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AS Edenderry RFC continue their 60th anniversary celebrations, Micil Glennon spoke to founding member Donie Crowe on his memories of the Offaly club's early years.

Speaking of his first memories of the club, the Edenderry stalwart said: "Billy Davy, Joe O'Toole, Jimmy Moore, Paddy Moore and myself met up one night in 1951 and talked about setting up a rugby club.

"The biggest operation was just to get enough people to play.

"When it came to playing matches against other clubs, the problem wasn't getting your place in the team -- but to get 15 people!

"I recollect travelling to play games with 13 or 14 and hoping you could borrow a player.

"It struggled along like that and began to take off after a few years.

"Myself, I lined-out between 1951 and 1956 but a car accident put an end to my playing career."

Back in the day, Edenderry found novel ways to make the numbers up.

"On occasion we had lads who didn't play under their own names because they happened to be county footballers as well and the Ban was in force," recalls Donie. "Dinny MacNamara played with us and he was a Meath footballer at the time."

The Co Offaly club were never short of a player or two to catch the eye.

"The late Ned Walker was a very good footballer," relates Donie, "and I remember one day -- up in Drogheda, I think it was -- he kicked a penalty from five yards inside his own half, which no one in the recent World Cup did.

"Charlie Owens was a great wing, a very speedy fellow."

And from the club's humble beginnings, Donie never imagined that they would come this far.

"I follow the fortunes of Edenderry but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that the club would come to what it is today," he said.

"You hear of these so-called 'geniuses' coming into areas to help clubs but there have been people from around Edenderry who have put everything into Edenderry Rugby Club, like James 'Strack' Gowan and Aidan Clarke who were fabulous supporters over the years.

"We played in a borrowed field for which we paid nothing.

"In my early days we washed in a cold tap in Nolan's yard and that was your shower.

"As for the modern operation of purchasing land out in Kishavanna and then extending it and then building a clubhouse, which is probably the best in provincial rugby I would say, the founding members didn't do any of that.

"We lit a match alright, but what they have done is unbelievable."

Pictured are: Leinster Coach Joe Schmidt making a presentation to Donie Crowe (founding member of Edenderry RFC).

Coolmine RFC requested the help of Fingal Community Coaching Officer, Gerry McCleery, to launch a pilot scheme aimed at giving transition year students an ability to coach at Mini Rugby level, and even work within the area's primary schools.

"Coolmine have quite a number of schools in their area and they hope that these young students, who all play for the club, will enable teachers to introduce the game to their pupils," explained McCleery.

The four students involved were taken through the progressions used in primary schools on the tag rugby programme, fitness for the young player, a module from the Leinster Branch Mini Coaching course and were also given a demonstration of some ball games and relays that can be used to improve children's skills and coordination. Coolmine are going to monitor the progress of the would-be coaches and if successful will develop the scheme next year.



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Meanwhile ... it's that time of the year again! The Coolmine RFC Annual Business Lunch will take place on Friday 9 December at Dunboyne Castle Hotel.

Festivities start off with Drinks reception from 1-2 pm, followed by an excellent five-course lunch with wine.

Guests will be entertained by fine speakers and can then retire to a private bar with music.

Due to current recessionary times, our price has been dropped -- but our standards have not! Table of 10 persons will cost €1,250, or €125 per individual.

Why not make this your Christmas outing and bring friends and colleagues to enjoy a great day? Start the Christmas season in style! As well as being a great social event, this is a very important fundraiser for the club.

Fundraising is getting tougher and the demands on money remain high!

If possible, please support this day..

Contact Pat-Ann Wood (086-8076677) for reservations or any further details.

Monkstown RFC, a club steeped in history in Dublin formed back in 1883, train and play at Sydney Parade close to the Dart station in Sandymount and have recently agreed on a new partnership with Dublin Business School.

Director of Rugby, Michael Davies said: "This is a fantastic relationship for Monkstown who do not yet have a direct relationship with a school, although our mini section of six to 13 year-olds is growing all the time.

"We have over 50 boys and girls playing for Monkstown Minis and we felt this opportunity with DBS created by the foresight and energy of Lucas, Fosi and Tony Peoples of DBS has now progressed to a point of formally agreeing a relationship for those students of an older age.

"This is just part of the development plan that the club has been striving to develop for our participatory rugby numbers which will hopefully lead to success at higher levels in our club."

This partnership will provide two Rugby Scholarships available between Monkstown FC and Dublin Business School for the season 2012/13 and will help develop rugby in the college as well as in town.

Davies added: "By providing this opportunity we feel that we can help support rugby at DBS as well creating a link for men and women to play rugby while they are at college.

"This is the first year we have women training and playing rugby, primarily tag and touch, but full contact is an ambition, if they wish to, and we hope to see the women player numbers increase."

Tony Peoples (Sports and Societies Development Officer of DBS) said: "I'm very excited about this partnership with Monkstown FC as it will offer new opportunities to our students and will also add to rugby's popularity in the area.

"Monkstown FC is one of the best run rugby clubs in the country and their commitment to be successful, matches what we are trying to achieve at DBS."

Pictured are: DBS CEO Gerry Muldowney, DBS/Monkstown Rugby club members Sean Fitzgerald and Liam Murray-Byrne and Monkstown Director of Rugby Michael Davies.

Monkstown FC and Dublin Business School have entered into a new phase in their respective club developments. DBS Rugby has been developed in recent seasons by Lucas O'Callaghan and Fosi Pala'amo and since their hard work last year in coaching DBS and creating its relationship with Monkstown a new formal partnership has been signed.

Aughrim RFC, one of Ireland's newest rugby clubs, is calling this week "a week of firsts" as they hold their first ever monster table quiz and on Saturday they hold their inaugural mini blitz.

Aughrim RFC will welcome both Tullow RFC and New Ross RFC to the event.

Aughrim RFC is only in business just over six months and has already gained 148 registered players from all over South County Wicklow.

For more information, check out the club website at aughrimrugby.ie.


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