Dubarry Park, home of Buccaneers RFC, Athlone was the host venue for an U14 pre-season blitz last Saturday.

Over 150 players from Corinthians RFC, Oughterard Eagles RFC, Buccaneers RFC, Castlebar RFC, Creggs RFC and Loughrea RFC were joined by Co Cavan’s Virginia RFC for the day out in which each team played each other in a round robin format over two pitches. 

The event was run with Silent Sidelines in which parents and coaches are asked not to shout or instruct from the side of the pitch, but to clap and applaud good play leaving the young players free to focus on simply playing and enjoying their matches.

Speaking about the Silent Sidelines initiative Spirit of Rugby Officer, Luke Murphy, said:

“Today was a wonderful celebration of rugby and being able to hear the players organise themselves, problem solve on the pitch and make their own decisions, and mistakes, without fear of criticism from the sideline makes for a great learning experience.”

“It can be an unnatural experience at first but, with the help of a few lollypops, the vast majority of people at today’s matches supported the event and it’s a great opportunity for adults to reflect on their role in the young person’s rugby development.” 

Organiser of the event, Connacht’s Coach Development Officer, Conor Galvin was delighted with the day’s action:

“It’s great to see eight teams out enjoying themselves on a day like today where the emphasis was on playing against lots of different teams, working together on the pitch and having fun, not just focused on winning.”

“There was a Fair Play award after each match where the referees presented a goody-bag to the player who best demonstrated the values of rugby and we’re delighted with the spirit the games were played in.”

Special thanks to Buccaneers RFC and Dubarry Park for hosting the event, the ARCB referees for officiating and to all the coaches, parents and volunteers who embraced the Silent Sidelines initiative and helped make the day such a great experience for the young players.

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