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Bangor Minis Take Spirit Of Rugby On Tour

Bangor Minis Take Spirit Of Rugby On Tour

Offical photo of the touring party with BRFCC President Tony Heffernan (left) and Vice President Drew Kennedy (right). 

Bangor are putting Spirit Of Rugby to the fore as their youngest players get ready for a first ever tour overseas.

Their P7 mini rugby team are travelling to Italy in May to take part in an international event which will feature teams from France, Monaco and Italy.

The touring party of over 60 includes nearly 30 players, many of whom have been playing together since P1.

The team will be hosted by Imperia Rugby, the mini rugby section for Union Riviera Rugby, and play in the first ever Columbanus Tri Nations Cup, set up by both Bangor and Imperia minis as part of the Columbanus Project.

Head Coach and BRFCC Mini Rugby Convenor Stuart McCartan said:

“There is huge excitement amongst the playing group and coaches as everyone recognises the fantastic opportunity this group has to represent Bangor RFC, Ulster Rugby and Ireland.”

“At a recent briefing we shared with the touring party our own version of the IRFU ‘Spirit of Rugby’.

If it is good enough for Grand Slam Winners McCloskey, Van der Flier and Sexton – it’s good enough for us.”

Bangor’s mini rugby section is one of largest in Ulster with hundreds of children taking part every Sunday during the rugby season, from P1 to P7.  Stuart sums up the ethos of the club:

“It’s about having fun, taking part and learning to play rugby with each other as part of a team.

The coaches throughout the club work really hard to ensure everyone enjoys the game – and make sure everyone is welcome.

We have boys and girls from a wide range of schools and backgrounds taking part and we aim to create an inclusive environment in which we can all have fun.

It’s a privilege to coach these kids and to see them all develop a love for the game.”

Pictured clockwise from top left to bottom right are Bangor players Tilly Beattie, Emma West-Hurst, Matthew Gardner and Adam McCartan in their tour kit. 

Jonathan Gardner, father of touring player Matthew Gardner advised:

“Matthew joined Bangor Rugby mini’s in P3 and hasn’t looked back.

“He is autistic and myself and his mother Catherine had previously struggled to find a sport that he both enjoyed and made him feel good.

He loves playing rugby at Bangor and we genuinely feel that with the support of his coaches and teammates he has found a place where he not only feels accepted, but actually thrives.

He loves his rugby so much that it has even influenced his post-primary school choices.  He is extremely excited about the tour to Italy.”

The touring party leave Dublin in the early hours of Saturday 13th May to fly to Nice, where they will transfer to Imperia in the Italian region of Luguria, to be officially welcomed at the Town Hall by the Mayor.

The inaugural ‘Columbanus Tri Nations’ takes place the following day and will feature eight teams from Italy, France and Monaco including two teams from Bangor mini rugby – Bangor Lions and Bangor Gryphons.

The Bangor mini rugby touring party’s ‘Spirito Del Rugby’ is:

Respect.  We respect everyone.  Our teammates, the opposition, our parents, our players, our coaches and the referee.  We always say please (‘per favore’) and thank you (‘grazie’).

Integrity.  On and off the pitch we do the right thing.  We play to the rules.  We shake hands and look people in the eye when we speak to them.

Inclusivity.  We include everyone.  No-one gets left out, and no-one gets left behind.  We look out for each other.

Fun.  We play with a smile on our faces. We are on tour to share our love of the game.

Excellence.  We do our best to be excellent human beings.  This is bigger than winning or losing.  We are here to show people that we are proud to represent Bangor, Ulster and Irish Rugby.