Mini / Maxi Rugby
After an extra-ordinary meeting in the summer of 2000 Academy Mini-Rugby Club was founded.
In its infancy the founding members were not sure whether the club would be a success. Originally it was for children of a school age in Primary 4, 5, 6 and 7. Recently the club has extended this to cater for children in Primary 3 and might continue this further to include P1 and 2 being introduced to fun sessions of touch rugby.
Nearly a decade later after its first season Academy Mini-Rugby meets every Saturday morning at Roughfort playing fields for an hour and a half and the club has grown in strength and stature over these 10 years. It now caters for children from over 22 different local primary schools from every religious background. The club also has over 30 qualified and fully vetted coaches to offer their rugby knowledge to one hundred and forty registered children. The children play matches every three or four weeks against other local teams.
Another new addition to the mini-rugby section is the development of a maxi-rugby team, in effect ‘under 12’. They train mid-week for a prestigious tournament in Rodez in Southern France in which they are the sole Northern Ireland representatives.
Parent / Player Comments
Ian Rainey and son Jonathan (Jonathan has just left the mini rugby age grade)
‘my best experiences of rugby were going out to rugby when I was 6 or 7 and getting really dirty because at home my mum shouted at me if I got really dirty. I loved going out on a Saturday morning and training really hard and then being shattered in the afternoon. I loved just being with a group of guys and playing as hard as I could but also having great fun.’
‘Also important was what the parents got out of it. Friendships created on the touchline have over 8 years have grown into very close friendships. The impact of the cold at Roughfort bringing a closeness which is not known in many other clubs in NI! The highlight was getting an overseas trip to France - very few kids have even been that lucky and again a wonderful bonding session for children and parents!’