The future of rugby in Donegal is looking brighter than ever after the Donegal Community Rugby Project was officially launch on Thursday, with the help of Ulster and Ireland’s Bryan Young and Isaac Boss and the province’s Italian lock Carlo Del Fava.
The main event was held in Jackson’s Hotel at 5pm and a large number of people gathered to give their support to this exciting new initiative which is the first of its kind in Ulster.
Commenting on the project, Ulster Branch President David Workman said: “The profile of rugby football has never been higher and it is important that we all take every opportunity to promote the game and there is no better time to launch this exciting programme than in the week leading up to the final of yet another very successful and high profile World Cup.”
Also speaking at the event were Graeme Cattermole, Chairman of the DCRP, Jonathan Llewhellin, the Project Leader, and IRFU Junior Vice President John Callaghan.
Llewhellin, who is the Community Rugby Development Officer for Donegal, will be assisted by Youth Development Officers Shane O’Neill and Declan Bushell.
This is the first time that three development officers have been working in Donegal and will mean a major step forward in developing club-school links in the area, a vital element to the success of the project.
The DCRP brings together the four rugby clubs in the region – Ballyshannon RFC, Donegal Town RFC, Inishowen RFC and Letterkenny RFC – the schools and the local community and representatives from all these groups were in attendance at the launch, lending their full support and looking forward to the future with enthusiasm. Ulster and Ireland prop Bryan Young was also in attendance.
The launch was preceded by a Tag Blitz, which was held in the Finn Valley centre in Stranorlar on Thursday morning. Sixteen primary schools from throughout Donegal competed and each team came dressed up as one of the nations who have competed at the 2007 World Cup.
A parade of nations was held before kick-off and the teachers must be praised for the amount of work and effort that went into the costumes. A great morning of rugby was had by all and the event was topped off by the presence of Isaac Boss and Carlo De Fava.
The Ulster duo handed out goody bags to the schools and happily posed for photos with each team. They also handed out prizes to the teams that won the Best Dressed, Fair Play and Skill awards at the end of the tournament.
Isaac and Carlo were delighted with the reception that received from the kids and were suitably impressed by the rugby played, the fancy dress outfits and, most of all, by the energy and enthusiasm the kids showed for rugby. Thanks must be extended to everyone who attended and helped make the launch such a success.