Girls National School Blitz – Monivea RFC Thursday 12 February 2015

Monivea RFC hosted their first girl’s national school blitz on Thursday night last.  22 schools were represented, 120 pupils made up 16 teams.  The blitz kicked off at 6.30pm under flood lights with the sound of joy and laughter echoing through the woods nearby.  They were paired into 4 groups with 4 teams in each group all playing each other.  Because some of the schools didn’t have the numbers to field their own team, they were combined to form teams allowing each school to partake.

This is an initiative rolled out just after Christmas by Wendy Hickey of the Connacht Branch and the IRFU to promote girls rugby which they hope will continue into youths and to Ladies rugby. The Connacht Branch has supported this by sending their coaches into the schools on a weekly basis to teach the basic skills to the girls and their teachers and to encourage the girls to come to their local club to play rugby.  We in Monivea RFC have been fortuitous that one of our coaches Darren Collins was appointed by the Connacht Branch to go into the schools in our catchment area to implement this initiative. It has been a phenomenal success, exceeding all of the Clubs expectations.  We have had girls from schools that are not part of this initiative come along to train in a school that is, just to be able to play rugby.  They now come along with the 40 other girls training every Saturday morning, testament to its success.   At a time when exercise or the lack of it is the buzz word it is heartening to see so many girls participating.

Wendy Hickey, WCRO of Connacht Rugby, was delighted with the initiative. “Mini Girls rugby has continued to be a huge success here in Connacht, with more clubs coming on board. I would hope that over the next 2-3 years, each club in Connacht would have their own Girls Only mini section. A huge thank you must go out to Padraig McGann form Monivea RFC, who was the driving force behind this project. Padraig’s hands on approach, from coordinating the schools Darren was to visit, to supporting the blitz on the evening as well we supplying healthy refreshments and snacks on the night to every child is a testament to his commitment to this project. “

Sincere thanks to Lyndon Jones, Charlie Couper and Wendy Hickey of the Connacht Branch for supporting this, giving us the resources to roll it out in so many schools and for their attendance at the Blitz and helping out with refereeing duties.  Also to the parents, teachers and girls who all turned out to make this occasion so successful.   Last but not least to coach Darren Collins for his commitment to this initiative, his mentoring skills and his encouragement to get the girls involved.

The schools that partook in this first Blitz are as follows: Brackloon, Kiltullagh, Esker, Menlough, Crumlin, Newtown, Moylough, Brierfield, Coldwood, Castleblakeney, Cooloo, Lisheenkyle, Gaelscoil Riada NS, Carnaun, Ballymacward, Monivea, Annagh, Coolarne, Newcastle, Athenry Girls, Mountbellew and Attymon.

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