Town Park in Charleville and Midleton RFC were a hive of activity this week, with the Ulster Bank IRFU Rugby Summer Camps proving a huge hit with young rugby enthusiasts in both venues. For the last six weeks in venues all over Munster, the potential international rugby stars of the future have been put through their paces in scrums and set pieces, tackles and throw-ins, drop kicks and dead ball lines with a little help from some of their rugby heroes.
Munster s rugby stars have been out in force to lend their support to the initiative and offer advice to the future generation of Munster Rugby players. Over 70 children took part in the Summer Camp in Midleton RFC, and were thrilled with a visit from Munster star Denis Leamy. Almost 50 children took part in Charleville, with Munster s Paul Burke paying them a visit. Both players took time out of their pre season schedule to help the next generation of rugby stars, and spent considerable time with the children. Their involvement follows visits in previous weeks to various camps from the top players of Munster Rugby, including Jim Williams, Peter Stringer, Mike Mullins, John O Sullivan, Frankie Sheahan, Christian Cullen, Frank Murphy, Anthony Horgan, Denis Fogarty, John Kelly and Tomas O Leary. At the end of the Midleton camp, Ulster Bank hosted a barbeque for all the participants, with their parents and families also invited along to celebrate a thoroughly enjoyable week.
Six weeks of the Summer Camps have been completed in ten different venues in Tipperary, Limerick, Waterford, Cork and Kerry. Provincial Development Manager Ultan O Callaghan is delighted with the success of the camps, and in particular the support given by the Munster Rugby squad. What are we hoping for as a result of these camps? Ultimately, we hope that we will find a young Peter Stringer or Ronan O'Gara, but the most important thing is that the children improve their rugby skills while enjoying playing rugby. Who better to inspire the children than the elite of Munster Rugby, who have been fantastic in giving up their time. The Munster players have been going to their training sessions earlier to get to the Summer Camps at the right time, which we deeply appreciate. The feedback from them has been fantastic, and they were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and knowledge of the young children. I would like to thank Declan Kidney, Pat Geraghty and Trish Drinan for their help in organising these visits.
On all levels, the camps have been a major success. It is the first time in the history of the Province that every county is involved. We have 19,000 mini and youth players in clubs and schools in Munster and are hoping to see an increase in this figure following the Summer Camps. As it stands we have had in increase in the numbers at each venue since last year. Also we are running 8 weeks of camps this year, an increase on last years 4 weeks. We have an increase in female participation on the camps this year as well as an increase in female staff on our team.
He pays tribute to the support of the clubs in supporting the initiative, and is confident of a direct spin off in the long term in terms of increasing the number of players. He says we would like to thank the clubs and schools for the use of their resources and facilities and hope that they will see an increase in their player numbers this season. Ultan is equally thankful of support from other areas. All of this would not be possible only for the our kind sponsor, Ulster Bank, Director of Rugby, Eddie Wigglesworth, the Munster Branch IRFU, Staff, Clubs, Schools, Parents and most importantly the children.
The aim of the Ulster Bank IRFU Summer Camps is to bring more young people into contact with rugby in a fun and friendly atmosphere. With the emphasis on fun and learning rather than competition, the camps are professionally managed by IRFU Development Officers to ensure that every child that takes part gets the chance to develop their own rugby skills. Nationally, 49 camps have been organised in total, 15 of which are based in venues across Munster. Almost 900 children have already taken part in the Ulster Bank IRFU Camps, with five further camps around Munster to take place in the coming weeks. In total, almost 1000 children from all over the province are already signed up, with spaces still available for others wishing to participate and improve their rugby skills, make new friends and have fun.
A number of extra Summer Camps have been organised by local clubs, including two at Ennis RFC (August 15th and 22nd). In conjunction with the launch of Munster s newest rugby club, Estuary RFC, which covers the area of Shanagolden, Co. Limerick and its surrounds, the club has organised a Camp for all those interested in Shanagolden from August 16th-19th.
For more information on all Summer Camps, contact the Development Office on: 021 4323693 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The application form is also available online. Simply click on the link on the "Development" link on the Munster Rugby homepage.
ULSTER BANK IRFU SUMMER CAMPS REMAINING
15th August 2005:
CORK: Clonakilty RFC
LIMERICK: Newcastlewest RFC
22nd August 2005:
CORK: Old Christians RFC, Rathcooney