saturday on the domestic club scene as UCD and St. Mary's College maintained their table-topping form in Divisions 1A and 1B, and Enniscorthy won the Ulster Bank Junior Cup for the second time in three years.
The Ulster Bank League resumed last weekend with last year's champions Lansdowne hosting current table toppers UCD. Check out the best of the action from an exciting Division 1A encounter on the Aviva Stadium's back pitch.
Ireland's U-18 School and U-18 Club players were part of a three day camp over the Christmas period and received specialist training and advice workshops as they continue their development path. We spoke to Team Manager John McKinney, Caoches Noel McNamara and Mark Butler and IRFU High Performance Manager Colin McEntee about the structure of the three days and the season ahead for the players.
The IRFU High Performance Unit, under Colin McEntee, and Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek brought together coaches from all four provinces and Ireland representative teams to share ideas and look at recent trends in scrummaging. We spoke to Colin and Greg on the day.
Watch the IRFU/Ulster Bank 'Your Club, Your Country' Grand Draw which took place at Irish Rugby headquarters. The winning tickets were drawn by IRFU President Martin O'Sullivan and Lionel Mahon of Ulster Bank, with Aidan Connaughton of Grant Thornton overseeing the draw. The full list of winners is available here - http://www.irishrugby.ie/news/36203.php.
Table toppers Clontarf entertained Galwegians in Ulster Bank League Division 1A, hosting the game on their new 4G pitch which was officially opened on the day by Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and IRFU President Martin O'Sullivan.
With the Ulster Bank League resuming this week, we take a look back at a cracking Division 1A contest from the last round when Old Belvedere got the better of defending champions Lansdowne at Anglesea Road.
There was huge excitement surrounding the Aviva Irish Schools Rugby Festival last Sunday as 32 boys and girls teams got to play at the home of Irish Rugby. We hear from IRFU National Age-Grade Manager Hendrik Kruger, Shane Culleton from St. MacDara's, Ireland Women's star Jenny Murphy and some of the players involved on the day.
We take a look back at one of the best games from the opening four rounds of Ulster Bank League Division 1A - Galwegians' memorable 41-20 defeat of reigning champions Lansdowne at Crowley Park last Saturday.
Highlights of Lansdowne's 24-10 Friday Night Lights victory over Terenure College on the Aviva Stadium's back pitch, as Mike Ruddock's men maintain their unbeaten start to the Ulster Bank League season.
Galwegians head coach Matt Brown talks about his side's return to Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League, while New Zealander Josh Hrstich, captain of Garryowen, looks forward to their campaign - including this Friday's derby clash with Young Munster.
The Ulster Bank League kicks off on Friday night and fans can tune in from around the world for IrishRugby.ie's live stream of the Division 1A opener between UCD and Clontarf at the Belfield Bowl (kick-off 7.30pm). We hear from captains Stephen Murphy and Ben Reilly.
Ireland Women's internationals Nora Stapleton and Niamh Briggs talk to Irish Rugby TV about the IRFU's new Long Term Player Development Model for Women's rugby. For more on Women's LTPD, please visit www.irishrugby.ie/womensltpd.
The launch of the IRFU Long Term Player Development programme for Women's rugby is an important milestone in the game. Michael McGeehin of Coaching Ireland and Louis Magee, former IRFU President, speak about the programme.
The Irish Rugby Football Union will help clubs make the most of the upcoming Rugby World Cup with a number of initiatives designed to make clubs 'THE' place to support the men in green during England 2015.
MU Barnhall RFC hosted their first ever Special Needs Tag Rugby Blitz last weekend. Great fun was had by the players and coaches from the Barnhall Buffaloes, Salmo Eagles, Westmanstown Taggers, Terenure Tigers and Mullingar Lions as they showed that rugby is a sport for all.