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NUIM BARNHALL

The Ulster Bank League returns to the National University of Ireland, Maynooth this Saturday when NUIM Barnhall take on league newcomers Armagh.

It is the second All Ireland league game to be hosted on the campus after Instonians visited in the final game of last season. The venue was a happy hunting ground for the hosts that day when they overcame the table toppers 19-12, which cost the Northerners the title while the Belfast club were still promoted with the losing bonus point they earned on the day.

NUIM Barnhall go into the game on the back of a hard fought 21-18 victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Nenagh Ormond in the last round. The scores were level going into injury time after tries from Barry Dunne and Michael Brown, before hero of the hour Simon Gillespie kept his nerve to land a difficult penalty to earn all four points for the Blue Bulls. It is sure to be a very competitive game with Armagh showing with their results to date that they are not in the league to make up the numbers.

The game is being hosted in conjunction with the university's open days on Friday and Saturday from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

This year the club was shaken by the untimely death of our past president and long-time committee activist Frank Cullen. Frank had poured an enormous amount of energy into the club both as a player, captain of a number of teams for many years and as a marketing director for about 10 years. His passing at the age of 53 was the catalyst for the club to realise that we needed to put some form of remembrance tribute to all of our deceased members and friends in place in the club grounds. The executive moved quickly and it was decided to build a memorial garden beside the clubhouse and to place a seating area around an oak tree as a focal point for anyone to go and reflect on better times with our loved ones.

At this year's remembrance, which took place on November 17th, we officially opened the garden at a ceremony which was led by Fr Liam McNamara of Leixlip and Rev Scott Peoples of Celbridge. David Cullen, brother of the late Frank Cullen, officially opened the garden and commented to the gathering of over 100 people that the gesture by the club was an affirmation that NUIM Barnhall is a family club and that opening a remembrance area would be appreciated by members and friends for many years.

ST MARY'S

It's a cold Monday evening and Templeville Road is lit up like Christmas. There's a big crowd for St Mary's J1 floodlight game versus Old Belvedere and as usual Philip Brophy is among the faces to be found. All around him are fellow team-mates, carrying on the tradition of supporting the club, but you wouldn't be surprised if inside "Brophs" was just itching to play as he watched the contest unfold. This spectator was born to compete on the sports field.

Some people view the AIL as an afterthought. A third tier below the Leinster team and the Academy structures. Long gone are the days of big crowds and big name players. But a lack of big numbers or contracted names doesn't necessarily mean a lack of quality or indeed professional rugby's attritional nature. "Dislocated collarbone, broken thumbs, pulled hamstrings, hip joint." At age 27, marks of a rugby player, playing serious rugby. As Philip Brophy lists the injuries he receives, you can't help but be struck by what these guys go through, all for the love of the amateur game. "Injuries are a part of rugby, top to bottom. We're looked after really well but rugby is, by its nature, a physical game. I've actually been very lucky in a sense. This club has lost some great players through injuries over the years" he says.

"I'm focused on St Mary's and enjoy the life as an AIL player. Sure it can be tough for us to mix work and training nearly four days a week but why would we complain. It keeps us fit and healthy and we make friends for life.

"I've played for the AIL Ireland side in 2009 and that was a great reward and that will do me just fine."

With Mary's having won their last league game, Brophy is confident for the season. "We've been unlucky in the past. We're doing ok this season and the aim like any team is to win it. That's why everyone, the coaches, officials, supporters and players work so hard."

RATHDRUM

Rathdrum Ladies Rugby Team are excited to announce that they are starting up an Under-18 (16-18-year-olds) and Under-12 (10-12 year olds) team. The club will hold an open day for interested players to give it a go on Saturday, 26th November at the Ivy Leaf grounds from 2-4pm, with a BBQ afterwards. If you are interested come down and give it a go or get in contact with Pamela Maher at 086-2104877.

