Great rugby, enthusiastic players and a brilliant team of volunteers and supporters resulted in Ballyclare RFC Mini Rugby’s 2015 festival being a great success.
Around 1,500 young rugby players attended the event on Saturday (April 25th) representing 115 teams of boys and girls from more than 20 different rugby clubs.
Clubs from across Northern Ireland played each other and also teams from Dublin, Limerick and Selkirk in Scotland.
The P3, P4 and P5 players took to the pitches for the morning session followed by the under 12s just after lunchtime. Then the P6 and P7 pupils filled the pitches at the Cloughan ground in Ballyclare later in the afternoon.
There were over 225 matches played over the entire day – equating to over 3100 minutes of rugby.
Two Ulster players took time out of their busy schedules to visit the festival. Andrew Trimble and Neil McComb watched some matches, signed autographs and posed for photographs with young fans.
Ballyclare RFC mini rugby were very proud to have rugby legend Willie John McBride open the under 12 section of the festival and ex-British Lions player Ronnie Lamont to open the junior section of the day.
Ulster Branch referees came on board to officiate at some of the under 12 and P7 matches.
Players and supporters were also able to enjoy entertainment off the pitches which included zorb balls, food stalls and inflatable play areas.
The club would like to say a big thank you to the dozens of volunteers who worked so hard behind the scenes in the lead up to this landmark annual event for the club.
These individuals manned car parks, marked out pitches, set up before the day, co-ordinated play, worked in the coffee shop, cut the grass, put up tents, prepared the food and cleaned up afterwards.
Our principal sponsor Woodsides provided boxes of snacks and drinks for all of the players.
Ballyclare RFC Mini Rugby convenor Tommy Scott said: “We are really pleased that the festival was enjoyed by so many player and supporters.
“Our club and pitches looked fantastic, the rain held off and there was a lot of great rugby played by a huge number of teams.
“We want to thank everyone who attended and all those who played a crucial role before, during and after the event to ensure that everything ran smoothly.”
The Ballyclare RFC Mini section was recently named the winner of the Junior Team of the Year category at this year’s Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Sports Awards.