The Kieran Burke Perpetual Trophy, which takes place this Sunday in Kirwan Park, Kilternan was set up in honour of one of our most enthusiastic players and a Leinster mascot, Kieran Burke, who died of leukaemia in January 2004, aged six.
The event was devised by DLSP and first held in January 2005. Since then it has grown into the largest Irish rugby event for the U7 age group. Last year more than 1,000 children attended the event, which was won by Lansdowne (U6s) and Old Belvedere (U7s).
More than 1,000 children are expected to participate in this year's revised festival format. The tournament is a completely non-profit event, with the purpose of promoting mini rugby within the Leinster clubs. Excess proceeds and donations given on the day go to the Children's Cancer Fund at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin.
The concept behind the event is to enable this age group to compete in a safe event and in a sporting environment suitable for their stage of development.
As anyone involved in coaching our youngest sporting enthusiasts will appreciate, getting them running in the right direction and staying between the lines is often a breakthrough for the coaches at this age level.
They also love the build-up and participation in such an event. But there was no suitable event prior to the Kieran Burke. It is a great chance for the teams to show their skills, and is also important as it gets coaches networking, leading to future fixtures for the young players.
The event attracts a large crowd of players, coaches, support teams and parents. There is an enthusiastic group of volunteers who support with administration, facilities, health and safety and catering to make sure the event runs successfully.
A total of 23 clubs have already registered to participate at the event, which takes place at DLSP FC, Kilternan, Co Dublin on Sunday at 10am.