An exciting chapter in the life of City of Derry RFC emerged this month when the club officially announced community support for their unique initiative that uses rugby as a uniting force in the city.
City of Derry uses buses to ferry over 100 boys from the Protestant and Catholic areas of the city to train and play together in a neutral environment. The club has also embraced Ladies rugby and with over 60 girls training for the last five months, they are now fielding adult and Under-18 teams in the Ulster and All-Ireland Leagues.
The Mini rugby section in the club is also vibrant with 120 boys availing of coaching every Saturday morning. City of Derry RFC sees their magnificent facilities as a shared space in the community and has ladies and mens’ Gaelic football clubs, soccer clubs and other social groupings using the club every week.
The local community has copper fastened this initiative for the next three years by giving financial support. Da Vinci’s Hotel, Derry, a local-owned and operated business, has come in as the club’s new main sponsor.
The other sponsors of the project are Fleming Doors from St Johnston in Donegal, owned by James Fleming, a former City of Derry Player. Desmond Motors and Seamus Mallon have been friends of City of Derry for many years and are once again supporting the club.
McDonalds, through local representative David Walker, and Alpha Environmental, through club chairman Alan McClure, are also supporting this worthy project.
O’Neill’s Sports are once again generously sponsoring City of Derry and have designed new sports and leisurewear to accompany their appointment as sole kit suppliers to the AIB League Division Three club.
Speaking at the recent announcement of the club’s community support, chief executive of the Garvin O’Doherty Group, Garvin O’Doherty said; “Da Vinci’s Hotel are very proud to be associated with City of Derry RFC. We have followed the success of the club over the years and for a long time now we have admired the work that the club carries out across community divides.
“We are delighted to be in a position to get involved on a more meaningful level with the club and to help in any way we can.”
City of Derry RFC President Robbie Dunn added: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Da Vinci’s Hotel, Fleming Doors, O’Neill’s Sports, McDonalds, Desmond Motors and Alpha Environmental for their generous sponsorship of the club.
“We would also like to thank the other numerous sponsors and individuals who have also contributed to make all these wonderful initiatives happen within our club. This is the dawn of a new era for City of Derry RFC and we look forward to a fruitful and successful working partnership with all our sponsors.”
City of Derry recently announced the appointment of a new coaching team, headed by Neil Stewart, a former player with the club. With their new coaches in position and following recent victories over Ballymena, Ards and Banbridge in the Ulster League, interest and support for the club has never been higher and a successful AIB League campaign is anticipated.