It was a day of sunshine and fun for over 350 boys and girls, drawn from clubs all over Ireland, who took part in the Aviva Rugby Festival in Ashbourne RFC last Saturday. From Tralee to Armagh and all points in between, 20 clubs made the day a huge success.
The Aviva Rugby Festival in Ashbourne RFC was a celebration of mini rugby in Ireland. Clubs the length and breadth of Ireland are bursting with life when the mini rugby brigade are training and the players of the future were on hand on Saturday to take part in the festival.
Host club Ashbourne were well represented by their Under-12 team along with five other Leinster clubs – Birr, Boyne, Naas, Old Belvedere (pictured) and Tullow.
From Ulster Ballyclare, Dromore, Holywood and Virginia were joined by Armagh, home club of current IRFU President John Callaghan.
Munster were represented by Castleisland, Shannon, Thomond, Thurles and Tralee, while Westport and Ballina brought two teams each from Connacht, showing just how popular mini rugby is at their clubs.
Each team played four 20-minute games as part of the day and the boys and girls were delighted with their Aviva Festival goody bag that included a mini rugby ball, a kicking tee, a water bottle and boot bag to keep them happy on the trip home!
There may well have been a future Luke Fitzgerald, Keith Earls, Stephen Ferris or John Muldoon in the ranks of the teams but the Aviva Rugby Festival is all about building on the success of IRFU Mini Rugby which is designed for boys and girls of all ability and to instil a love and understanding of the game in a fun, safe and healthy environment.
Special thanks go to host club Ashbourne RFC, to all involved in the organisation off the day itself, to the parents and coaches of the Mini Rugby teams and to the boys and girls for making the Aviva Rugby Festival a great success.