Three local primary schools recently sent their rugby teams to rub shoulders with the best players in Ulster.
Ballydown Primary School and Edenderry Primary School from Banbridge together with Donaghcloney Primary School were among 32 teams who attended a revamped Ravenhill Stadium for the Maxol Primary Schools’ Mini Rugby Festival.
The four day festival, which ran from Tuesday to Friday, gave young rugby enthusiasts the chance of a lifetime, the opportunity to play at the home of their Ulster Rugby heroes.
Adding to the excitement, the children also had the chance to meet with Ulster’s star players including Banbridge’s Rory Best. Also taking to the field were Robbie Diack, Paddy Wallace, Darren Cave and Stephen Ferris. They all even posed for photos and passed on some tips to the stars of the future.
With that stellar coaching, perhaps some more of these kids will follow in Rory’s footsteps.
In addition to the Primary Schools’ Mini Rugby Festival, Maxol’s sponsorship also includes 32 Mini Rugby Festivals involving more than 4,000 children from over 44 local rugby clubs and 200 rugby-playing primary schools across Ulster.
Speaking following the Maxol Primary Schools’ Mini Rugby Festival last week, Brian Donaldson, Chief Operating Officer of The Maxol Group, said:
“We are delighted to be title sponsor of Ulster Mini Rugby and with a network of 101 service stations in Northern Ireland, it gives Maxol and all of our independent retailers the opportunity to support local schools and communities at a grassroots level.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to see so many young children involved in the mini rugby festivals and to witness first-hand their passion for the sport. This is also equalled by the significant dedication and support provided by all of the coaching staff from the schools, clubs and Ulster Rugby.”
The Maxol Primary Schools’ Mini Rugby Festival saw eight schools attend each day. They were split into two pools of four, with each school playing three 20 minute matches. The level of skill and tackling ability on display was excellent throughout the festival.
The teams came from right across Northern Ireland to play at the festival, with three schools attending the Maxol festival for the first time; Carniny PS (Ballymena), Millburn PS (Coleraine) and Ballyholme PS (Bangor).
Primary Schools rugby has grown significantly over the past number of years, with over 90 schools now involved in mini rugby.