At a Civic Reception held at Áras an Phiarsaigh, Listowel on Monday 22nd May the Cathaoirleach, Cllr Aoife Thornton and elected members of Listowel Municipal District honoured the Under-18 Listowel Rugby Football Club girls team who won the treble of Munster Cups over the 2016/17 season.
The team had a remarkable season winning the U-18 Munster League Competition, the U-18 Munster Cup Competition and the U-18 Munster 7-A-Side Cup Competition. They were unbeaten all season which is unprecedented in the history of the competition. It is even more remarkable as the girls section was only established three years ago and had a steep learning curve to compete with the more established clubs in the province. The squad included two players from St Marys RFC in Limerick and five players from Tralee RFC and over the season have they forged a great relationship with the Listowel girls. Listowel Rugby Football Club strives to develop all of their players both boys and girls and this is evident by the fact that seven of the players from the U18 squad Muirne Wall, Ciara Shine, Aisling Brosnan, Dearbhla Canty, Caolainn Healy, Stephanie Nunan and Melanie McKnight participated in the Munster U-18 teams in the 7 and 15-A- Side inter-provincial competitions and one, Stephanie, went on to represent Ireland.
The Cathaoirleach acknowledged that “such success requires a great deal of work from enthusiastic and supportive coaches, volunteers and parents as well as an excellent Club committee who have strongly supported the girls section since its formation.” The ceremony concluded with the presentation of commemorative scrolls to the club and players, and medals to the seven representative players.
The reception followed the visit of the Women’s Rugby World Cup to Tarbert Comprehensive School and Listowel Town Park earlier that day. The Town Park was the venue for a blitz competition for secondary school girls from St Joseph’s School in Ballybunion, Listowel Presentation Secondary School and Tarbert Comprehensive. This was run by Transition Year students from Tarbert schools as part of an initiative between Listowel RFC and the school, with the support of the Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership. A key function of Kerry County Council through the Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership is to increase participation levels in sport and physical activity in the county. Its aim is getting the active more active and the less active, active.
The aim of the initiative was to encourage secondary school girls to participate in sport as research has shown that teenage girls often drop out of sport for various reasons. Munster Rugby delivered coaching sessions for the Transition Year students over two weeks. During this time the students learned the skills involved in rugby allowing them in turn to deliver coaching sessions to 1st and 2nd year students which culminated in the blitz. Amanda Greensmith, Women’s Community Rugby Officer with Munster Rugby said “It is great to see so many girls taking up rugby and also having an interest in further helping with the development of rugby not just in their club but also their school. The work by both the teachers and the students ensure students get to try a new sport that they may never have considered before.”
Irish Women’s International player Maz Reilly was also in attendance giving advice and her expertise and joining in the fun and with staff from Munster Rugby and volunteers from Listowel Rugby Football Club organised a “Give it a Try” taster session for Primary School students from the Presentation Primary School in Listowel. Also in attendance at the blitz was Tony Duggan of the Listowel Community Centre and a major extension there is
nearing completion. This will allow Tony and his team to provide new personal, small group and team training facilities. With all these developments and the Listowel Park Run drawing over 100 participants every Saturday morning Listowel is providing fun and fitness for all ages.