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Rain can't dampen Fingal blitz fervour

Despite atrocious wet and windy weather, Malahide RFC recently hosted a Fingal County Council/ Leinster Rugby schools blitz for first/second-year students from five Fingal schools. The event was a huge success with more than 150 youths participating including Ardee Community College.

Although conditions were difficult, the skills on show, with each squad member seeing game time, were evident, although it was their adherence to the game's ethos that most impressed Gerry McCleery, Fingal community coaching officer.

He said: "Ground conditions were very muddy and we had safety concerns, but what stood out for me was the respect the players showed for each other in the contact area with an emphasis on textbook tackling and endeavouring to stay on their feet at rucks."

The Fingal schools were Hartstown Community School and community colleges from Castleknock, Portmarnock, Ardgillan and Malahide, the latter providing two full teams, which is encouraging for the future of Malahide rugby.

After the event, and the customary handing out of Leinster Rugby goodies, Mr McCleery was keen to thank Brendan Carpenter, Malahide community rugby officer, who handled the arrangements for the event, and the teachers whose attendance facilitated the students' participation.

Special thanks went to Eoghan Sterritt, a transition year student from Hartstown Community School who was on work study with Leinster Rugby and was pressed into action as a pitch liaison officer at the event – a very soggy role on this windswept day.

Fingal County Council/Leinster Rugby intend to run similar events in coming months at U14, U16 and U18 level. Schools interested in contact rugby or blitzes should email ger.mccleery@leinsterrugby.ie.