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Roscrea coach Stone laying foundations for rugby in midlands

CCRO making impact on Tipp-Offaly border, writes Brian Lowry

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Ger Stone

Ger Stone

Ger Stone

There are staunch club men and then there is Ger Stone.

Based on the Tipperary and Offaly border, Roscrea RFC are a unique club and their CCRO (Club Community Rugby Officer) epitomises the club's values.

In Stone's normal sporting week he captains the senior team who are currently in contention for the Championship and promotion in the Leinster League Division 3.

However, it could be said, that his most important role takes place in the local primary and secondary schools he visits each week in the surrounding catchment area of the club.

He has taken on the task of showcasing and bringing rugby to a wider and younger audience. During these sessions in various schools, the virtues of the sport of rugby are taught in the form of games and fun activities. All age groups, girls and boys are included and catered for.

One of the most significant beneficial elements of Stone's work is the notable rise in children taking up the sport.

The schools themselves have seen a direct improvement in the well-being of the students.

As part of the programme, an inter-schools tag rugby blitz was held at Roscrea Rugby Club.

A girls-only tag blitz is planned and it is hoped that this will help promote the women's game at the club, an area which has experienced a strong revival in recent years.

In addition to this local community activities, Stone works with Leinster CRO Patsy Gorman in providing a pathway for current club coaches to upskill and develop their techniques by attending Leinster workshops and seminars.

It is widely accepted that playing any sport is beneficial to a child's health, confidence, mental strength, resilience and physical development.

Team sport has the added benefit of improving a child's social skills and gives them the uplifting feeling of being part of a close-knit team who train and play together.

The support of the club is also vital and it is far from a one-man show despite there being no doubt that Stone is leading the way in underage development.

For parents raising children, life can sometimes seem like a bit of a minefield, constantly trying to balance children's activities in terms of what they want to do and what is beneficial and rewarding.

This is where sport can be a perfect antidote to so many of the potential problematic aspects of growing up.

Stone and the coaching team at Roscrea RFC focus on providing a friendly and fun environment for learning and perfecting the basics of the sport.

Every Sunday morning all minis groups train at the club where coaches dedicated to each age grade develop the player's skills using fun games to teach the rules of rugby.

As players get older, they join the various youth teams and a more focused skill-based training develops with an emphasis on the importance of team work and technique.

New players are always welcomed at any time of year. Parents of all age groups are actively encouraged to stay and watch their child's development in training.

Furthermore, the club is always looking for parents of players to get involved in coaching and helping out behind the scenes and join the Roscrea rugby family.

Irish Independent