Disability Rugby

Disability Rugby

Rugby opportunities for people with a disability continue to grow and develop across Ulster. Tag rugby is a great way to develop social and team skills while keeping fun and enjoyment at the forefront of all activities. Currently there are 8 clubs with active tag rugby sections for people with a learning disability aged 6+. Festivals are hosted by the clubs every 4-6 weeks to provide structure to the season along with the chance to meet up with friends and put all the training into practice. For more information and contact details please see listings below.

At the beginning of the 2018/19 season, the Malone Tornadoes became the first Mixed Ability Rugby team in Ulster. As part of a pilot project supported by the IRFU the Tornadoes offer adults with a disability the opportunity to play 15-a-side rugby supported by experienced rugby players (facilitators). These facilitators guide players with a disability to fulfil their role within the game. Training takes place on Monday evenings from 7pm-8pm. For more information and contact details please see listing below.

Support and resources for clubs and coaches:

Ulster Rugby runs Disability Inclusion Courses to support the coaches in each of the clubs. Comprised of a short bit of theory and lots of practical activities this course is of great benefit to anyone coaching a child with a disability whether within a disability tag section or a minis section. There are plenty of opportunities to ask questions and get support from other experienced coaches.

The Disability Advisory Group is made up of representatives from Ulster Rugby and each of the clubs. Members are always on hand to offer advice and support to clubs wishing to start up their own disability section/team.

Click here to see our introduction handbook and check out the easy to follow ‘Magnificent 7’ principles of tag rugby play.

More resources are available on Irish Rugby website.

For more information please contact Kerry Spence, Spirit of Rugby Officer (Ulster): kerry.spence@ulsterrugby.com.

At the end of each season many of the clubs travel to the UK or ROI to take part in the annual Wooden Spoon International Tag Festival. In June 2019 this will be hosted in Ulster by Ballyclare RFC.

The Malone Tornadoes are also working towards participation in the IMART 2020 (International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament) hosted in Cork by the Sundays Well Rebels.

The experience of playing rugby has proven to benefit both player, coach and club immensely so why not give it a go?! The hardest step is only the first, the contacts below would love to hear from you.


Ballymena Bears (Ballymena RFC)
Contact: Gary Donald
Mobile: 07738 389791
Email: gdjd6@hotmail.com

Clare Hares (Ballyclare RFC)
Contact: Moore Kennedy
Mobile: 07808 582968
Email: moore.kennedy@btinternet.com

Enniskillen Elks (Enniskillen RFC)
Contact: Stuart McCrae
Mobile: 07436 873123
Email: stuartmccrae@yahoo.co.uk

Newforge Taggers (Belfast)
Contact: Tim Craig
Mobile: 07739 075578
Email: tj.craig@ntlworld.com

Portadown Panthers (Portadown RFC)
Contact: Willie Gribben
Mobile: Mobile number: 07739 044084
Email: willie.gribben@googlemail.com

Seaside Sharkies (Donaghadee RFC)
Contact: Pete Brown
Mobile: 07989 741561
Email: pbrown1@talktalk.net

Stevenson Sharks (Dungannon RFC)
Contact: Jim McGinley
Mobile: 07929 639393
Email: jimeith@btinternet.com

Virginia All Blacks (Virginia RFC)
Contact: Peter Skelly
Mobile: 00353 86 2782787
Email: pskelly@skellyoil.ie

Malone Tornadoes (Mixed Ability Rugby) (Belfast)
Contact: Tim Craig or Michael McAteer
Mobile: 07739 075578 or 07817 669545
Email: tj.craig@ntlworld.com

For further information on disability rugby within Ulster please contact:
Kerry Spence, Spirit of Rugby Officer (Ulster)
028 9049 3111 (Ext. 230)