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Club Notes | Clonakilty RFC Open New 4G Astro Pitch

20th September 2023 By The Editor

Club Notes | Clonakilty RFC Open New 4G Astro Pitch

From L:R | Malachy Boohig (Clonakilty RFC President), Colette Twomey (Clonakilty Black Pudding CEO) and Eoin Hurley (Clonakilty RFC Chairperson). Photo Credit: Dave Sheehan

The latest edition of club notes comes from Clonakilty RFC who officially opened their new 4G astro pitch on Sunday.

By Vicky McCabe, Clonakilty RFC PRO.

Clonakilty RFC was delighted to launch their 4G Astro on Sunday 17th September in a star-studded affair. Munster players John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes and Cian Hurley were in attendance in a great show of West Cork rugby strength.

IRFU and Munster dignitaries joined us as Colette Twomey, owner of Clonakilty Black Pudding and long-time proud sponsor of the club, cut the ribbon to the Astro.

This Astro has been two years in the making – one year to fundraise and one year to build. However, the need for the new Astro has been growing over the last few years as we have grown in player numbers across all age groups, from 430 players five years ago to around 700 now.

A view of Clonakilty RFC’s new 4G Astro pitch

A large reason for the increase in players is due to the growth of the girls teams which has culminated in us starting our ladies team this year. However, we truly believe that a big part of our success is that we try to ensure every player is made to feel welcome in our club.

We are an autism friendly club, a proud ally supporting gay pride, and are involved in bringing members of the marginalized and ethnic minority groups in our local community to the club to give rugby a try.

Most importantly, we endeavour to keep rugby fair by aiming to give all players equal game time, regardless of ability. Everyone has a place on our team. And our teams have continued to grow, with one or two squads in each age group.

Which brings us back to the need for an Astro – we needed playing space that could withstand our Irish winters! This Astro was a mammoth undertaking by many of our committed volunteers.

We ran a very successful electric car draw raffle which the entire local community got behind to help us raise most of the necessary funds. The last summer has been a busy one, getting the Astro in place in time for the season kick off. Eoin Hurley, club chairman, has been instrumental in getting the project across the line and completed to an incredibly high standard.

We were immensely grateful to have Michael Carroll (Munster President), Ian Flanagan (Munster CEO), Sean Loftus (Munster JVP), Muiris Mahon (Munster Hon Sec) and David Ryan (IRFU Munster Branch) on hand to witness this momentous occasion in our club’s history.

From L:R | Chris Hinchy (Mayor of Clonakilty), Muiris Mahon (Munster Rugby Hon Sec.), Malachy Boohig (Clonakilty RFC President), John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes, Colette Twomey (CEO Clonakilty Black Pudding), Cian Hurley, Sean Loftus (Munster Rugby Junior Vice President), Ian Flanagan (Munster Rugby CEO), David Ryan (IRFU Munster Branch Delegate), Mick Carroll (Munster Rugby President), Eoin Hurley (Clonakilty RFC Chairperson). Photo Credit: Dave Sheehan

Once the ribbon was cut, our U14 girls played a red vs green match to properly “christen” the Astro. Refereed by one of our Affiliate referees, Conor Quirke, and ably assisted by youth player touch judges Charlotte McCabe and Billy Quirke, the girls put on a display of rugby skills that received many compliments from long time rugby-heads.

Clonakilty U14 Girls Green. Photo Credit: Dave Sheehan

Clonakilty U14 Girls Red. Photo Credit: Dave Sheehan

The day was not over yet, as our J1s kicked off their league season hosting neighbours Skibbereen in hard-fought battle. The final score was 29-12 in Clon’s favour, and the well-earned celebrations continued.

Clonakilty RFC’s J1 Team. Photo Credit: Dave Sheehan

Clonakilty RFC would like to reiterate their humble and grateful thanks to all involved in getting this Astro dream achieved, and in such short time. We look forward to many years of continued rugby enjoyment at the club.

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