Irish Rugby TV recently headed to the Inishowen peninsula to highlight the work of Club Community Rugby Officers. At the peninsula’s heart is Inishowen Rugby Club – Irish rugby’s most northerly club.
Alison McLaughlin is their CCRO and she works with up to 250 primary school children every week, all of whom are encouraged to join Inishowen Rugby Club. In the past 18 months, the numbers of mini rugby players in the club have grown by 60%.
The club’s grounds are in Carndonagh but ‘Inishowen Rugby Club isn’t defined by any town’ according to McLaughlin. “We serve the whole peninsula, 100 miles in circumference. The programme gets the children to try out a sport they don’t normally play and they are loving it,” she said.
Club Community Rugby Officers are central to the development of Irish Rugby. They provide invaluable support to clubs, schools and local communities who want to enjoy rugby in a positive, safe and healthy manner.
IRFU Rugby Programmes Officer is Colm Finnegan, who said:
We’ve been building a professional development programme around our CCROs in the last year and we have over 100 CCROs up and down the country doing great work just like Alison is doing in Donegal.
“To be an effective CCRO you need technical ability and understanding, but you need a sense of community spirit as well. Inishowen is a great example of a community club and it’s great to see the work being done in local schools come to fruition.
“There are over 30 players currently training as Under-12s with the club. That’s an increase from just eight players at the start of the season. It’s clear to see the impact that the programme is having in the area and across the whole of Ireland.”
Club Community Rugby Officers
Darragh Mulcahy (Bruff CCRO), Pat Fitzpatrick (Nenagh CCRO), Trent Reti (Abbeyfeale CCRO), Damien Hicks (Bantry Bay CCRO), Dan O’Sullivan (Killarney CCRO), Leigh Fitzgerald (LIT Rugby Officer), Sean Brosnan (Tralee CCRO), Sean O’Neill (Youghal CCRO), Matt McGrath (Cork), Rebecca O’Reilly (WIT Rugby Officer), Denis Corridan (CIT Rugby Officer), Willie Shubart (Cork), Vincent O’Leary (Cork), Ben Swindlehurst (Clare), Olan Daly (North Cork), Ken Imbusch (Limerick), Matt Brown (Tipperary), Finny O’Regan (Cork)
Ross Mannion (Sligo), Chris O’Neill (Ballina), Simon O’Malley (Castlebar/Westport), Craig Hansbury (Ballinrobe/Ballyhaunis/Claremorris), Colm McWeeney (Leitrim/Carrick-on-Shannon), Michéal Glennon (Roscommon/Creggs), Tom Newell (Corrib/Dunmore/Tuam), Matt Henderson (An Ghaeltacht/Oughterard), Jason Walsh (Connemara), Eoghan Maher (NUIG), Morgan Codyre (Galwegians), Dermot Tierney (Gort/Loughrea/Ballinasloe), Peter O’Hara (Monivea)
Nicole Purdom (Suttonians), David Hurley (Malahide), Ailsa Hughes (Westmanstown), Ariel Robles (Balbriggan), Colin Caffrey (Coolmine), Jonathan Butler (DLR), John O’Brien (DLSP), Jason Byrne (SDCC), Joey Redmond (SDCC) , Barney Hynes (Arklow), Aidan Kearney (Wicklow), Noel Devlin (Kilkenny), Larry Canavan (Tullow), Gearoid Dunbar (Carlow), Ross Barbour (Enniscorthy), Michael Bolger (Gorey), Corey Carty (Wexford), Brendan Holohan (New Ross), Noel Cross (Rathdrum), Joel Penders (Greystones), Glen Bagnall (Tullamore), John Burns (Tullamore), Mark Lown (Roscrea), Grainne Vaugh (Edenderry), Denis Rusu (Birr), Clare O’Brien (Mullingar), Niall Kane (Midland Warriors), Dylan Quinn (Longford), Andy Carabini (Skerries), Shane Mooney (Athboy), Niall Kerley (Dundalk), Ben Traynor (North Meath), Jessica Myles (Ardee), Peter Kerr (Boyne), Kevin McCleery (Ashbourne), Evan Dixon (Navan), Rory Bond (Ratoath), Neil Taylor (Newbridge), Padraig Mahon (Portarlington), Logan Nicholson (Cill Dara), John Munro (Clane), Mick Cahill (Naas), Robbie Waters (North Kildare), Matthew Alborough (MU Barnhall), Rob Mullen (MU Barnhall), Tadhg Kelleher (Athy), Paul Brady (Portlaoise)
Harry Doyle (Armagh), Charlie Farrell (Dungannon), Eugene McKenna (Clogher Valley), Rob Watson (Enniskillen), Jon Watt (Virginia), Stephen Irvine (Banbridge), Phil Marshall (Omagh), Jordan Robinson (Portadown), Erin Hodgen (Ards), Stuart Smyth (Ballynahinch), Stephen Montgomery (Bangor), Guy McManus (Donaghadee), Yanis Stephen Graham (Lisburn), Peter Wilson (Limavady), Mark Hermin (Ballymena), Benjy van der Byl (Coleraine), Paul O’Kane (Strabane), Alison McGloughlin (Inishowen), James Doherty (City of Derry), Kevin van Arnholt (Letterkenny), David McClelland (Rainey), Peter Dallas (Larne), Gary Hunter (Carrick), Callum Wilson (Ballyclare), Martin Connolly (Randalstown), Gavin Robinson (Ophir), Mark Green (BHSFP), Callum Smith (Malone).