Pointing the way forward in oval-ball heartlands
Club Focus: Seapoint RFC
Community is the ethos coursing through the pores of Seapoint Rugby Club.
Ideally situated in Killiney on Dublin's southside, the community spirit associated with the club is one of its key assets as it serves a huge rugby area and provides a key focal point for players attending rugby schools who live in the Cabinteely, Killiney, Ballybrack and greater Dun Laoghaire area.
It's a rugby hotbed and the club has progressed through the ranks to stand before us today as a proud All Ireland League side.
Seapoint have had a whirlwind last 10 years. Battling in the top tier in the Leinster Junior League was their bread and butter until the class of 2009/10 went on to claim league success and achieved the dream of reaching the All-Ireland League.
Having achieved Division 2A status in quick time the club hit a peak in 2013 before having to endure a few tough seasons, resulting in relegation to Division 2C.
Former Ireland and Lions back-row Eric Miller and Damien McCabe joined as a new coaching team and expertly guided a group of young players to a mid-table finish this season. It was a remarkable end to the campaign, with six wins in the last seven league game meaning the club is looking up again and can look forward to 2017/18 with renewed optimism.
Their grounds at Kilbogget Park, Killiney have come a long way since the club's inception in 1934 and today boast three pitches furnished with match-standard floodlights.
The club is also renowned for its annual mini blitz that attracts scores of participants and supporters. This year, more than 90 teams from home and abroad take part. With over 1,300 players plus supporters and parents attracted to the club, it is the premier festival for youth and mini rugby in Ireland.
Seapoint have also produced its fair share of provincial and national representatives on the field of play. Felix Jones played with the club right the way up from the minis to the seniors and was part of the Seapoint All-Ireland Junior Cup win back in 2007 before he went on to represent Leinster, Munster and Ireland.
Joe Brady was another to wear the green of Ireland back in the '70s, while the likes of Michael Noone and Gary Foley have represented Irish Schools as well as Ireland U-19s and in Noone's case, the U-20s also.
Noone has since gone on to play with Leicester Tigers and is now with Jersey in the Championsip, while former Seapoint hooker Aaron Dundon played with Leinster for many years before taking up a coaching role in France with Grenoble.
The youth and minis are integral parts of the club with players been catered from U-7 level right up to U-20. More than 450 boys and girls are registered with the club while all coaches are accredited to Leinster Branch standard.
The mindset of the minis is clear: regardless of age or ability, players get equal coaching and match time.
The youth teams playing 15-a-side rugby receive expert team and individual coaching. This season has been highly successful with U-14s, U-15s and U-17s winning leagues and cups both at home and abroad. In addition, several players have been selected for Leinster youth squads.
The Seapoint Rugby Dragons was founded a number of years ago and provides a rugby experience for kids with special needs. Players are coached in rugby skills allowing them to play tag rugby. The Seapoint Dragons have graced Thomond Park, Aviva Stadium and the RDS in recent seasons.
Along with their All-Ireland Junior Cup back in 2007, the Seapoint seniors are also double winners of the Leinster League Division 1A with successes in 2004 and '09. A brace of Division 2 wins are also on the roll of honour along with a host of cup triumphs.
Seapoint are always open for new members and actively encourage prospective players to get in touch with them. Whether it be calling up to the club or dropping an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, the club welcome all comers.
As they continue to make strides both on and off the field, Seapoint Rugby Club in the future looks like cutting an impressive picture. The structures are in place with a clear 'One Club' philosophy, a guiding principle and the players from U-7s through to the Dragons and seniors know what it takes to get the job done inside the white lines. Watch this space.
The Seapoint Anthem
You may travel far, far from your own rugby ground
Far away from Dun Laoghaire, Far away from Monkstown
But for all the fine players I ever have seen
There's none to compare with the Black, Blue and Green.
Fare ye well Blackrock College, now Wesley 'twas a sin
You came to Kilbogget with many's a win
But when the game started 'twas plain to be seen
There was only one winner, the Black, Blue and Green.
But now we're established with a place of our own
We salute you Jas Burden, for making this home
And we'll be remembered for the rest of our lives
For the name of our club, they call us Seapoint.
For the name of our club, they call us Seapoint
Colours: Black, royal blue and green, with hooped jerseys and socks and black shorts.
Grounds: Kilbogget Park, Killiney.
Division: AIL Division 2C.
Youth/mini: U-7 to U-20s
Mini/youth chair: Barry Chadwick
Captain: Gavin Hayes
Next week's club focus is on Terenure RFC