A hardy band of An Cheathra Rua pupils undertake as arduous a rugby journey on Sunday as any…Cian Healy, Ronan O’Gara and Connacht’s Brett Wilkinson included.

About 30 Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiaráin pupils, with teachers Loyola Geraghty and Neasa Mhic Dhonncha, will leave the Connemara Ghaeltacht before dawn, travel by Peadar Óg Ó Cualáin coach to Dublin, meet Greystones for an Under16 clash, piece themselves back together, hit the Aviva by 3pm, out-sing (and out-cheer) the Welsh, and get back home by midnight for school on Monday morning.

And they cannot wait.AnGhaelvWales_640x399

Carraroe-based An Ghaeltacht rugby master Cian deBuitlear will meet them in Dublin for both fixtures. The venture is the first such undertaking by An Ghaeltacht rugby, he said, a relative rookie club by Connacht standards. DeBuitlear hopes to make it an annual experience, and given the local and player support which weighed in behind the coming weekend’s cross-country sojourn, he has high hopes for the years to come.

Of the 30 or so youngsters involved, only a handful have seen Ireland play live, even fewer have seen The Aviva firsthand.

SCC contested the development league and development cup competitions, took part in interschool challenges, and more than a dozen are involved in a talent-heavy Corinthians-An Ghaeltact combined Under15 team vying with Castlebar for a league final berth. The composite Corinthians-An Ghaeltacht team has drawn the winners of Ballyhaunis and Carrick-on-Shannon’s preliminary Under15 cup tie. Sligo and Galwegians met in the other premier Under15 league semi, Sligo taking honours in that fixture 18-7.

While GAA football remains the first choicemsporting pursuit in the Ghaeltacht, SCC has made a name for itself in recent months tipping up a good few high-profile rugby colleges. DeBuitlear, Geraghty and Mhic Donncha hope this year’s success has laid a platform for a promising rugby nursery in the wild wesht.

If Ireland hoist hands after 80minutes on Sunday, it will be another fond rugby memory for An Ghaeltacht’s youngest rugby pioneers.


The Jes reach last four with last minute winner