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Jackman supports DCU Awards

A day of celebration was held on October 14 to mark the 21st anniversary of the DCU Access Service, which began in 1990 with just six students and which has since grown to 500 students in the college today.

The day began with a Festival of Learning; guest speakers included Mary Liz Trant of the National Access Office, John Lyons Labour TD, Matt Cooper, broadcaster with Today FM, and then Presidential candidate Mary Davis.

In the afternoon, the annual 'Achievement Awards' were held and teachers and guidance counsellors from our 24 link schools in the north Dublin area were invited to nominate students in one of five categories -- Academic, Sport, Arts and Culture, Community Spirit and Special Nomination.

In all, 385 students were nominated in total and were invited to this celebration of their success along with parents and family members. Each student received a certificate of recognition which was presented to them by the President of DCU. To celebrate the 21st anniversary of the service, an additional 'Outstanding Achievement' award was presented to students who were nominated by their schools as being particularly exceptional in each of the categories.

In the Sport category, the runners-up were Craig Guerin from Grange Community College and Nikita Duggan from Pobalscoil Rosmini. Overall winner was Tomás Hanifin from Coláiste éanna. Presentations were made by Bernard Jackman (former Leinster and Ireland hooker), Philly McMahon (All-Ireland-winning member of the Dublin team) and Jack Hanratty (former rugby coach at DCU and current Leinster Rugby Community Rugby Officer), who is pictured with Nikita Duggan (above).

Blitz boom in Ballymun schools

Over the past week, two national school blitzes took place in Ballymun -- and with around 300 children involved, it's clear to see that rugby is certainly on the up in the area.

There were some wonderful skills on display from all the teams taking part, these included Our Lady of Victories Boys, St Joseph's, Holy Spirit Boys and Our Lady of Victories Girls. The blitz was held in Trinity Comprehensive and big thanks have to go to Paddy O'Reilly and the rest of the staff there for the excellent facilities.

On hand to help over the week were Finglas/Glasnevin CCRO Billy Phelan, Clontarf CCRO Stephen Maher and the CRO for Dublin City Council, Jack Hanratty, along with some of the rugby team from Trinity Comprehensive.

The blitzes were a great success and a fantastic way to finish off the coaching block in those schools, which were very accommodating with their time over the past seven weeks. The CRO for the Ballymun area, Colm Finnegan, thinks that it could be an indication of big things to come for rugby in the area. "The World Cup certainly has seemed to have spiked the interest of rugby in the area and all of the children have really got into it over the six weeks of coaching," he said.

Anyone with questions regarding rugby in Ballymun can contact Colm on 087-7692257 or email cfinny1@yahoo.co.uk.

Batterstown kids take to tag

The students of Rathregan National School in Batterstown, Co Meath, have recently been taking part in the IRFU 'Play Rugby' Programme. Boys and girls -- from third to sixth class tag.

The programme was a great success due to the enthusiasm of all the children, encouraged by their teachers. There has been a real improvement in all of their skills and abilities during their time with the Ratoath Rugby CCRO, Darren Kenna.

A blitz is due to take place in the next week, allowing some students to compete against other local schools who are also participating in or have previously completed the programme.

Should your school like to get involved with the Play Rugby programme, please contact your local Community Rugby Officer.

Play packs punch in Donacarney

The girls of Réalt na Mara Girls National School, Donacarney, Co Meath, received their 'Play Rugby' pack from the Leinster Branch on Friday last.

The pack was given to the school as they had completed four weeks of tag rugby with Boyne CCRO James Fay.

The school were delighted to receive their pack and had applied through the Meath Sports Partnership to get rugby coaching in the school.

The partnership works in connection with the Leinster Branch to provide the 'Play Rugby' pack and it is hoped that this will encourage more girls to pick up a rugby ball.

Coaches respond to Movement

TWENTY-FIVE Stage 3 mini rugby and youth coaches recently attended a General Movement seminar, delivered by Stephen Gore (Community Rugby Officer) and Dan van Zyl (Coach Development Officer), in Blackrock College RFC. It was delivered as an on-field practical session.