Oaklands Community College, in partnership with Edenderry RFC, have introduced full contact rugby to first and second year boys this school year.
In September of this year, Edenderry Community Rugby Officer Patsy Gorman met with Oaklands Community College PE teacher Róisín O’Connell, who was appointed to the school in 2010, to discuss Tag rugby in the school.
At the meeting Patsy proposed in conjunction with the Tag rugby, that the school should consider introducing full contact rugby.
The response from Ms O’Connell was very positive and out of further meetings also with Principal Gerry Connolly, appointed in 2008, Oaklands Community College’s first rugby squad was born.
At a time when rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and with the success of provincial sides and our national team, Oaklands CC has chosen to take this step and offer its students the opportunity to represent their school in rugby.
Oaklands Community College in Edenderry, County Offaly dates back to the 1920s from the establishment of classes in the town hall and the Methodist Church, to the move to the old workhouse in the early 1930s.
In 1950 the government gave approval for building and in 1958 a four-roomed school was built with further extensions built in the 1980s and 1990s.
At present there are 426 students enrolled in the school, which is academically focused but also caters for many sports within their curriculum.
School Principal Connolly encourages diversity within the school and the school ethos is very much about serving the community, maintaining a tradition that can be traced back 80 years. Present enrolments indicate the esteem in which it is held in the Edenderry area.
At present the school rugby squad is only in its fifth week of training but with more than 30 boys from first and second year participating at present, the future looks bright.
The players trains on Wednesday afternoons after school at 1.30pm in the school field. The short term goal is to field a team this season in the School Development League in Offaly for first and second years.
The medium term goal would be to progress to a third year Junior School team next year and then follow on eventually to a senior side.
Community Rugby Officer Patsy Gorman said: “There is a great deal of optimism from Ms O’Connell and Mr Connolly in venturing into this new area for the school.
“From what I have seen so far of the approach of the students and the commitment of the staff involved, I feel this will prove very successful for the school in the future.”
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