This year will see Shannon RFC host its 6th annual Good Friday Festival of Rugby. With no signs of slowing down, the festival is now bigger than ever.
Shannon RFC’s Good Friday Festival of Rugby began in 2015 when they hosted a touring side from Turin, Italy. In order to give the Italian visitors a real flavour of Irish rugby, the club made the decision to host a small rugby festival featuring 24 teams ranging from U10s to U14s. It was a huge success and with that the decision was made to make it an annual occurrence.
Each year the festival has grown in participation. 2019 saw 52 teams take part, with 1,200 players descending on Shannon’s grounds in Coonagh. The below video shows gives a flavour of the event.
Local teams are not the only ones catered for with teams from the UK and the Netherlands also making appearances. Each year brings a new challenge and bolsters Shannon’s aim to increase numbers and allow as many teams as possible to participate. This has seen the Shannon RFC Good Friday Festival of Rugby become one of the biggest underage festivals in Ireland.
Shannon RFC’s Underage Chairperson Michael McInerney says it is all down to the hard work of volunteers bringing it all together.
“Volunteers are the core of this club,” he explained. “Everything we do needs a volunteer to make it happen and this event is no different. People from the underage section and the senior section have come together and gotten stuck in. Months of planning has come into it but we feel we get as much out of it as we put into it.”
Generous local sponsors ensure packed lunches for all who take place, as well as participation medals and the coveted Good Friday Trophy – presented to the winning u14s team who are in their final year of the competition.
Last year Shannon were delighted to open the competition to include girl’s rugby. There has been a flourishing girls’ section in Shannon for many years and it was fantastic to host clubs with similar set-ups to successfully run a girl’s league.
For the first time this year, it is hoped that it will be possible to include a mixed ability league and have a Shannon team take part. This is an exciting venture for the club as it is another opportunity to become more inclusive – a goal Shannon always strives toward.
Each year there is a special guest appearance at the festival. Whether it’s the Mayor of Limerick or some Munster players or Current/Past Internationals – one thing to be sure of is that both of the Club’s Senior Men’s and Women’s players are always present on the day. They run an Easter camp usually in the week before Good Friday, so it is a great chance for them to catch up with the players they have coached and to see them in action.
Overall – not only is it a wonderful Club day in which senior players, members, MAR referees, parents, coaches and committee members all volunteer – it is a fantastic family day. The recent addition of food stalls (including our famous Coonagh Hot Dogs) and music playing all day makes for a jovial atmosphere. The overall emphasise of the festival is to focus on fun, inclusivity and happiness and it is the highlight of Shannon’s events calendar each year.
If your team would like to be involved in this year’s festival, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place.
Plenty of happy kids here at the Good Friday Festival of Rugby pic.twitter.com/G9UAXgBwve
— Shannon RFC (@Shannon_RFC) April 19, 2019