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'My goal is to give every kid a chance to play rugby'

Club Community rugby officers - in focus: Corey Carty, Wexford Wanderers

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Tadhg Furlong, proud son of Wexford, in action at the weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

Tadhg Furlong, proud son of Wexford, in action at the weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Tadhg Furlong, proud son of Wexford, in action at the weekend. Photo: Sportsfile

Down through the years, the county of Wexford has produced numerous top-quality players who have gone on to play provincial and international rugby.

Gordon D'Arcy and Tadhg Furlong are prime examples of the production line but what about the next generation?

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The Selsker schools squad

The Selsker schools squad

All over the province, club community Rugby officers (CCROs) are on the ground ensuring that players from all pockets of the 12-County province are being exposed to rugby and given the chance to excel at it.

Wexford is no different and on the ground in Wexford town is Corey Carty, a man who lives for the game.

The Wexford town CCRO is embedded in the game and along with playing and coaching at adult level, he is also working with the clubs and schools to help develop the future stars.

A key player for Wexford Wanderers' first team, he is helping to develop a rugby culture in all of the primary and secondary schools in the Wexford town area.

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Corey Carty (back left) in his role as coach of Carlow IT

Corey Carty (back left) in his role as coach of Carlow IT

If all that wasn't enough, he is also the head coach with the IT Carlow men's rugby team, assistant coach for the South East development squad and video analyst for Enniscorthy RFC.

Last April, he represented Leinster at junior level, playing against Munster, Connacht and Ulster to win the Interprovincial series.

He has a lot on his plate but wouldn't have it any other way.

His love for the job feeds down to the delivery of his coaching and influence on to the young kids in the Wexford town area. His brief is a big one. With over 20 schools in his area, his club and his development squad commitments, it's a good job he loves his job.

From coaching on the ground in schools, organising camps and promotions, he does it all and has recently just returned the Pro14 and Champions Cup trophies after bringing them on an extensive tour of the schools and clubs in his catchment area.

Later this year, he will be six years employed by Leinster Rugby. A native of Wexford, he had a bit of travelling to do before landing his current role.

Back in 2013, he was the CCRO officer for West Offaly Lions, a club based in Ferbane, and after just under a year in that role, he moved on to become a regional development coach in the South East.

He still holds that position but in 2015 he was also given the title as the CCRO for Wexford Wanderers.

His role is clear. To develop rugby programmes and foster a rugby-playing culture in schools and the County Council in the catchment area of Wexford Wanderers RFC.

Healthy

He works in partnership with these schools - at primary and especially secondary level - to develop all aspects of the game, whilst promoting rugby in a positive, safe and healthy manner and providing that link between the schools and the club in the area.

Along with just participation, there is also an emphasis on actively encouraging the participation of secondary schools in Schools Development Cups at Junior and Senior School level to ensure the kids get a taste of the competitive and team environment.

"At my level, it is more about getting them playing rugby and that is the biggest achievement. Selskar College have put out their first rugby team for the first time in years and they are through to the second round of the cup.

"Bridgetown Vocational College started up again this year after not having a team for years.

"The secondary schools would be competing in development cups and shields," explains Carty.

Wexford Wanderers have made massive strides over the years with two recent Irish call-ups for products of their underage system. Ironically, as Corey explains, neither played rugby in the school.

"Actually, it's funny, St Peter's College, which is a big GAA school in the town, they don't play rugby, but this year they have an Irish U-18 player in Josh O'Connor and Brian Deeney, who went to there as well, has recently been selected for the Irish U-20s. Both of those lads would have come from the Wexford Wanderers club."

In terms of goals and where he wants to improve and enhance the rugby experience, he pays particular attention to providing rugby to those with additional needs.

"I am hitting all my schools and my main goal is getting into as many schools in Wexford as possible and giving every kid in Wexford a chance to play rugby. In a lot of schools, I would probably be the kids' only interaction with rugby.

"Last summer we ran our first ever Summer Autistic Rugby camp for a week and that was a great success. I am hopeful in the next few years to have a disability rugby team in the club.

"There is one in New Ross and it is great."

The Leinster Junior Interpro winner also explains that Wexford Wanderers are hoping for an influx in players over the coming years due to a change in how soccer is run in the county but insists that the club will have to be ready for the challenge as well. "The soccer league down here is going from a winter sport to a summer sport so I am trying to prepare the club for the massive influx of players that are going to come in next winter.

"It will be a challenge to have the numbers in terms of coaching etc to deal with the increased numbers."

Irish Independent