Junior Rugby League Blog
20th June 2014, 12:53
Over the past number of months Rugby League Ireland have been working hard on introducing the sport to new levels. The primary target of this has been to bring rugby league into schools in Ireland. It has been a long time goal of RLI to get under age rugby league rugby league up and running.
The opportunity to get under age rugby league introduced into schools came in March 2014 when for Ireland Student International and current West Dublin Bears player Anthony McCreery assisted with arranging a one day blitz in his school, St Josephs CBS Drogheda, which saw three schools take part in an under 18's rugby league event.
In total 60 students took part in the one day blitz which was the first of its kind under the guise of RLI. Previous attempts to get rugby league into schools took place in the mid 1990's when the RFL employued a development officer to help build the sport.
This new venture expanded with the introduction of an Origin Series between Leinster and Ulster. The Ulster squad was made up of players from the Belfast Metropolitan College and was coached by Ireland 'A' International Wayne Kelly.
Holding an origin series was a substantial step forward for the development of the game with a further twenty under age players taking part in games in 2014. Leinster would win the two game series with victories in Belfast and in Drogheda.
The next step for the players who took part in the Origin Series comes when the first ever Ireland U19's squad is put together this summer. We will take on Wales in November and are currently in the process of arranging further fixtures.
It is hoped that nearly fifty players will be involved in the Ireland training squad with players from all four provinces likely to take part in the training sessions. This will bring the number of under 19 players currently playing rugby league in Ireland during to nearly 100 players which is a massive increase on the following year when that number would have been in single figures.
I will keep you all up to date with the development of Junior Rugby League with my monthly blog which will lead up to the November international.
Yours In Sport,