Newry Rugby Club has collected an Ulster Carpets Club Youth award in recognition of having the best rugby spirit ethos.
Commenting on their award, formerly the club’s Youth Convener and now Girls’ Coach, Rob Rossiter said: “We’re absolutely thrilled. It means a great deal for us to win this Ulster Carpets Club Youth Award. We have put an awful lot of work into the youth section over the last few seasons – not just me but the coaches and parents – and it’s wonderful for that work to be recognised.
“Newry RFC is a small club but with a big heart; we pride ourselves on being a family-oriented club. In line with the spirit of rugby, we’ve really tried to instil respect, inclusivity and diversity.
“We have a wide range of ages participating, from U10s up to U18s in the boys’ section. Just last year, we established a new girls’ section as well. It has been fantastic for us, and really added to the dynamic of the club with the girls’ enthusiasm, passion and skill.
“We have seen our ethos come to fruition on the pitch with our U16 team winning their league in 2018/19, and our U14s finishing as runners-up this season.
“Our work in the local community has really upped the club’s profile too. We’ve been active with the local schools and developed an excellent relationship with them. I have worked with Dan Carson at Ulster Rugby on the Sport Uniting Communities programme, and last August, we hosted a hugely successful cross-community ‘Sport for Peace Day’. Boys and girls who had never played rugby before came along to give it a try. The IFA and Ulster GAA were represented as well, and it boosted our numbers as kids got a taste for the sport and joined us when training started for the new season.
“Newry RFC has also participated in the Ulster Rugby GoldMark volunteering programme. Some of our U18 and U16 boys went to pick up their Bronze Awards at the GoldMark Awards ceremony in early March at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. That was a great demonstration of what we’re trying to achieve, being a small club with big ambitions. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our club and we simply wouldn’t exist without their dedication to the running of the club.
“It’s great to be recognised for what Newry RFC has tried to do; encouraging boys and girls to have fun, which sustains us as a club. That is how our numbers have increased and the results will look after themselves on the pitch.
“With our numbers increasing, things will only get better for Newry with my successor, Ger Haddon, taking over at the club as Youth Convenor.”
As their prize, Newry RFC will receive a bag of Ulster Carpets rugby balls as well as 30 tickets to an Ulster Rugby game at Kingspan Stadium.