Adapted Tag Rugby pioneer Benny lands Volunteer Award
Benny Henry of Mallow RFC is the winner of the Munster Rugby Volunteer Recognition Award.
Born in Dundalk in March 1952 Benny Henry was the third child in a family of eight children. In 1971 he joined Clarkes Shoes as a trainee management accountant and in 1976 moved to the UK to further his career.
In 1980 he relocated to Germany before his return to Ireland where he took up residence in Mallow, North Cork and joined Mallow RFC. Benny has two sons Brian and Cormac.
Benny coached juvenile rugby at Mallow for eight years. In 2006 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a condition he challenges with a positive attitude.
In September 2013 the IRFU appointed a working group to establish a standardised inclusive framework and the resources necessary for the playing, coaching and promotion of rugby for individuals with disabilities.
In early 2015 contact was made between Cope Foundation in Mallow and Mallow RFC to discuss the establishment of an Adapted Tag-Rugby team in the town, and a partnership was formed between the two organisations.
With Benny at the helm their aim was to create a philosophy of inclusiveness in the game of rugby by forming a team to play Adapted Tag-Rugby.
Benny took up the responsibility for the management and completion of this project in his capacity of coach and equality/inclusiveness officer.
With the help of Paula Reilly and Breda Corcoran of Cope Foundation as well as his fellow Mallow member Eamonn Gardiner, Benny approached the project with empathy and caring.
Fundamental to the success of the project was the ability of those with a disability to embrace a new challenge and this, like Benny, they did with passion and a smile.
The team assumed the name 'Mallow Barbarians' and last June when they played their inaugural match against Garryowen on a great occasion.
This is just the beginning of a movement for equality and inclusiveness.
As one of the first clubs in Munster to embrace this challenge, Benny and Mallow RFC are being proactive in assisting other cubs to join the movement.
Benny Henry has written a coaching manual and designed a template of the implementation process of disability rugby which Mallow RFC has presented to the IRFU for consideration.
Munster rugby would like to congratulate Benny on his award and his overall contributions in delivering a Disability Rugby Programme in Munster.