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Very successful Creggs Rugby Under-16 Tour to Wales

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Creggs Rugby Under-16 Rugby team embarked on a great adventure and tour of Wales a couple of weeks ago.

A party of 23 players and 10 adults(coaches and parents) departed from Knock airport on Friday Morning 20th. April. Arriving at Bristol airport the tour party were transferred by coach to their host club Llandovery RFC.


Llandovery rugby club is a club steeped in the tradition of Welsh rugby. Established in the 19th. century and a founding member of the Welsh Rugby Union this proud club proved generous and warm hosts and tough opposition on the field of play.

Llandovery fielded a very strong side featuring currently Welsh U-16 representatives and though Creggs U-16 led half way through the first half 9-3, their Welsh opponents pulled away to win comfortably in the end.

None the less, this was a fantastic experience for the Creggs lads captained by Dylan Keaveney, who acquitted themselves admirably playing abroad for the first time in “the spiritual home” of rugby football. Indeed it was remarked several times over the weekend by their hosts that the Creggs U-16 team’s behaviour was exemplary and a credit to their Club and families.

On Saturday morning the tour party had a strong “bonding” session where they went climbing up-stream and Gorge Walking in the Welsh mountains including some 10 meter jumps off cliff faces (but in a safe and controlled manner). Not for the faint hearted but a great time was had and some relief when all returned intact!!!

A further highlight on Saturday was a tour of the Liberty Stadium Swansea organised by Pat Cuddy, Athleague native and successful business man in Wales whose son Mike is the managing director of Osprays Rugby Club.

The stadium is the shared home to Swansea Football and Ospreys Rugby and the Creggs lads got to sit in the dressing-rooms occupied one week by the stars of the Premiership such as Rooney and Tevez and the following week, rugby stars like Brian O’Driscoll and our own Dennis Buckley.

Saturday evening the tour moved on to Llanelli and the Creggs party arrived at Parc y Scarlets for the RaboDirect Pro12 match between the Scarlets and Munster.

The Connaught lads switched jersey for the night to support our Munster cousins and indeed were most vocal in their support of Munster resulting in them being picked out on several occasions by the television cameras.

It proved to be a very tight game ending in a draw. The final highlight of the tour came when the Creggs U16 Captain and a teammate were invited into the dressing-room post match to meet the Munster team. Then a little later the entire Munster team agreed to meet up with the Creggs party outside the stadium for photographs, autographs and a few words. Indeed some of the Creggs lads were gifted togs, socks etc. by the Munster players as a memento of the game.

Sunday morning the tour party of 33 headed back home, flying into Knock, exhausted but having an experience that will stay with these young men for a lifetime.

Creggs Rugby thanks everyone involved in making this a very special trip to Wales. This includes our President Berney Higgins, all the Under-16 management and coaches (who looked after every detail), as well as parents that travelled. A big thank you to Richard Keavney from Athleague, who was a major influence and help in organising the trip.

Many thanks to Vincent Collins (Service Matters), Aidan Farrell (MJ Farrells) and Angus Oates (Oates Auctioneers) for their very generous sponsorship of Creggs Rugby Tour Club Jackets for all the players and others members of the travelling party.

Thanks also to Pat and Mike Cuddy and everyone at the Ospreys Rugby Club (www.ospreysrugby.com) for everything, to everyone at Llandovery Rugby Club (www.llandoveryrfc.co.uk) for their great hospitality.  Thanks in particular to Carwyn Williams, LLandovery Youth Officer &  Phil Davies President Llandovery RFC.

Con Maloney, the host at the L&A Adventure Centre (accommodation and sports activities in the Welsh Mountains), our bus transport and everyone else that looked after everyone so well, and making them so welcome.

Pat Cuddy is originally from Clooneyourish, Athleague Co Roscommon is the founder of the Cuddy Group, Engineering and demolition company, which has their head office based in Neath. Cuddy Group (www.cuddy-group.com )is the fifth largest demolition contractors in the UK. The company is now run by Pat’s children. However, we were told that Pat (a fit man of 75 years young), can still be found behind the controls of a digger on the odd day!

