Representatives of the Ulster Rugby Senior Women’s Squad will be among several hundred female players from rugby clubs across the province who will take part in a celebration of the game at City of Derry RFC this Sunday 8th March.
The Festival of Women and Girls’ Rugby will be hosted by the North West Sporting Pathways programme, funded by the North West Regional Development Group in conjunction with and supported by The Executive Office and the Irish Government, and aims to strengthen the athletic pathways from grassroots participation to talent across the region.
The event will feature open training sessions and a blitz-style competition, and represents the culmination of months of work to develop a women and girls’ rugby programme in the North West region of Ulster.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, will attend Sunday’s event:
“Thank you to City of Derry Rugby Club for hosting this event which is part of the exciting project to develop a rugby programme for women and girls in this region by the North West Sporting Pathways programme.
“As a Council we have committed through the Strategic Growth Plan to help build the capacity of our local sporting and recreational clubs to become more sustainable and encourage higher levels of participation and proficiency in sport.
“This initiative is also in keeping with our work to deliver a sports and physical activities programme to promote greater activity among women and girls.”
Executive Junior Minister Declan Kearney MLA will also attend the event: “I am looking forward to attending the Festival of Women and Girls’ Rugby,” he said.
“The event will showcase all that’s good about the women’s game – the athletic ability and enthusiasm of young players from across the region through to the seasoned skills of the members of the Ulster Rugby Senior Women’s Squad.
“Sports such as rugby play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of children, young people and adults across the North and I am delighted The Executive Office is playing its part in supporting such a fantastic initiative through the North West Sporting Pathways Programme.”
Sports Coordinator at Derry City and Strabane District Council Keith Thompson added:
“The Women and Girls’ Festival of Rugby will see girls from U12 up to senior women’s level come together for a celebration and will showcase the player pathway available to players in the region.
“We are expecting over 400 youths to take part in U12, U14, U16 and U18 age groups so it should be a memorable celebration of the women’s game,” he added.
Ulster Rugby CEO, Jonny Petrie said: “The North West Sporting Pathways Programme event on March 8th is set to showcase talent in Women’s rugby in the local area and also to provide a platform to increase visibility and encourage participation across the province.
“With a commitment to growing the game of rugby in Ulster, including the Women and Girls’ game, we are looking forward to supporting this event organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council and the Donegal Sports Partnership.
“It’s encouraging to see that we are all aligned in our investment in talent and the future of the game through activity such as this celebration festival – and I would like to encourage as many people as possible to attend, as it’s set to be a great event.”
Youths from rugby clubs across the province will be invited to watch an element of the open training session, before breaking off into their teams to participate in an underage blitz competition.
Guests are invited to watch the open training sessions along with the youths before joining the Ulster Rugby U18 girls’ squad for lunch and speeches.
Following lunch, players and guests will be invited to watch the underage blitz competition and identify the Ulster Rugby stars of the future.