CARLOW RUGBY CLUB has won the title of Ireland's top sporting organisation at the Diverse Ireland Awards 2011. At the award ceremony this week held by The Integration Centre in Dublin Carlow Rugby Club was declared the winner from a shortlist of sporting organisations which included the GAA and the Football Association of Ireland.
The citation for the award praised the Carlow Rugby Clubs diverse range of sporting activity and particularly the Club's initiative in reactivating summer cricket for the Burmese refugee families who had moved to Carlow.
In 2009, 13 families originally from Burma were resettled in Carlow town under an UNHCR resettlement programme.
An interagency process, under the Carlow County Development Board, was set up to support the families with their resettlement.
As cricket is a national sport of the Rohingya community, the community was keen to play their sport in Carlow. Carlow Local Authorities, St. Catherine's Community Services Centre, Carlow Regional Youth Services and County Carlow Sports Partnership met with the Rugby Club to see if the club could facilitate cricket on their grounds.
The Burmese are passionate cricketers and the reactivation of one of the country's oldest cricket clubs enabled the refugees to integrate into the local community on the field of sport.
The Oakpark based Rugby Club's initiative was supported by St Catherine's Community Centre in Carlow and also by Carlow County Council whose grant aided the project.
The activities at Carlow Rugby Club which also helped secure the national title included Tag Rugby, Mini, Junior and Youths Rugby, Ladies Rugby, plus soccer training and a fitness and boot camp.
The Diverse Ireland award was accepted by Club President Harry Sothern who praised the great voluntary work of the club's members.
This national award honours those who have made positive advancements around immigrant integration in Ireland in ten different categories and the Carlow Rugby Club won their award in the sporting organisation category in recognition of their key role as host to a very innovative and inclusive integration initiative that saw the re-establishment of one of Ireland's oldest cricket clubs at the behest of Carlow's newest residents - the Rohingya.
Carlow cricket had its first full season in 2011 with members of various nationalities, living in Carlow, joining the club.
The club is currently in preparations for the 2012 season through the work of its very active committee.
Anyone who is interested in taking part in cricket in 2012 please contact Thomas Farrell on 0599138703 - firstname.lastname@example.org or Sandra Corrigan on 059-9136205 or email@example.com