His son Mike is the Cuddy Group Managing Director and is also the Managing Director of Ospreys Rugby Club in Swansea. Their team is well-known to all Irish supporters not just for their success in the Magners League (now RaboDirect Pro12), but it is of course the club where Irish Rugby’s living legend Tommy Bowe has played for many seasons before his pending return to his native Ulster later this year.

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Athleague Camogie Club are delighted to announce our new
“A Hurl For Every Girl Campaign” Supported by Local Farmers & Industry.
Athleague Camogie Club has gone from strength to strength in the recent past with successes from underage to Senior County titles. With the support of our main sponsor Ward and Burke Construction coming on board in 2018, this has certainly supported and helped progress the promotion of our game in the Athleague Camogie catchment area.
Being part of any team, especially camogie and allied sports like GAA & Rugby, builds a good work ethic, collaboration, cooperation and learning to be part of a team. Team membership also builds resilience in players when learning to deal with success as well as failure. All these skills are crucial qualities for young people moving forward into the professional working world.
In the catchment area for Athleague Camogie Club there are 161 girls attending national school in the Creggs, Fuerty, Athleague and Ballymurray schools. We are lucky to have a great relationship with other clubs within our area, and as we don’t have our own pitch, these clubs kindly facilitate us with use of their grounds, namely Athleague Pitch, Tremane Pitch, Mulhern Park and Creggs RFC. Camogie is a minority sport in the parish. However, camogie is a noble Gaelic sport which enhances skills of resilience and courage. Those who participate as part of a team contribute positively in the workplace.
A new initiative has been launched by the club’s main sponsor Ward and Burke Construction to supply each of these primary school girls with a hurl and sliotar. Other local businesses have come on board to support this initiative including Aurivo, Kepak and Local Dairy Farmers. Senior club members will deliver the hurls and sliotars to the younger players during the next few weeks with further information on how to join our club.
For the past 4 years Michael Ward of Ward & Burke Construction has been the main sponsor for our club. His support and advice have allowed us to undertake initiatives like this “Hurl For Every Girl” campaign. A strong believer in gender equality, his company actively recruits, promotes, and encourages women to see past old stereotypes and realise their true potential in a predominantly male employment sector of construction. Michael, a former formidable sportsman himself truly believes in how invaluable playing a team sport is for young people, and for young girls in particular. Along with building character and resilience, it gives focus and direction at times in life when it is needed most, lifelong friendships are forged, and opportunities are opened up.

Aurivo are global leaders in food and dairy nutrition, bringing clean, green products from sustainable Irish farms to the world market. They offer fantastic career opportunities and are always looking for strong, enthusiastic, and ambitious people to join their teams. Having a sports background gives girls an edge on their competition in the career marketplace, as they understand teamwork, commitment, hard work and ambition
Kepak work with over 15,000 Quality Assured beef, lamb, and pork producers nationwide. We are extremely lucky to have a Kepak facility in our catchment area that is committed to supporting employment in Athleague and further afield. They also support local initiatives and sports teams in a loyal and practical way. Kepak too are always looking to recruit enthusiastic people to join their company, indeed many of their senior management have worked their way up the career ladder by training and working in all sectors of the business from operations and sales to procurement and product development.
These companies offer graduate programmes, and this is where Athleague Camogie Club comes in…… We want to encourage girls to look to these companies as career options, to promote rural Ireland and our community. We want them to see the bigger picture, these jobs are not just for males, young women’s potential within these organisations is limitless.
Our Local Dairy Farmers have joined us on this initiative to help promote rural jobs, to encourage girls to see farming as a real and viable option for them and to encourage growth and sustainability of the family farm. As we are a rural community it is vital for our survival and prosperity that young women can stay in their local area if they wish to, and that they are supported in their endeavours to promote women in farming as a career option. Keeping our community vibrant helps everyone not just our sports clubs.
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