The Roscrea RFC boys u12s have been invited to play at the half time interval in the upcoming Leinster v Zebre game scheduled to be played on April 4th. A fantastic opportunity for the team to watch their sporting heroes and then have the honour of playing on the same pitch. The road to this high point has been an interesting one for this group and could possibly act as a blueprint for others.
When the Rugby season commenced in September the u12s had a small but committed group of players, its worth remembering that this is the final age grade before competitive 15 player rugby starts at u13s level. In the first blitz of the season played in Tullamore RFC in October, head coach Ger Stone fielded a team with 9 players, although they performed excellently it was decided that recruitment was the first priority going forward. In his capacity as the clubs Leinster Community Rugby Officer, Ger Stone’s primary objectives are to bring the game to a wider audience by visiting local schools, organizing blitzes and promoting the many virtues of the sport. The direct benefit of this initiative is the prospect of more school children deciding to take up the sport. There are many pathways to bringing in new players, word of mouth between parents, players bringing their friends and so on. But the key element in producing a functioning team is player retention and that’s where the coaching group at the Roscrea RFC Boys u12s have been at the fore front. Player enjoyment is a priority and an emphasis is placed on everyone getting plenty of game time as well as positive constructive coaching. As a result of these actions, the Roscrea RFC u12s have experienced a positive growth in numbers and now play and train with a panel of 27 players.
When this team eventually commence competitive rugby, they will have travelled on an exciting and progressive road of development. Many will have started rugby at 5 or 6 years of age under the nurturing watch of the clubs irreplaceable and unsung hero Liam Bergin who has introduced a generation of children to the sport in Roscrea. They will have experienced further encouragement and inspiration from former Club Community officer Mark Lown, a gifted and wonderful resource as well as a shining light within the club. Now Coach and current club captain Ger Stone, former player Joe Smyth and current senior player Kieran Stone are in the driving seat and they have the credentials and the determination to take this group on a sporting adventure all the way to senior rugby. This is how the player production line operates, thrives and progresses. It is the domain of the wonderfully dedicated volunteers giving their time for the good of the sport while simultaneously making a crucial, overwhelmingly worthwhile and positive contribution to the lives of the children involved.