SPECIAL FEATURE: CLOGHER VALLEY RUGBY CLUB ~ POWERADE TOWNS CUP CHAMPIONS 2011 ~ THE ESSENCE OF A RUGBY CLUB ~ History, Editorial, InTouch TV, Reports, Pictures, Senior & Youth
This page is dedicated to a rugby club that have come from 0 to top flight rugby in 20 years. Their rugby club is nestled in the fields of Clogher Valley, and their catchment area runs as far as Aughnacloy & Enniskillen. Their brand of rugby relies on the same ingredients of success that are necessary in every team that takes to the field – passion, commitment, energy, drive, honesty, enthusiasm, graft, belief, training, respect, leadership, community, strength, will, friendship, honour, loyalty…… to name but a few. Its the difference between right and wrong, the difference between walking of the pitch with your head held high, its the difference between success & failure.
They understand these words and they live by them. Not just the rugby club, but the whole community. Thats where the players come from and thats who they play for – such innocent passion for a rugby club, unclouded by ego, selfless and dignified. Its what makes playing for this club such an honour, and its the values that run through all of Ulster Rugby.
Below as you scroll down through the page you will find history, INTOUCH TV clips of them playing in and winning The Towns Cup, interviews with a cross section of club officials and members, links to 1000’s of pictures, match reports from last season covering youth and senior rugby across the club.
If you spend no more time on this page except the time to watch the following clip you will leave with an understanding of the essence of Clogher Valley Rugby Club.
CLOGHER VALLEY SUPPORTERS SINGING THE CLUB SONG ON THE DAY THEY WON THE ALL ULSTER TOWNS CUP 2011
Clogher Valley was officially formed in 1990 but Rugby was first played in the Clogher Valley in the mid seventies as mid-week fixtures, by players from other clubs. In 1977 William Boyd and Ken Towers, two teachers (Chemistry & PE) at Fivemiletown High School coached the schools side who then played an experienced Omagh Academy side. The enthusiasm for this new sport at the school was not dampened by a heavy defeat. Rugby was born in the Clogher Valley.
As this group of school boys moved onto adulthood, the rugby was not forgotten. In Dec 1980 those pupils who had left the school in the June of that year, challenged the school team. The closely fought game ended in a draw. The following Dec (1981) with the introduction of a rule barring school pupils playing adults, the game continued with Clogher and Augher born people playing Fivemiletown and Brookeborough born people. The standard of open play was dreadful but the tackling was ferocious. The third half allowed friendship to be reformed.
After several years of this annual slaughter, the third half discussions focused around a combined side. So on Easter Monday a combined side challenged the Prison Service to a match. Again the result of the match was irrelevant, with the third half often starting before the first and second.
As a result of several refreshments in a local den of iniquity, a local banker decided that the Valley needed a rugby club. With enthusiastic backing from a local farmer and a few others with even less sense that evening, the dream started.
Clogher Valley RFC was first formed in 1990, initially with one senior team, then in 1991 a second team emerged under the guidance of Lowery Thom, playing friendly matches. The Under 18s in their first season in 1991 were successful, losing out narrowly to Ballymena in the cup. Names which went on to represent the 1st XV were Bothwell, Williamson, Kyle, Allen.
The Club started life in the Minor 8 league, moving its way up through to Minor 4 league each year, before they applied for inclusion to the Qualifying 5 League in 1994. In the same year a 3rd XV was formed.
In 1995 an under 14 and under 16 team was added to the club teams. During this season the 1st XV lost their first league match but went on to win the league.
During this period the first XV progressed through to Section 1 of the Qualifying league. The 2nd XV moved into the top section of the Junior league. The 3rd XV progressed into Section 5 of the Junior league. The 4th XV now play in the Minor league (South).
Upon reading the list of honours and the growth of the club from nothing to 4 teams and a thriving youth system that has produced I XV all these years and currently has a player in the Ulster Rugby Academy Chris Farrell who has worn the Ulster Rugby I XV jersey for the first time this year and Eugene McKenna playing for the Ulster Rugby Clubs team it leaves us astounded.
It would be easy to caried away by these achievements, and to find egos beginning to assert themselves but as the following series of pharagraphs and interviews will show this club has no pretence. These are volunteers, who never got caught up in the professional era. Instead they stuck true to the basic principles of success in a rugby team ~ work and club ethos. Volunteers run throughout the club and decisions are given the time they need to be made or not made.
