Tonight (13 April) sees the inaugural Carpmael Cup being played for in Oak Park, Carlow when the North Munster Rebels – a Barbarian style touring side made up of players from Ballina/Killaloe RFC, Newport RFC and Scariff RFC – take on Carlow RFC at an underage level (U14).
William Percy Carpmael, after whom the cup is named, was the founder and first president of the rugby union Barbarian Football Club.
However, this barbarian styled team from North Munster plays with the same vision and ethos for rugby as that of Carpmael. The original ethos of the Barbarians being a team, which brings together players from different clubs to play rugby and enjoy the camaraderie of the game. The bravura is to play attacking, adventurous rugby without the pressure of having to win.
The tour marks the end of a tough season, which saw the ‘Rebels’ reach the final of the North Munster Conference League Cup for the second year in a row only to be beaten yet again by a very strong St Senan’s team from Shannon Town, Co Clare.
‘This team is about bring together different clubs and sharing the very special bond that rugby can give to young sportsmen”, says Declan Ryan, coach of Newport RFC.
“Everyone gets a game when we play, both strong and weak players alike. It is about developing sportsmen and a love for the game through playing it. Win lose or draw we always share a joke after a game.”
Ballina/Killaloe RFC one of the smallest clubs in Munster has connections with so many schools, provincial and international players (both male and female) whom have gifted us so many sporting memories that there must be something in the water that flows under the bridge at Killaloe.
David Sutton, who coaches alongside Ryan says “the friends these boys make across three clubs and the twin counties of Clare and Tipperary will last a lifetime, as will we hope their relationship with rugby as a sport of equals.”
‘The trip to Carlow has created great excitement and we are thankful to Carlow RFC for hosting us for this special inagural cup tie. We really hope to build on this idea in the future and include more of the North Munster teams in the selection of touring sides for an end of season trip involving a competition for the perpetual Carpmael Cup.”
“The tour was the boy’s idea. They see themselves as a combination of clubs much like the ‘Babas’. Training is always fun and the rivalry at training can be intense but once we take to the pitch the boys bond as brothers. Last February a couple of the boys wanted to tour as a Barbarian style side complete with some of the traditions such as the youngest player having to look after a mascot for the tour (usually an oversize cuddly toy).”
‘The second day of the tour sees the boys split into their respective clubs and do battle at Kilkenny Activity Centre paintballing. There is a serious side too and the boys hope to raise some money for the Irish injured player’s fund.”
Kick off this Friday night at 7pm Oak Park Carlow – please come and support us.