The Aviva Mini Rugby Festival took place at Dubarry Park in Athlone last Sunday, with 20 teams representing all four provinces taking part in a wonderful day of rugby.
The Aviva Mini Rugby Festivals bring together mini rugby teams from all over Ireland. The first festival of the season took place at Dubarry Park, home of Buccaneers RFC, last Sunday.
The weather was kind enough on the day and the rugby was played in the true spirit of the game. The ethos of mini rugby encompasses participation and skills and places a strong emphasis on enjoyment and inclusion.
The Aviva Mini Rugby Festivals bring together clubs from all four provinces and help to foster ties between clubs that would not otherwise meet.
The festivals offer a chance for coaches to compare notes and for young players to show their skills and enjoy meeting players from other clubs.
Last Sunday’s event was organised and run by Willie Gribben, the National Mini Rugby co-ordinator, and Diarmuid Morrissey, the event organiser, along with Hendrik Kruger, the IRFU’s National Age Grade manager.
The pitch co-ordinators, who ensure that the ethos of the game and of fair play is adhered to by players, coaches and spectators, were: Michael McSwiney (Munster), Geoff Reid (Ulster), Harry Nicholls (Leinster) and Ger Roche (Connacht). Norman O’Leary was the referee co-ordinator on the day.
IRFU National Age Grade manager Hendrik Kruger was delighted with how the day went. He said: “This is the first big rugby experience for many of these young players and it is important that they have a positive view of the game.
“I am very grateful to all those who organised the event and equally to the coaches and parents who volunteer their time week in, week out in clubs all over Ireland and who are a vital part of ensuring that our young players develop in a healthy and fun environment.
“I would also like to thank our sponsors Aviva for their interest in mini rugby and the goody bags which all the players received – it was a nice way to round off a great day of rugby in Athlone.”
Aviva Mini Rugby Festival Clubs –
Pitch 1: Claremorris, Clontarf , Ballina/Killaloe, Ballynahinch and Ratoath.
Pitch 2: Creggs, Enniscorthy, Thurles, Killarney and Lisburn.
Pitch 3: Oughterard, Midland Warriors, Clanwilliam, Lurgan and Virginia.
Pitch 4: Ballinasloe, Newbridge, Ennis, Clontarf and Portadown.