Topic: Community 26 Aug 2018
Author: Neil Cubley

Looking back at a summer of fun-filled Leinster Rugby Summer Camps

Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Camps
4 MIN READ

Bank of Ireland Leinster Summer Rugby Camps provide boys and girls with a fun-filled week of rugby during the holidays.

A rugby summer camp in every county in the province

‘This summer, we had over 2,800 kids attending our summer camps across 28 camps in 27 different venues,’ says Ken Moore, Community Rugby Officer, Leinster Rugby. ‘We have a camp in every county in the province.

It’s great to see all the kids in the local community come in to the local rugby clubs, have a bit of fun and learn some skills. They run Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 1.30pm, each day. We take children from 6 to 12 years old.’

A week of fun, games and skills

‘Our camps cater for new kids who might not ever have played the sport before and for enthusiasts with lots of experience. It is all fun but it also challenges the kids.

‘We start off on a Monday,’ Ken explains, ‘with passing games and teaching spatial awareness. Tuesday is about evasion and finding space. Wednesday we introduce the tackle in a very safe and controlled environment. On Thursday we look to bring the tackle into game and teach continuity and keeping the ball alive. And Friday is a game day and we bring that small element of competition into it but still very much in a fun way.’

Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Camps

Leinster’s Sean O’Brien with camp participants during the Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Summer Camp at Tullow RFC. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Meeting the players

‘2 Leinster players come along to every summer camp, every week, to meet the kids, and both the players and the kids love it. Scott Farrelly who is an absolute giant of a man came along to a camp the other day and the kids were all hanging off him,’ Ken says.

A growing number of girls at rugby summer camps

‘On average, now, there are usually 2 girls in each team of 10. The numbers are growing all the time. Last year in Clontarf, for instance, we had no girls whereas this year I think we had 15 girls.

When girls come along to the camps they might hang back a bit. But the coaches are good at spotting that and introducing fun games that bring them out of their shells by demonstrating to them that they can play the game just as well as the boys. A summer camp is a good way for girls to get used to the sport – they might then go on to join a local club.’

Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Camps

Participants during the Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Summer Camp at Cill Dara RFC. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Eve and Lara’s views on rugby, biscuits and bunnies

I interviewed Eve (7) and Lara (5) at Donnybrook RFC during their week at camp to get their perspective.

Did you play rugby before you came to summer camp?

Eve: Yes.

Lara: No

Where was that, Eve?

Eve: I kicked a rugby ball when I came to a rugby match.

What have you liked so far?

Eve: we played some games like ‘Shane’s Invasion’. So it’s basically like ‘Bulldogs’. Two people are on and they have to try and catch you. You are on one side and you have to run to the other side. But if you get caught you’re on with them.

Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Camps

Leinster rugby player Joe Tomane during the Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Summer Camp at Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

What’s the best thing about the camp?

Lara: Making friends and having lunch (giggles)

Eve: She had biscuits. The ones that look kind of like doughnuts but they’re not soft like doughnuts.

Lara: I had three.

Is it tiring running round?

Eve: No, but it’s hot. We have five in a team. Today, we can’t tackle or kick the ball, we have to keep passing it to each other to learn passing. And we get to swap teams so we get to play with everyone.

Are you good at catching?

Lara: Yes.

How far can you throw a rugby ball?

Lara: Over to those houses.

You are 5 years old. Are you sure you can throw the ball the whole length of a rugby pitch?

Lara: Yes (giggles).

Did you see her do this, Eve?

Eve: No.

Had you just had your three biscuits before you made the throw?

Lara: Yes.

Are the coaches nice?

Eve: They’re really good.

What do you like when you’re not playing rugby?

Eve: I do swimming in the paddling pool. We have to do it one at a time because it’s small. We’re learning. I sometimes do doggy paddle but I’m not very good at it. When I do doggy paddle, I basically sink!

Lara: We’ve no pets because if we get a bunny then we’ve foxes in our back garden and they might get the bunnies.

Maybe you could get a really really secure cage?

Lara: But what if we think the cage is locked and it’s not?

You have a good point there, but can we get back to rugby?

Eve: I’d like a bulldog.

Lara: Do you know those big, fat bunnies?

Eve: I love dogs. Dogs are scared of bunnies.

Lara: I saw a bunny on TV and it was the same size as a dog.

What has been the best thing about this summer? The rugby camp, maybe?

Eve and Lara: The rugby camp and going to Italy!

Eve: There was a swimming pool in front of our apartment, right in front and anytime I wanted to go swimming I’d just pull my togs on, run downstairs and jump in the pool. And we had an ice cream parlour near us.

Did you know that rugby players have to be careful what they eat even on holidays?

Eve: There was lots of pizza and pasta in Italy. I got so bored of it after a while.

Lara: I never get bored of pizza!

And back to rugby – is it fun?

Eve and Lara: Yes, it is so much fun! We can’t wait to join our rugby club soon.

Is there anything you would change about rugby summer camps?

Eve: There could be a few more girls coming.

Can girls play rugby as well as boys?

Eve: Yes.

Lara: No.

Eve: She says no all the time.

Why don’t more girls come to rugby camp?

Lara: Because girls think they don’t like rugby.

If more girls came, do you think they’d like it?

Eve and Lara: Yes! We love it.

Find out more

This summer’s Leinster Rugby Camps ran from 2 July to 17 August at 28 local rugby clubs across Leinster. A week at a camp costs €75 a child for ‘early bird’ registration and €90 a child afterwards and, as well as the training, it includes a training top, rugby ball and drawstring bag. Check out the Leinster Rugby website for details of future camps.

Topic: Community 26 Aug 2018
Author: Neil Cubley

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