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Wednesday 20 November 2019

Saints use Lottery funding to spread rugby gospel in the inner city

The Liberty Saints rugby club in Dublin. From left, Rhys Donohoe, Dylan Kavanagh, Josh Martin, Michael Imure, Jack Condon, Andy Ciobann and Ryan Campbell. Photo: Julien Behal Photography
The Liberty Saints rugby club in Dublin. From left, Rhys Donohoe, Dylan Kavanagh, Josh Martin, Michael Imure, Jack Condon, Andy Ciobann and Ryan Campbell. Photo: Julien Behal Photography
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Rugby isn't necessarily a game most people would associate with Dublin's inner city, but the Liberty Saints are more than a club - they provide a sense of belonging.

The club, in the heart of the Liberties, may not have their own pitch but they play regularly on a patch of land at St James's Primary School. They were finally able to buy training gear and a 20-foot storage container in 2014, when they became one of the National Lottery Good Causes beneficiaries. Using just €8,000, the team grew in Dublin 8, with a population of 55,000, 10 primary schools and no playing fields.

"Whatever we got we had to secure," said Liberty Saints president Tom Magee. "The aim is to rejuvenate the community of Dublin 8 through rugby."

Mr Magee took the game up at the age of 26 and ended up on the Leinster squad at 29. Some Saints players now have equally impressive stories to tell.

"Blackrock College has taken two on scholarships and Terenure has taken four," he said of his players.

Irish Independent

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