The Rugby Development Office has three main areas of focus- promotion of the sport, increasing participation and the development of elite players. The Rugby Development Office manages and implements a number of programmes within this framework, including Coca Cola Tag Rugby in schools, Clubs of Ireland Scheme, Coach Education, Youth Development Officers Referee Courses, the screening of elite players for representative teams and the IRFU Ulster Bank Summer Camps.
One of the people involved in the Rugby Development Office is Catherine Carroll, Rugby Development Officer for Kerry and Clare, who holds the distinction of being the only female RDO in the country. Having joined the Munster Branch as Receptionist in August of 2000 while studying Physical Therapy part time, she moved over to the Development Office to work as a Development Officer, specifically in the areas of Coach Education and the administration of various programmes. In March of this year, Catherine was appointed Regional Development Officer, co-ordinating the Youth Development Officer activity. Across Munster she organises and tutors on Coaching courses, implements development programmes such as the Clubs of Ireland Scheme, co-ordinates the placement of YDO s into schools and clubs and sourcing new schools to get involved with. She was also involved in the screening of players for the Munster Schools, U19 and U21 representative teams. Catherine graduated with a Degree in English and Geography from UCC before embarking on a Diploma in Physical Therapy. With a background in athletics, she has won intervarsity titles in the pole vault and sprint relay. She also has national indoor and outdoor sprint relay titles, as well as competing in cross country running. On top of her busy role as an RDO, Catherine is also doing a Degree in Business and Management in CIT, and has recently joined Ballincollig Rugby Club women s team, having previously played in Old Christians and Midleton. She also played on the winning team (three years in a row) in the Tag Rugby Social A League in Highfield. While working in a predominantly male dominated environment, Catherine says that being a female has never been an issue: What s important is achieving our qualitative and quantitative development targets. Having a background in sport means that there is common ground and everyone is trying to achieve the best they can for the development of rugby in the province. There is a fantastic attitude within clubs in Munster, with great enthusiasm for the sport and a solid sense of the need to build for the future.