County Carlow RFC will launch ‘Bees’ at their Oakpark grounds at 7pm on Tuesday.
The newly formed Bees squad brings together additional needs players to learn and practice tag rugby. It’s a move by the club to embrace additional needs children and youths of the area into the thrills and spills of the oval ball game.
To emphasise that the Bees are part of the wider rugby family the launch will be supported by Irish International Rugby stars Sean O Brien and Alison Millar. In addition, the European Champions Cup, recently secured in Bilbao by Leinster, will be on show at the club during the launch.
Tuesday’s launch is the culmination of a year’s work by a committee comprising Carlow Rugby Club members, Carlow Sports Partnership and Leinster Rugby.
The concept of additional needs or disability rugby programme has been promoted by the IRFU in recent years and in January 2015 the IRFU established a Disability Sub Committee under the Chairmanship of Des Kavanagh, a past president of Carlow club.
The aim is to provide children and young adults with learning and physical disabilities, an opportunity to partake in tag rugby in a safe enjoyable and exciting environment. This will enable the building of social skills and boosting of confidence.
To date about 16 rugby clubs in Leinster have established teams under this programme. This includes New Ross, Cill Dara and Wicklow. There are a number of teams in Dublin and last February Terenure Rugby club ran a disability rugby blitz which attracted over 200 players.
In Carlow, already 28 girls and boys aged 8 upwards have enlisted for the Bees Additional Needs training. Carlow Club Chairman Melvin Elmes said that the young people and their parents have given the initiative a great welcome and are most enthusiastic about the prospect of playing the game.
Three members from Carlow Rugby Club Niall O Malley, Keeva Owens and David Farrell have trained as coaches for disability rugby.
The committee from Carlow Rugby Club who have worked on the disability rugby project included Chairman Melvin Elmes, Hon Sec Aurlene Browne, Media Officer Muireann Brennan, President Michael Carbery, Derek Cope, Rachael O Brien, Des Kavanagh, John Carley, Niall O Malley, Keeva Owens, David Farrell, Teresa O’Meara, Carlow Sports Partnership, Stephen Gore and Ben Armstrong from Leinster Rugby.
The project aims to include and enrich the lives of people with one or more of these long lasting conditions or difficulties;
- Blindness or severe vision impairment.
- Deafness or severe hearing impairment.
- Intellectual disability.
- A difficulty with learning, remembering or concentrating.
- A difficulty with basic physical activity.
- A psychological or emotional condition.
- A difficulty with pain, breathing or any other chronic illness or condition.
Anybody with an interest in this programme can contact Teresa O Meara on 087 3868973 or email [email protected]@gmail.com.