We caught up with a cross section of clubmen on a recent visit to a training night, to put faces to the names and find out a bit more about the people @ Clogher Valley Rugby Club,
First is Davy Black & Glen Kyle the coaching staff at the helm this season, they comment on their roles and aspirations for the club
The role of chairman @ Clogher Valley is very much facilitating development and communicating & Colin Lyons is honoured to hold that position this season, we asked him about the job and his comment is in the clip below
Many of the founding members of CLogher Valley Rugby have made massive contributions to the club over the years and this volunteer effort is the cornerstone of their club and all clubs in Ulster Rugby. Why do we do it! Thats an easy question to answer, and the following interview with Gordon Montgomery a founding member incapulates this, and we caught up with William Boyd @ the Ulster Rugby Clubs v Schools youth game recently, both interviews are next.
The Powerade Towns Cup victories over the years along with MCCambley Cups have on many occasions been played at Ravenhill and club captain David Sharkey (also pictured in the advert for the hairdressing salon to the right Scissor Craft (sorry David could not help it Paul Beavers is responsible) comments below on this years victory @ Ravenhill. Everyone we talked to at the club eminates this kind of pride in this success made all the more enjoyable by the Ravenhill location.
The role of team manager is ably conducted by Paul Beavers and we asked him to describe the role, he said, ”My role is to make sure we field the best possible team each week, made up of the best players and making sure that they play with pride in their shirt. This job is always an easy one as CVRFC have a group of lads that are highly dedicated to their club!!”
Year Team Trophy
1991-1992 1st XV Section 8 Minor League
1992-1993 1st XV Section 7 Minor League
1992-1993 2nd XV Section 8 Minor League
1993-1994 1st XV Section 6 Minor League
1993-1994 1st XV McCamberly Cup Winners
1994-1995 1st XV Section 5 Junior Qualifying League
1994-1995 3rd XV Minor League
1995-1996 1st XV Section 4 Junior Qualifying League
1996-1997 1st XV Section 3 Junior Qualifying League
1996-1997 2nd XV Section 6 Minor League
1996-1997 3rd XV Section 8 Minor League
1998-1999 2nd XV Section 5 Minor League
1999-2000 Under 18 Under 18s Cup Winners
2002-2003 1st XV Section 2 Junior Qualifying League
2002-2003 Under 14 Under 14s Plate Finalists
2004-2005 Under 14 Under 14s Plate Winners
2005-2006 1st XV Towns Cup Finalists
2006-2007 1st XV Towns Cup Winners
2009-2010 1st XV Towns Cup Finalists
2010-2011 1st XV Towns Cup Winners
Club Stalwart Andy Donaldson comments next on playing for Clogher Valley, and the role of centre. All of us who are part of a rugby club contribute our time and energy, and the rewards are immense. Andy comments on the club and also further re iterates their openness to new members. Clogher Valley welcome the opportunity to further develope rugby in the community and everyone is welcome ot come along and get involved.
The youth system @ Clogher Valley is gathering momentum and next we interview Eugene McKenna who plays for the youth and also wears the Ulster Rugby Jersey @ age grade level, his interview and coach Adrian Millars comments go some way to give you a feel for youth rugby @ Clogher
We asked Adrian to comment on his coaching with the youth of Clogher Valley rugby club, he said,
“I’ve been youth coaching for 7 or 8 years, and this year I am the u19s coach for the first time, we train tuesday and thursdays and everyone is welcome. Previously I worked with the u14s at Clogher Valley, and we had good league success with a small pool of players. Having a smaller pool of players has its benefits. We are not picking teams we are picking positions for the players, when the lads are up against it and playing unfamiliar positions it improves them, they have to make the yards no matter what they are up against, one day we might have 3 wingers and 4 centres but someone has to play the other positions so the players understanding of the game improves because they play all over the park.
Because we work with smaller numbers they are getting more coaching per head; we have two coaches and a couple of other helpers so each player gets lots more out of it.
We involve players from the senior squads in rugby clinics, props and so on to give the young lads tips on scrummaging and the line out, and especially the front three so that the lads feel confident and safe, the safer they feel in there the better they will do.
We do our best to give everyone a game and still keep a success in there, we play every player, and as long as safety is maintained, the result is unimportant.
