Abbeyfeale's John gets rugby volunteer award

Published 19/02/2014 | 05:36

AN Abbeyfeale man who been a massive driving forced behind the success of the local rugby club has been honoured by Munster Rugby.

AN Abbeyfeale man who been a massive driving forced behind the success of the local rugby club has been honoured by Munster Rugby.

John Moloney picked up Munster Rugby's Volunteer Recognition Award for January in honour of his outstanding contribution to girls and women's rugby in Abbeyfeale.

About six years ago, John took it on himself to try to establish girls rugby in Abbeyfeale RFC and kicked it all off by forming an under-15 team. The Convent School in Abbeyfeale was his first stop and soon spread his network to other schools in the locality.

By the following season the girls section had expanded to an under-15 and an under-18 team but John wasn't happy to stop there. In conjunction with Munster Women's Community Rugby Officer, Amanda Greensmith, the next step was establishing a women's team which was duly achieved, That team now proudly sits on top of the table in the Women's Munster League Group B.

John's influence isn't confined to coaching, however. He is also a qualified referee, a certified first aider and he also organises all of the fixtures at both levels. John has also helped to raise funds for the women's and girls teams by holding several successful fundraising nights. He also contributed to the Marie Keating Foundation by organising a rugby match between the Abbeyfeale and Tralee Women's Teams.

Head coach of the girls underage in Abbeyfeale RFC, Hannah Broderick, has described John's input as invaluable.

"Without him the club would have no women's or girls' teams to raise the profile of the club. To this day he continues to encourage and motivate more girls into trying rugby," she said.

"When I started playing rugby years ago he encouraged me to become a coach and I have now progressed to becoming head coach of the underage."

Because of John the club has had players representing Munster at underage level over the past few years, which has been a massive boost to pleayers, coaches and mentors. Today Abbeyfeale RFC fields girls teams at Under 13, Under 15, Under 18 and a Women's squad of 25 players, thanks in no small way to John's outstanding contribution.

Kerryman

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