LAST Saturday saw an exciting new chapter open for Strabane Rugby club as they launched their new mini rugby section.
Following on from the successful visit of the Ulster Rugby team in August, which hundreds of people from the local community turned out, a number of club volunteers got together and decided to start mini rugby in the town.
With the assistance of Ulster Rugby staff, 16 club volunteers undertook the IRFU Stage 1 couching course in Strabane Academy at the end of October.
David Funston, Ulster Rugby’s Community Rugby Coach for the Strabane area, has been delivering sessions in local schools with the aim of attracting new players to the club.
The provision of the Stage 1 course and the coaching in schools has been made possible due to the generous support of the NI Executive and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisurethrough the ‘Promoting Equality, Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion through Sport’ Programme.
On Saturday morning, eight club coaches, assisted by Ulster Rugby Development Staff Glenda Mellon and Shaun Bloomfield, provided coaching for 26 young enthusiastic rugby players.
However the real surprise for the children was that Ulster Rugby stars Craig Gilroy and Bronson Ross made an appearance to add their support to the initiative. Craig and Bronson stepped in to coach some basic skills to the players involved as well as singing some autographs and posing for photographs.
Craig commented: “I am really happy to see so many young people turn out here for the first training session. We were well received in August by the local community here in Strabane and to see that they now have a mini rugby section up and running is fantastic. I wish them all the best.”
Mini rugby training will continue at the Derry Road Campus of Strabane Academy every Saturday morning at 10am for boys and
girls aged between 6 and 11 years of age.