Other clubs will put out their biggest side, those bigger fellas are not learning, they always hand the ball to the big man, whereas our lads have to use the ball, and create space, on a few occasions were we have had fast runners, we have took them off and said to the rest of the team – now you do it – every man has to step up and get physically aggressive and take on and tackle the bigger lads, tackling and rucking, loosing the fear of tackling and getting into the ruck, the rest of it we can tidy up, handling rucks and tackling at youth level is vitally important, a weak tackler will not get picked higher up the club.
Coaching is about producing as many players as we can who will be useful at senior rugby, we have also had some excellent players who have come through our system and the club is immensley proud of them Eugene Mckenna Ulster U19 Captain and Chris Farrell Ulster Rugby Academy”
Adrian explained further that they have a saying @ Clogher Valley which is “The Wattle School Of Rugby” and William Trimble the youth convenor must be applauded for the immense work he does.
It has been an immense milestone for Clogher Valley, being a relatively young club, that recently a stallwart of the club Raymond Orr & his son played on the same team – Raymond & son are pictured below
The powerade Towns Cup victories and their frequency including finals is really a testament to the entire club effort that produces a side capable of beating everyone. The Towns Cup is at the pinacle of rugby in Ulster and is taken very seriously by all the clubs. the open format allows any town to enter, so winning the cup crosses all boundaries! the journey of a cup run that leads to Ravenhill is literally the stuff of legend in Ulster Rugby Clubs. You will often here reference in clubs to their “dream team” of 89, or the famous McCambley cup winning side of the late 90s that won the cup 4 time sin a row. Well Clogher Valley could easily be put in that category for they have been in 4 out of the last five finals and have won 2 of them! An awesome result!
Below is a clip of 10/11 video higlights including massive bursts through the opposition, tries and conversions, + interviews with supporters and coach Davy Balck, alos below that are link to pictures from the final and then at then below that you will find links to all the stories that InTouch Rugby has run on Clogher Valley in the last 12 months including the recent Derek Lee Memorial Match. Derek Lee was a founding member of Clogher Valley & each year he is remembered in a match with Rainey Old Boys since he was a Magherafelt man.
A simply superb performance by Clogher Valley. The front five absolutely proved the age old point that without a scrum you have nothing, and without the tight five in forward play dominating the opposition you may forget it.
The Clogher Valley pack were immense, and that allowed a scintillating back line to weave their magic.
Clogher Valley went behind in the opening minutes, but they steadied the nerves and showed their experience by first of all absorbing the onslaught, equalling what was being thrown at them and then stepping up the tempo in attack to score again and again and again – Awesome display!
This Ballynahinch II XV are one serious unit and they have deservedly had a great season. They really did nothing wrong and we look forward to covering them moving forward with many of them on the Hinch I XV in the future.
All credit to both sides on an excellent game and the scoreline may not have reflected the superb play by Ballynahinch.
Dreams come true in rugby after alot of blood, sweat and tears, the same is very true for these young men and the out pouring of emotion that followed when they returned to their town that evening was by all accounts a site to behold. The local soccor team had won the equivalent Ulster cup that day and both teams met in the centr eof Clogher Valley and for 15 minutes brought the town to a stand still as they revelled in their success
We are not too keen on passing comment @ InTouch Rugby. Our view is that you play the rugby and we try our best to cover it. However, after covering CLogher Valley and meeting up with the guys at the club and during the course of completing this review, we can only say that the pride and love that these people have for their club is extraordinary. Mirrored across Ulster Rugby by an immense passion for the game, Clogher by simply being themselves are astounding the rugby world with their achievements. We look forward to covering them moving forward and thank them for the rugby.
But first is the comment we received from David Farrell who’s son is in the Ulster Rugby Academy. We asked him “what did you feel when your son wore the Ulster Rugby jersey for the first time on the I XV squad against Neath”, he looked at us, paused, looked all around, breathed a sigh, and said, “Pride, immense pride”.
A Short History Of The Powerade Towns Cup, The First Trust Senior Cup, The McCrea Cup, The McCambley Cup, The Crawford Cup, The Gordon West Cup, The Forster Cup, & The Butler Shield!
Below the front row specialists at the club give their thought son the role of prop, which will be shortly used for a featur eon intouch rugby called proptalk