Check us out on Facebook under 'Drumettes.' Rathdrum Senior ladies finished their Leinster League fixtures last Sunday, in the Ivy Leaf grounds against Trinity. With Trinity recently demoted from division two and the Drumettes christening their new kit, a big game was anticipated all round.

Trinity opened the score board with an easily kicked penalty. Rathdrum knew more was expected. The Drumettes raised the tempo, and Anna O'Neill scored a try under the post, which Mo Dowling easily converted.

However, before the close of half-time Trinity scored under the posts. With an easy conversion achieved, the first half closed 7-10 to visitors. In the second half Rathdrum's hard work was rewarded with a try from Jenny Doyle, which Mo Dowling converted. The Drumettes would once again like to thank Mario and "Pineto Take Away", Rathdrum for sponsorship towards their new team kit.

ATHY

A Tag rugby blitz was held between the Gaelscoil of Athy and the Model School of Athy in October. The blitz was held on the new artificial surface shared by the two schools in the recently built schools on the Monasterevin Road, Athy. The blitz was run between the 5th and 6th classes of both schools and organised by Joe Carbery and Jim Short. Each team played 3 games -- 2 mixed games and then a boys v boys game and a girls v girls game. All participants enjoyed the contest and games were played in a very good spirit.

CARLOW

Fifth year girls from Presentation College Carlow played a tag rugby blitz against Gael Cholaiste Carlow last week. Teacher Karen Kavanagh said: "The girls thoroughly enjoyed it and it has been a major talking point in school." It is hoped that this will be the first of many games for the girls.

COOLMINE

Coolmine RFC have recently updated their website www.coolminerfc.com with lots of new pages and Information. Check out the newly revamped photos pages with up-to-date photos for both minis, senior and social pics. You can also view action from recent matches by clicking on the 'Live Action' button in the videos section or select a season tab for a comprehensive photo montage.

The new Business Directory page allows members to advertise their business and also gives members the option to support each other. The directions page has been modified to allow visitors to print off complete directions to their clubhouse from their chosen departure point. And finally, you can keep up to date with all the senior and youths teams results and league position by clicking on the appropriate links near the bottom of the page.

TERENURE

Craig Kolarik, Leinster Rugby CCRO for Terenure RFC, held a Tag blitz in St Joseph's BNS in Terenure. It was a memorable day with two classes -- 5th and 6th class -- showcasing the skills that they have learned in the last few weeks.

Both classes had over 30 boys, which meant that there were four teams per class; all equal to each other and it was a lot of fun! The boys have enjoyed playing rugby and asked if it was the last they were doing of it. The team that won the blitz played very well and were unbeaten for the day.

For further information on playing rugby in the Terenure area, please contact Craig Kolarik on craig.kolarik@gmail.com

ARKLOW

After spending a morning with Barney Heinz, CCRO Arklow it is easy to see how he is a great success with teachers and children alike. Barney played all his rugby with Arklow RFC and he has won many competitions including a towns cup medal.

If he was not employed by Leinster Branch he would still be putting the same effort and enthusiasm into the club. Both Barney's sons are playing with Arklow with Ross having represented Leinster Youths this year as scrum-half.

The CCRO scheme is thriving in Arklow because of the hard work being done by Barney and club representatives who decided a change was needed and employed from within the club. Arklow are looking forward to establishing all teams, both age grade and seniors, in the hope of bringing Arklow back to the level they once were.

The level of success by the scheme is reflected in the increased numbers of minis at the club which has risen from 40 to 120 with a new Under-12s girls team this year. This trend continues throughout the age groups.

Barney would like to thank the following schools and teachers for their support in making the CCRO role enjoyable and productive: An Inbhir Mor -- Paidi Flavin, St Joseph -- Margo Hughes, Careysfort NS -- Janette Nuzum, St Peter's -- Bernie Melia, Secondary School St Mary's -- Sister Sior Cosgrave, CBS Arklow -- Peter Somers, Arklow Community School -- Noreen O'Reilly, Gael Colaiste Na Mara -- Peter Murphy.


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