FEATURE: Coleraine Rugby Football & Cricket Club – More Than Just A Rugby Club

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Coleraine Rugby Football and Cricket Club is justly proud of the iconic new changing room complex that greets every visitor to the town.

The renovation of the club and grounds has now been completed and the project has given every one of the 970 members of the club something to celebrate and enjoy.

And it is that spirit of enjoyment that is fundamental to the success of the club. A positive drive to develop sporting talent from within the area, and nurture a lasting involvement in sport through the club, has brought enjoyment across the generations.

President of Coleraine, Willie Duffin, is proud of his club.

“The iconic building we have created with our new changing rooms and club house renovations stands at the main access point to Coleraine and it is a source of great pride for the Club and the town.

“It symbolises our club’s commitment to the future of all our sports and to the young people who in the future will ensure our club remains a force to be reckoned with, throughout the country.

“Our club is community based, membership is open to everyone, and I ask that anyone interested in getting involved in any of our sports – rugby, cricket, hockey and bowls – or who just wants to join the club for a place to visit for a quit drink and a chat, to come along to the clubhouse at Rugby Avenue. Give it a try – you might just like it.”

Rugby is the mainstay of the club but members also excel in cricket, hockey and bowls, with members spanning the generations from active children’s sections to the more sedate but equally challenging world of indoor bowls.

Coleraine has a long and glorious record in Ulster rugby, from the first match against Derry in 1921, to reaching Section 1 of the Junior league in 1962 and remaining there, with the exception of one season, ever since.

At present the club field four teams, contesting leagues and cups with equal vigour. And over the years the teams have regularly enjoyed great success.

Richard Kernohan leads the coaching team and supports the development of local talent throughout the club.

“We have a strong coaching setup in the club and we are particularly keen to develop young players to represent Coleraine in matches across the province.

“All of our teams are primarily made up of people from the Coleraine area who have learnt their rugby at the club. It is a tradition the club is proud of and one that we strive to keep going.”

The youth section fields teams in all four age groups and again the strong coaching teams are providing a springboard for young men to reach the senior sides.

Mini rugby is a very strong aspect of club life. Every Saturday during the season more than 140 youngsters turn out for training and club days. Children learn the basics of rugby and a love for the game.

What a great way for dads in the club to remain actively involved as their playing days draw to a close and bring their year’s of experience to another generation in the youth and mini sections. Strong links with local schools also help Coleraine develop local talent.

The club’s most high profile success story is Ulster and Ireland star Andrew Trimble who first developed a passion for the game in Coleraine’s mini section. Andrew secured the International Sportsman of the Year award at this year’s Coleraine Sports Awards.

Of course it is not all about the rugby. Cricket is a very strong aspect of the club. A massive mini and youth cricket set up ensures a great pool of players throughout the club. League and cup success have all come to Coleraine and the section remain one of the top sides in the North West and the province.

Ladies hockey is also based at the club, matches being played at the University grounds. Again mini and youth hockey, as well as strong school links, have produced a vibrant hockey section within the club and regular success in league and cup competitions.

The final section is indoor short mat bowls. The gentile appearance hides a very competitive spirit and this has resulted in many successes in local competitions.

Sponsors are an important part of club life and Coleraine Rugby has some wonderful support. The main rugby sponsors are Cookstown, part of the Vion Food Group, Lynas Frozen Foods, McClarty Insurance and Crown Paints. Other club sponsors include Donnelly and Taggart, Donaghy Bros, Capital Trust, Diamond Centre, Shenanigans, JSR Technology, EMO Oil, Edwin May Volkswagen, Right Price, Gareth’s Takeaway, Silver Spirit, JSR Technology and Movie House Cinema.

All in all Coleraine Rugby Football and Cricket club represents all that is good in local sport. Representing the Coleraine area in rugby and other sports, providing an inclusive community based sporting club and enjoying the finest of facilities, the club stands strong and ready to carry on the traditions and sporting excellence, of the past and the present, on to a successful future for all its sporting activities.

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