Girls schools tag blitz a big success at Donnybrook
In the biggest Girls Schools event in the Leinster Rugby calendar, 180 girls from 12 secondary schools gathered in Donnybrook for the girls schools tag blitz.
New to participating in Leinster Rugby's girls scene were several Dublin schools, including Muckross, Coláiste Bhríde and Loreto on the Green, all of whom brought strong girls with experience in other sports such as Hockey and Gaelic football to give tag rugby a try.
The schools travelled from all across the province to Donnybrook Stadium try out the fabulous new '4G' pitches.
Catherine O'Hagan, teacher from Maynooth Post Primary School commented that the event was "A great opportunity for the girls to play on the new state of the art pitches, for their first blitz against so many other teams in a fun and social environment".
Mullingar had representation from Loreto and St Finians schools, and the blitz-style event again included two schools from last year's 'champion' town Tullamore, as the girls from Tullamore College and 2014 Cup winners Sacred Heart demonstrated impressive skill and pace.
As well as in Dublin, female rugby is also on the increase in the north of the province. New entries to this year's event were Drogheda Grammar and Loreto Balbriggan, who have been working hard to develop the girls, game with the help of their Community Rugby Officers, and support of local club Balbriggan RFC, whose new women's team were crowned Leinster Rugby's Development League Champions last weekend.
Ardee Community School, who last year brought a very young first-year team returned this year with older and more experienced players, several of whom have recently made the transition from tag to full contact rugby in Ardee RFC, coached by Leinster's Club Community Rugby Officer Liam Mullane.
The event was driven by Leinster Women,s Development Officer Jennie Bagnall and supported by the Leinster Community Rugby Department who visit schools and coach girls' tag and full contact rugby from September to April each year.
Jennie said: "This event is a fantastic conclusion to the work that the CCRO's do with girls in schools across the Province.
"With increasing interest in the game from the female population, this year has undoubtedly been our most successful in terms of youth development.
"The growth in the Club game has been huge in 2014-15, with over 20 new mini girls (U8/10/12s), and age grade (U15, U-18s) girls' teams being formed around the province in the last six months, as well as a huge increase in participation in full-contact rugby within all schools."
Later this week Leinster Rugby will be running their fifth girls' full contact Sevens blitz of the season, with over 10 schools expected to participate, with the culmination of the season being the Leinster Schoolgirls Sevens Cup at Donnybrook Stadium on April 24.
For any further information on Girls School or Female Club Rugby please email firstname.lastname@example.org.