Saturday 19 January 2019

Leinster Club News: Province lends support to a great charity drive

Matchday mascots Jayden Moore-Connors (7)and Nicholas Holmes (10) with Isa Nacewa. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Matchday mascots Jayden Moore-Connors (7)and Nicholas Holmes (10) with Isa Nacewa. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile Sportsdesk

Debra Ireland is the only charity in the country that provides hope and support to all patients and their families living with epidermolysis bullosa (EB) and as one of Leinster Rugby's two charity partners, last Saturday's game against Montpellier was their match day takeover and as part of that Leinster Rugby presented a mascot slot to Debra Ireland.

Jayden Moore-Connors was that mascot and when he stepped out with the Leinster Rugby captain Isa Nacewa he was honouring his sister Casey and all those living with EB.

Casey is only five years old. She was born with EB, a rare genetic skin condition that makes her skin extremely delicate. Her skin is as fragile as a butterfly's wing and can be just as easily damaged.

On a daily basis, her body is at war with itself and she is blistered and wounded from head to toe.

She is wrapped in bandages that have to be changed every second day in an excruciating routine that can take up to four hours. What is even more heart-breaking is that underneath her bandages the same wounds are occurring internally.

Standing on the field cheering Jayden and Leinster was his Mum Rachel, Dad Alan, his Granny and Grandad and Casey.

Suttonians RFC’s ‘Kick Start Blitz’
Suttonians RFC’s ‘Kick Start Blitz’

This year DEBRA Ireland is asking people to join in the butterfly effect, starting with Leinster fans at last Saturday's game and stretching right across the province and indeed the country in particular for Debra Ireland's National EB Awareness Week which takes place from Monday, October 23.

"We are so grateful for the incredible support we have received from Leinster Rugby and the Blue Army over the last year," said Judith Gilsenan of Debra Ireland.

"Their support means so much to all those living with EB. Because EB is rare, fewer people have heard of it.

"We want to create a butterfly effect where small gestures can have larger effects.

Anyone wishing to support Debra Ireland during their EB Awareness Week is asked to text BUTTERFLY to 50300 to donate €4.Debra Ireland will receive a minimum of €3.25 from every donation.

200 kids take to game in fun blitz

Station Road was very busy recently with the hustle and bustle of sixth-class pupils from various schools in the area making their way to a Kick Start Blitz hosted by Suttonians RFC.

More than 200 boys and girls participated in the event which was managed by Fingal CCROs whose enthusiasm and experience help provide the necessary tools for a fun, fast, and fair game of tag rugby.

Suttonians CCRO Aidan Kearney provides schools the opportunity to avail of a game-based approach to tag rugby over one term.

It is a fun way of learning the basic skills that can be used in almost all sports & it's a great excuse to get our youth of today fit by having fun.

Rugby in Suttonians is growing but is always welcoming new members to its rugby family.

Our minis train on Sundays from 10-11am and begin at U-6, with our youths section training from 11.30-1pm. For more details visit

Contact for more information on getting rugby in your school or email our club administrator for any information about rugby in Suttonians RFC.

Sharkey: 'No other sport comes close'

Jonathan Sharkey, Club Community Rugby Officer (CCRO), has been with Coolmine RFC for two years.

As part of his role, Jonathan not only works within the club, but covers six national and three secondary schools in the area, working with and supporting the programmes run by Fingal County Council.

Jonathan tells us about his typical day as CCRO: "On the road and into schools; hearing laughter, seeing different abilities and sharing in the joy when a player masters something they felt they could not achieve. I really enjoy working with other excellent coaches and learning while sharing. Then I go back to the club for more coaching with the underage groups."

When asked for his favourite player, Jonathan says has no hesitation in picking Munster legend Keith Wood. "He was just an immense man on and off the pitch. He played a game of rugby that was ahead of its time. There was nothing he could not do."

Jonathan talks about his love for the game and the best part of his role: "I really enjoy being outdoors even when it's raining and cold watching players better themselves. No other sport comes close to the memories I have gained from rugby, both playing and now coaching."

Jonathan says the best part of his job is meeting and working with a variety of people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Irish Independent

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