Monday 1 May 2017

Club Focus: Thriving outfit still moving forward

A club looking to the future both on and off the field, Edenderry RFC continues to strive to be the best it can be, writes Brian Lowry

Edenderry’s women’s team that claimed victory in the Leinster Cup Picture: Sportsfile
Edenderry’s women’s team that claimed victory in the Leinster Cup Picture: Sportsfile
A lineout during the High School and King’s Hospital’s Vinnie Murray Cup clash in Donnybrook Picture: Sportsfile

Brian Lowry

Situated on the Offaly and Kildare border on the Kildare side of the town, Edenderry RFC are a progressive and expanding club catering for the rugby needs of an area where the popularity of rugby is ever increasing.

Founded in 1951, the club began their voyage playing in a field close to the golf course provided by the late Aidan Clark. However, after Edenderry won the Provincial Towns Cup in 1969, a history-altering decision was made to move out to its present-day location in Coolavacoose while a clubhouse followed in 1974.

As like any club, they were moving with the times and the demand. In 1986, foundations were laid for the next venture with three extra dressing rooms, new toilets and a referees room all being built on to the original clubhouse.

In 1988, more land was purchased to the back of the clubhouse where the back pitches are currently situated while the great Moss Keane brought a star-studded team of internationals down to play a local selection to mark the opening of the new pitches in 1990.

Just before the turn of the Millennium, the club with help in the form of Lottery funding, were able them to carry out work on drainage, installation of training lights, extension of the bar area along with works on their driveways and car parks.

The official opening of the clubhouse was performed in 1999 by the Minister of Finance at the time Charlie McCreevy attending along with the president of the IRFU Billy Lavery.

Honour Today, the club stands in good health and with some of the best facilities in the province, something typified by some of the events that they have hosted.

Over the last few years, the club have had the honour of hosting two Provincial Towns cups finals, Dundalk v Tullamore in 2011 with Dundalk taking the honours and in 2013 with Tullamore victorious over Longford.

Furthermore, the club hosted a Junior Inter-pro match between Leinster and Munster in April of 2012 and the Leinster Ladies League finals in January of 2013.

A club with strong volunteer involvement, fundraising and community events are never too far off the radar.

The club also hosted "The Sport Your Mind" mental health programme which was well attended by parents, teachers, coaches and players.

On the field, the club has seen success over the past few years with the club's first XV being promoted from Leinster League Division 2B to 2A after claiming the Division 2B title in style.

In the past, Edenderry RFC won the Leinster League Division 3 in 2009/2010 while they can boast two Provincial Towns Cups in 1968/'69 and 1982/'83. The second team won the plate competition last season and now have four victories in this competition.

The women's first XV are also a team used to winning, The ladies followed up their success in the plate two seasons ago by capturing a double of the Leinster League and Cup.

At underage level, the club is also prominent. The U-13s and U-14s won Leinster competitions last season while teams are fielded between U-7 and U-18 on a regular basis.

The club has produced three Irish Youth internationals and the form of Robbie Glennon, Johnny Farrell and Robert Holt, while over a dozen Edenderry RFC members have represented the province at Junior Interprovincial level.

There is also a big Leinster connection with the club as last season the president of the Leinster Branch was Robert McDermott, who is a lifelong Edenderry RFC member. It was a huge honour for the club to have him at the helm.

The Leinster senior squad travelled to Edenderry for a training day last year, where they got a warm reception from both the club and the supporters.

Edenderry is a club that welcomes everyone with open arms. They are thriving both on and off the field and have the right structures, and people, in place to drive it forward like so many members have done in the past.

Only last month, the club played their first game on their new match-quality lights on the main pitch. The club were awarded the PST Sport Midland league finals with the main event - Edenderry v Tullamore - marking the first game under the new lights.

Unfortunately, Edenderry lost out narrowly to Tullamore in the final.

The option to have games under lights is now another resource the club has to add to its top-class facilities. With four pitches, a training area and a gymnasium, their facilities are the envy of lots of clubs in Leinster.

The club are most grateful to the Drehid Waste Management Facility, the IRFU, and the club members and supporters who brought this project to a successful conclusion.

The club established two sub-committees to look after this project. One was for fundraising and this was an outstanding success with over 80 individuals taking the opportunity to "Sponsor a Light". The club will mount a plaque in the clubhouse as a lasting memento of their contribution.

The second committee's job was to research and find the best system for the club.

The club would like to acknowledge John Ryan from Cloncad for his help and advice with this project.

The club would also like to thank their fellow clubs who gave them help and advice with this project namely Ashbourne, Balbriggan, Naas and Tullamore.

The structures and facilities are in place for the future stars of Midlands rugby to hone their skills. Edenderry RFC are in it for the long haul.

Edenderry RFC

Founded: 1951

Grounds: Coolavacoose, Carbury, Co Kildare.

Club colours: White and Blue

Division: Leinster League Division 2A.

Youths and Minis: Under 7 to Under 17.

Club president: Alan Finney.

Club captain: Jason Moore.

Next week's club focus is on Portlaoise RFC

Irish Independent

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