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Enniscorthy RFC: Focus On Youth

Enniscorthy RFC: Focus On Youth

Founded in 1912, Enniscorthy RFC could be described as a well established club. Anyone who knows the club, however, will tell you there is nothing old about the club. A vibrant youth section shows that the club believes in investing for the future.

Enniscorthy’s youth section received a tremendous boost last season when their Under-14s won the Leinster League and their Under-16s won the Leinster Cup.

This was the pinnacle, so far, for a youth section which was founded back in the 1960s by such stalwarts as Bill Lett, Sidney Murphy, David Haslacher, Jim Henderson and progressed from there by Tony Reid and Alfie Walsh.

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The club is alive on a Saturday morning with 150-160 mini players under the control of Larry Mackey, the mini co-ordinator, who recently took over from David Butler and their coaches.

The aim is to have at least three coaches for each age group with regular non competitive blitzes, with the overall childrens’ welfare been overseen by Evelyn Owen, who recently took over from another teacher Andy Doyle in this post.

On Tuesday and Thursday nights it is the youths training with about 25 Under-18 players under the guidance of John Bolger, Alan Smith, Seamus Shore and Liam Spratt.

Enniscorthy U16s

The Under-16s have in excess of 40 players and because of the numbers they have two teams in Leinster League, one operating at Premier level coached by Johnny Mythen and Dick Harpur and one at Division One level, looked after by Seamus O’Leary and John McCrea.

The Under-14s have about 30 players looked after this year by Andrew Owen, John Farrar, Brian Roche and Paddy Farrell.

The success last season has been the club’s greatest recruiting tool with new members arriving at all levels at start of September.

The club has a good relationship with the local GAA clubs who encourage their members to play rugby during the winter, while the rugby also encourage their young members to join their local club and play hurling and football in the summer.

This is beneficial to both codes as it produces a more skilful and rounded player and Enniscorthy find that their best underage players are those who also play hurling as well.

The club also has strong ties with local schools through YDO Ken Leech and RDO Declan O’Brien, especially CBS Eniscorthy who won last years Junior development cup for start up schools in Leinster, this team was backboned by Enniscorthy youths players and in turn it encouraged players who had not played rugby before to join the club.

The club receives support from teachers Brendan O’Sullivan, Terri Talbot and principal John Ryan.
The managers of each of the youth teams are U14 Rose Ryan, U16 Ray Hemmingway and U18 Rory Fanning who deal with all registration and logistics leaving the coaches free to coach with no worries re transport or clerical matters.

While it was enjoyable for the club to win both trophies last year – much credit must go to head coaches John Bolger (U-14) and Mick Breen (U-16), the most important aspect from Enniscorthy’s youth/mini policy is to produce a rounded player who will still be playing rugby at adult level, to the highest level appropriate to their ability. 

Anyone who receives the regular email updates from cub stalwart and Youth Co-ordinator Paul McCrea will know that the policy pays dividends week in, week out and that win or lose the youngsters of Enniscorthy Rugby Club will keep alive the traditions of the game.