Ballyclare RFC showcase next generation of stars


Great rugby, enthusiastic players and a brilliant team of volunteers and supporters resulted in Ballyclare RFC Mini Rugby’s 2018 festival being a great success. Even the good weather turned up!

Around 1,400 young rugby players attended the event on Saturday (April 14th) representing 104 teams of boys and girls from 22 different rugby clubs.

Clubs from across Ulster played each other and also teams from Dublin.

There were 208 matches played over the entire day – equating to over 3,050 minutes of rugby.

The P3, P4 and P5 players took to the pitches for the morning session followed by the under 12s just after lunchtime.

Then the P6 and P7 pupils filled the pitches at the Cloughan ground in Ballyclare later in the afternoon.

Two Ulster Rugby players took time out of their busy schedules to visit the festival. Rob Lyttle and David Busby watched some matches, signed autographs, answered questions and posed for photographs with young players and parents.

One U8 (aged 7) player asked Rob and David who the biggest coffee snob was in Ulster Rugby!

Players and supporters were also able to enjoy entertainment off the pitches which included bouncy castles, face painting, food stalls and inflatable play areas.

The club would like to say a big thank you to the dozens of volunteers who worked so hard behind the scenes in the lead up to this popular annual event for the club.

Volunteers from across the club at all levels and parents manned car parks, marked out pitches, set up before the day, co-ordinated play, worked in the coffee shop, cut the grass, put up tents, prepared the food and cleaned up afterwards.


Ulsters Rob Lyttle chats with the mini ruggers

Our principal sponsor The Woodside Group provided boxes of snacks and drinks for all the players.

Ballyclare RFC puts mini rugby at the heart of the club and this has culminated in a great season for many ex-Ballyclare mini rugby players. This included wins for Ballyclare RFC 1st XV in the Towns Cup, Ballyclare High School 1st XV in the Subsidiary Shield and Ballyclare Secondary School in the U16 Cup.

Mike Orchin-McKeever, Ballyclare RFC 1st XV head coach and Ballyclare High School Director of Rugby,said:

“This was a phenomenal event hosted by Ballyclare RFC with so many age levels getting to play rugby on Saturday. A tremendous amount of work was clearly put in by many for this event to run so smoothly and to allow such an enjoyable day of rugby to flow for all players and coaches.

“Personally, I had a wonderful morning, afternoon and evening watching so many getting to play the game.

“The future looks excellent for Ballyclare Rugby and the club game in Ulster and Ireland with so many clubs being represented. Well done to all.”

Ballyclare RFC Mini Rugby convenor Iain Luke said: “We are really pleased that the festival was enjoyed by so many player and supporters.

“Our club and pitches looked fantastic, the rain held off and there was a lot of great rugby played by a huge number of teams.

“We want to thank everyone who attended and all those who played a crucial role before, during and after the event to ensure that everything ran smoothly.”