Leinster and Ireland’s Joey Carbery is the ambassador for Clontarf’s newest team – the Clontarf Bulls – set up specially for local children aged 6 to 14 with special needs.
Joey Carbery, fresh from his exploits with Leinster in their Champions Cup quarter-final win over Wasps, got to meet with the boys and girls in Clontarf FC yesterday morning.
Many of the children involved have challenges such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, visual or hearing impairments, or other learning needs.
The Clontarf Bulls are being led by a group of rugby coaches and volunteers with a particular interest in promoting the abilities of these children and rightfully including them in Clontarf Rugby. The coaching group draws on active players, ex-players, teachers, SNAs, and academics in the fields of people with special needs.
Sunday mornings on the new all-weather pitch in Clontarf consist of drills, games and training that are pre-planned and aimed at being easy to follow and enjoyable for players and coaches. Each participant is provided with one-to-one coaching throughout the session.
Speaking at yesterday’s event, Carbery said: “I’m delighted to be an ambassador to the Clontarf Bulls. I’ve played rugby from a young age and it has given me such great opportunities to make friends, gain confidence, learn lots of new skills and the sport gives me huge enjoyment.
“The Clontarf Bulls is a fantastic initiative that has been set up here in Clontarf Rugby Club. Seeing how much excitement and joy the players get down here on a Sunday morning, being part of a team, learning lots of new skills and getting some great exercise is just really positive and I’m looking forward to seeing how the players all develop over the coming season.”
Michael Dreelan is a parent of one of the players, Tom, who is 11 years-old. He said: “Sunday morning is the high point of our weekend. First thing – and often ridiculously early! – Tom bounces in, demanding his Clontarf gear. Then it’s all go until he hits the turf without a backward glance, rugby takes over. Such a pleasure to see him totally focus on playing, giving his all and really developing.
“Training is the most amazing fun, he chases his coach to poach the ball and charges for the line. He always looks to me once the ball is grounded – those moments of joy are priceless.
“My beautiful boy is not always the chattiest with other kids – it’s hard for him – but at the Bulls he is with his ‘rugby friends’. When I see him in the huddle, shouting out that he is a boy ‘from Clontarf FC’, I know we are part of something very special and he has a place to belong.
“Now, with ‘Clontarf Bulls’ hats and team jackets from Nolan’s Supermarket, the Bulls are taking over the week days too! It doesn’t matter whether the weather is fine or foul, the Clontarf jacket is the only one worn to school. When I see it, and Tom’s ever more confident running and playing, I am so thankful we have the Bulls.”
Terry Browne, Clontarf’ Chairman of Rugby, said: “Clontarf FC has, at the core of its rugby ethos, the provision of rugby to all in our community regardless of gender or ability. The introduction of the ‘Bulls’ to our player community is the final piece in this jigsaw and compliments perfectly the thriving Youth & Minis, Women’s and Men’s rugby sections.
“In addition the whole ‘Bulls’ experience on a Sunday morning affords so many of our members old and young, the opportunity to engage so positively and enjoyably with a fantastic bunch of boys and girls.”
Alongside Paul Nolan of Nolan’s Supermarket and Hardware, Carbery was at training yesterday to meet and greet the players and take part in the training session. The young Ireland international also signed autographs and presented the players with a signed ball from Canterbury of New Zealand.
Nolan’s Supermarket in Clontarf have come on board as sponsors of the side and have provided ‘Clontarf Bulls’ jackets to all of the players.
Paul Nolan of Nolan’s Supermarket and Hardware, who was on hand on Sunday to officially present the players with their jackets, said: “Nolan’s are delighted to be sponsors of the Clontarf Bulls. The Bulls are a special team in Clontarf and as a supermarket that is at the heart of the community in Clontarf we are proud to be associated with them.”
Parents interested in getting their child with intellectual needs involved with the Clontarf Bulls should contact the Club Office by phone on (01) 8336214 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.