| 5.8°C Dublin

Rookie Dubs fast learners

MONTHS of planning between Leinster Rugby, the IRFU, Dublin City Council (DCC) and the ERC culminated in a wonderful day of events, in both Irishtown Stadium and the back pitch at the Aviva Stadium.

The pitch in the shadow of the national stadium was the setting for a match which pitted players from St Michael's College against The Dublinia XV, a team made up of under-15s for the Dublin City Council region.

Most of the players for the Dublinia XV are from non-traditional rugby playing areas, had never played a rugby match before and only came together to train in the last six weeks.

The players, from areas such as Finglas, Ballymun, Darndale, Artane, Crumlin, Thomas Street, Oliver Bond Street, James Street and Weston Row among others, have been coached over the last six weeks by community rugby officers. The increase in their skill levels and abilities has been marked.

The match was a fantastic spectacle of running rugby with the Dublinia XV putting it up to a well-coached St Michael's squad, with both teams scoring excellent tries. Watching Leinster player Eoin Reddan was effusive in his praise of both teams and was particularly impressed with the players from the DCC region.

The project was put together as part of the legacy of the European finals in Dublin and one of the co-ordinators Billy Phelan, community rugby officer for the DCC region, was delighted with the results.

"Though this is the culmination of a project that has been ongoing for a long time. These players have only been a team for a short time and to see how far they've come in that time is fantastic. They have really taken the ethos of rugby to heart."

St Michael's were the first recipients of the Dublin 2013 Cup, which will be contested annually, and it is hoped this will encourage further players from non-traditional areas to take up the sport. Massive thanks have to go to all the stakeholders for their help and in particular to all the DCC sports officers, youth leaders and teachers who ensured all the players were transported to sessions and games.