to be Launched in Thomond Park
As clubs all over Munster are busy gearing up for the new season, Munster s newest rugby club are preparing for their very first season of rugby, having formed in recent months. Estuary RFC, based in Shanagolden, Co. Limerick, is being launched on Friday 19th August, in front of what is sure to be a welcoming Thomond Park crowd when Munster host Northampton in a friendly match in their first game of the season.
It promises to be a historic day on more than one level. Northampton are visiting the province for the first time in 51 years, and for Estuary RFC, it will be a fitting setting and prestigious occasion for the fledgling club. Accompanied by Munster Branch President Ken Lyons, twenty five players and officials from Estuary RFC will take to the field at half time and be introduced to the renowned Thomond Park support. It will be the first time the club players will wear the new team kit, bought with the support of their sponsors the Cailin Ban Bar & Restaurant at Upper Main Street, Shanagolden, who are also hosting a Launch Reception after the Munster v Northampton game, and Munster Crushing Ltd. in Abbeyfeale who have also been generous in their support.
The establishment of Estuary RFC is the product of a local initiative and testimony to the enthusiasm for community based sport in the area. Registration took place at the end of July, and those involved are thrilled with the response to date. The club are aiming to cater for teams from U8 up to U16. In the week leading up to the official launch, a Summer Camp will take place in Shanagolden from August 15th-19th to coincide with the start of the new season.
Formed as a direct result of a demand from the young people of the area, the club is aiming to provide young people with the training and platform to play competitive rugby, following the tremendous success and popularity of rugby and tag rugby in the Community Games competitions. Catering for young rugby enthusiasts in Foynes, Shanagolden, Ballyhahill and Glin, which spans an 8 mile radius from the club base in Shanagolden, most of the players have been involved in the Community Games over the last 3 years. Representing their local parishes of St. Senan s, Ballyhahill and Glin, success has come their way, with Glin and St. Senan s have competed in rugby and tag rugby in the competition over the last three years, and Glin reaching the semi final stages two years ago. Ballyhahill have competed in the Community Games competition for the last two years and in this short time have already competed in, and narrowly beaten in the tag rugby final this year.
Estuary RFC s first Club President Tom Flavin is deeply honoured at holding the distinction of being the first of what he hopes are many Estuary RFC Club Presidents. This club wouldn t have started at all were it not for the huge interest among the local people locally in playing rugby. I m thrilled to be involved and very proud of the commitment and effort the community has put into getting this off the ground. I d like to thank the sponsors for coming on board, and I d also like to thank the Munster Rugby Development Office for all their support.
Provincial Development Manager Ultan O Callaghan paid tribute to those involved in the initiative: "We are absolutely delighted that the community in Shanagolden have come together to form Estuary RFC. Increasing participation numbers in sport is one of our main objectives in the IRFU and we will assist Estuary RFC with their development every step of the way. We would like to welcome them to the IRFU and wish them all the best for what we hope is a long future in the game of rugby."
As Munster Rugby continues to thrive and develop, Estuary RFC is the latest in a long tradition of club rugby in the province. Testimony to the enthusiasm and commitment to the sport in the local area is the fact that it has been the parents and local teachers who have coached the players, despite not coming from traditional rugby backgrounds. The club has a twelve strong committee who are deeply committed to making this initiative a success. If their enthusiasm is anything to go by, the club is sure to come on in leaps and bounds in the coming years.
President: Tom Flavin
Hon. Secretary: Joe Hoyne
Treasurer: Vincent Buckley
Club PRO: Se n Flanagan
Ass PRO: Majella O Connor Scanlon
Terence McSweeney, Pat Kenrick, Gus Sweeney, Tom O Keeffe, Darren Cooke, Margaret Thornton, Cathal Breen