This Thursday marks the launch of the Donegal Community Rugby Project (DCRP) in Ballybofey and Stranorlar. The project has been a year in the making and is an extremely positive step for the development of rugby in the county.
The project aims to establish a quality structure that provides a pathway and opportunity for the playing of rugby football at all levels within the Donegal area. The DCRP brings together the four rugby clubs in the region (Donegal Town RFC, Inishowen RFC, Letterkenny RFC and Ballyshannon RFC), the schools and the local community, providing opportunities for people in the county to be positively involved in the growth of rugby in their community.
As a result of the project, there are now three Development Officers working in the area compared to just one in previous years.
Jonathan Llewhellin, who has been the Development Officer for Donegal for the past three years, will become the Community Rugby Development Officer (Donegal) and be assisted by Youth Development Officers Shane O’Neill and Declan Bushell who came into post in August this year.
The purpose of these appointments is to introduce the game to more national and secondary schools in Donegal, to develop a programme of rugby-related events and to enhance the club-school links within the county.
The IRFU are providing agreed resources to the project and quality assurance mechanisms through the development of national programmes, while the Ulster Branch of the IRFU is responsible for staffing the project and its management and oversight in partnership with the DCRP.
The Ulster Branch will also monitor the achievement of the agreed key performance indicators and provide the promotional and marketing support to the project.
The DCRP, under the chairmanship of Graeme Cattermole, are responsible for the implementation and working of the project in conjunction with the Ulster Branch, managing the strategic objectives and the day to day operational management of the programme and to ensure that records are kept in respect of work carried out in schools, community groups and the four Donegal clubs.
Speaking of the project, Ulster Branch President David Workman said: “I am delighted to be associated with this project which I believe will not only sustain the work of the four clubs in Donegal, but also create new rugby playing opportunities for schools and the general community in the county.”
The main launch event on Thursday will commence at 5pm in Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey and will be attended by local councillors, politicians, local rugby clubs and schools as well as personnel from the IRFU, the Ulster Branch and members of the Ulster squad.
In conjunction with the launch, a tag rugby blitz has been organised at the Finn Valley Centre, Stranorlar earlier in the day. The blitz, which will see local primary schools competing, will kick off at 11am.
It is anticipated that Ulster and Ireland players Isaac Boss and Bryan Young and Ulster and Italy’s Carlo Del Fava will also be making an appearance at the launch of the project in Stranorlar and Ballybofey.