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International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament Shortlisted For European Prize

Robert Crory of the Banbridge Barbarians scores a try with his teammates during the event 10/6/2022

2022 International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament World Cup, Musgrave Park, Cork 10/6/2022 Robert Crory of the Banbridge Barbarians scores a try with his teammates during the event Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tom Maher

IMART, the International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament, which took place in Musgrave Park in June has been shortlisted has been shortlisted for the European Diversity Awards. IMART has been nominated in the Community Project of the Year Category with the winners announced in November.

Showcasing the Spirit of Rugby, and featuring six Ireland teams as well as a host of Mixed Ability teams from all over the world, IMART 2022 proved to be a huge success on and off the field.

28 teams and 1,100 players from 14 different nations came to Musgrave Park. West Cork Jesters, Malone Tornadoes, Sunday’s Well Rebels, Banbridge Barbarians and Ballincollig Trailblazers represented Ireland with skill and pride and made headlines around the world with some wonderful examples of the spirit of rugby.

Mixed Ability is not a disability team, players are not classified by physical, intellectual or mental disabilities or barriers. It is a team open to anyone who wants to play regular full contact rugby…for rugby’s sake.

If you happen to have some form of disability or barrier but want to play regular rugby, then you are more than welcome. Games are played in true rugby spirit where of course you want to win, but either side getting hammered on the scoreboard is not much fun. 

Speaking after the tournament, IRFU Disability & Inclusion Officer David McKay, himself a volunteer and player with the Malone Tornadoes said,

“My hope would be that this is only the start. There is a place for everyone in the rugby family and Mixed Ability Rugby is designed to give everyone the chance to belong to a rugby club.”

“There are six active mixed ability teams around the provinces at the moment and our hope is that IMART can inspire more clubs to offer mixed ability rugby to their members.

“We’ve seen former internationals come out of retirement to play alongside our star players along with current Energia AIL players and former junior players.

“At the heart of it is a drive to provide a positive rugby experience through rugby for people of all ages and abilities, especially those who wouldn’t have access to rugby otherwise.”