Thursday 27 October 2016

Club Focus: Kinsale RFC - Flying high on back of Sevens success

Published 16/10/2015 | 02:30

Kinsale celebrate their Sevens success
Kinsale celebrate their Sevens success
Young rugby players from Kinsale

Set on the picturesque coastline of Cork, Kinsale RFC was founded in 1982 by a group of local rugby enthusiasts, who played rugby with Douglas and set out to establish a club in the town.

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Club president Peter Elliot has been involved with the underage section since 2004.

"Traditionally I've looked after the youths and have watched our playing numbers grow significantly since my involvement with the club," says Elliot.

"We have 250 playing members at mini level and 100 playing in our youths, fielding U-13, U-14, U-16 and U-18 squads.

"Last season was a particularly good season for us, reaching the 'A' cup final at U-18s and also achieving qualification for the Munster U-18 Youths competition.

"Our back Ethan Greene was also selected on the Munster U-18 Clubs side, featuring in the interprovincial series.

"Our U-18s has always been tight in terms of numbers. We only had about 20 players on our squad last season, so to achieve what we did was a great accomplishment.

"We're very well organised from an underage point of view and I think parents appreciate that - which is why we have such huge numbers."

Playing in Division 2 of the Junior League, Kinsale field two adult teams, comprising over 50 players, and Elliot says the club aims to continue recruiting for their underage section and retain the players at U-20 level to feed into their senior side.

"Where we are situated from a catchment point of view, there's a limit of the number of players you can recruit, but our aim is to make sure we get as many young people playing the game as possible," he says.

"We've grown our numbers every year over the last ten years but our challenge is to retain our players at U-16 and U-18 level.

"We have tried to field an U-20 side in the past but unfortunately didn't have the numbers. We ran an amalgamated U-20 side with other local clubs last year but ultimately our goal would be to field our own U-20s to bridge the gap between the U-18s and our seniors."

"At adult level we were promoted the year before last to Division 1 but unfortunately were relegated last season. Our target this year is to consolidate our position at the top of Division 2 to prepare for promotion again in the future"

Surrounded by 12 acres of land at Snugmore, Kinsale RFC has three pitches and a state of the art clubhouse with major development plans underway to improve changing, shower and toilet facilities.

"We were fortunate enough to be able to purchase some land around the club three years ago," says Elliot.

"We have three pitches right now, including a training pitch. We are also very fortunate to have access to two further pitches across the road that we lease from a local farmer that caters for our underage players every Saturday morning, and a third that we use for the Kinsale Sevens.

"We installed match-grade floodlighting on to our main pitch this summer and can now play matches on Friday and Saturday evening.

"The plan for our recently purchased 12 acres is to add two more playing pitches and we hope to extend our clubhouse."

The Kinsale Sevens tournament welcomes almost 100 teams and 10,000 visitors from all over the world every May Bank holiday weekend contributing approximately ¤5m towards the local economy.

"Every year we are very fortunate to host the event and it does mean, from a fundraising point of view, we are in a very strong position compared to other clubs," says Elliot.

"That and the club lotto scheme brings in additional income."

The Kinsale Sevens has been an annual event since 1988, and is operated entirely by hundreds of volunteers.

"The unique hosting capabilities of Kinsale town and surrounds enables us to run the event in partnership with local businesses and services," says Elliot.

"It is Ireland's largest Sevens tournament and encourages local players to play and take up the sport.

Irish Independent

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