This season, girls youth rugby in Ulster was run based on a blitz format rather than leagues or cups. The new format allowed clubs at the start of their girls rugby journey to get involved from the outset rather than having to build a full team before being able to access game time. Through a fantastic collective Club effort, 14 blitzes took place over the course of the season with average attendances of 150+.
In the absence of an ‘official competition structure’ a Clubs’ Club of the Year Award was introduced. Clubs voted for the Club they felt had best-displayed the five pillars of the IRFU Spirit of Rugby; Respect, Inclusivity, Integrity, Fun and Excellence. The result was a landslide victory for one of the seasons newcomers, Limavady CRFC.
Many clubs praised the blitz, hosted by the Club President Bob Boyd, along with Chris Sloan, Shane McDermott, Janine O’Neill, Warren Smyth, Jenny Bell, Victoria Platt, Fiona Patton and their army of parents and club volunteers, as setting the standard for how a festival should be run. The following quotes reflect the fantastic contribution Limavady CRFC have made to girls youth rugby this season:
“Our vote is for Limavady and Chris for his help with the U12’s and the effort he has put in this year. Nothing too much trouble for him.” (Enniskillen RFC rep.)
“We would like to vote for Limavady for “Clubs’ Club of the Season”. Their blitz was very well organised and Chris was really helpful, giving us lots of very good advice for running our own event!” (Ballymena RFC rep.)
“We vote for Limavady! They went out of their comfort zone to host a blitz for the first time. The event was faultless, the volunteers were all so helpful it was a brilliant day all round. Other clubs could learn a lot from them. Chris also goes out of his way were possible to attend events and include others (offering lifts for u12s and mixing his girls up with any team on the day)
As a newbie to the girls format they deserve recognition for it!!!” (Portadown RFC rep.)
“Our vote for the Clubs’ Club Award would be Limavady. Chris is promoting the attitude of learn together, play together and enjoy it together no matter what club your from and it’s reflected in all of Limavady’s players.” (Cooke RFC rep.)
The Limavady CRFC female rugby team responded to the award by saying, “It has been an incredible first season for our new U12 team and we have been overwhelmed by the support and goodwill shown to us by all of the other clubs we have met and the Female Rugby Development Team at Ulster Rugby. The attitude and ethos we have encountered throughout the season for the development of female rugby at all age groups has been a real motivator for players and coaches alike, and we are both extremely surprised and delighted to win this award. The fact that it has been voted for by our fellow clubs makes it especially meaningful and we already can’t wait for the new season to commence and for the story of female rugby at Limavady CRFC to continue to go from strength to strength!”
The Female Rugby Development Team at Ulster Rugby would like to thank Subway for their invaluable sponsorship of the initiative, and the blitz events became affectionately known in girls youth rugby circles as ‘Subway Sundays’. Subway’s generous contribution added an invaluable social aspect to the season as players, coaches and parents gathered in the clubhouse afterwards to chat over a sandwich and a cookie.
A big ‘Thank You’ to all the players, coaches and parents as without your time, effort and commitment there would be no season to celebrate.
Finally, a huge ‘Congratulations!’ to everyone at Limavady CFRC girls section on their much-deserved award.
Pictured are the Limavady Girls U12 team along with club CRO, coaches and support team.