Club Focus - Clonmel RFC
Underage policies to help keep club focused for future
Founded in 1892, Clonmel RFC is one of the oldest clubs in Ireland and has made a huge contribution to the sporting and cultural development of Clonmel town down through the years.
Operating today from the fringes of the town centre, the Ard Gaoithe ground boasts three playing pitches, a training pitch, all-weather pitches available for hire, a modern seated patrons' stand, dressing-rooms, gymnasium and a friendly, inviting club house.
As the major population centre in Tipperary, Clonmel's rugby club has served the rugby interests of the locality well over the years. From a progressive local scene, through the Munster ranks, up to international levels, players and supporters alike have been part of the fabric of rugby in Ireland since the establishment of the club.
The adage 'from small acorns mighty oak trees grow' certainly springs to mind on any given Saturday morning in the club when no less than six mini teams from U-7 right up to U-12 can be seen in full flight either training, playing or 'blitzing' right across the grounds.
It is a testament, not only to the 'young warriors' and their parents, but also to the coaches that clonmel has such a vibrant underage scene. This is a huge focus for the club as it helps provide a development and feeder system for the older teams.
Clonmel RFC fields teams at U-14, U-16, and U-18 levels and they work very closely with the local schools to ensure complementary activities and itineraries for the mutual benefit of school and club alike. This has been a very successful strategy and one the club will continue to foster.
The club's three senior teams -- two men's and a ladies -- perform well in their respective divisions and this season former Munster and Ireland player Denis Leamy has led from the front as Clonmel head coach.
"Denis has brought with him a vigour and professionalism that has allowed us build on the solid foundations already in place," said club PRO Paul Condon.
"Our 1st XV, captained this year by Michael Sheehan, play in Division 1 of the Munster Junior League and after six games of the campaign completed to date, we currently lie in fourth place in the table with five wins from six under our belts.
"The coaching ethos of Denis is one of setting the bar high for the teams and the players are responding. The programme is very much a multi-year one and doing the right things well and positioning ourselves to challenge for silverware in the future."
With the high profile attached to the phenomenal successes of women's rugby in Ireland, this year the Clonmel ladies team is back on track after a few dormant years. Playing in the women's development league, recent wins over St Senan's and Waterford City have given a boost to the team, who are very much a mix of new players and a few seasoned campaigners.
"We are fortunate to be able to periodically call on the support of former club player and Munster and Ireland full-back Niamh Briggs. Having recently been voted Rugby Writers Women's Player of the Year for 2013, Niamh is a fantastic role model for our players, female and male alike, and we are grateful for her ongoing support," said Condon.
Commenting on the upcoming Munster inter-provincial fixture against Ulster on December 8 next at Clonmel RFC, Condon said the club are proud to be staging the event again.
"Last year we played host to a game between Munster and the Irish Exiles, so this year we are delighted to welcome back the inter-provincial title holders Munster and their visitors Ulster to what should be a very special occasion for the provinces and Clonmel alike."
In terms of club growth and facilities Condon says Clonmel are grateful to their sponsors for their continuous support in what are very challenging financial times for most clubs in the country.
"As is the case with most clubs, our activities and development are closely linked to the partnership arrangements we have with our various sponsors.
"This year we would like to thank, in particular, our main club sponsor Clonmel Waste Disposal Ltd for their support and all our other sponsors for their ongoing commitment to the club and development of rugby in the region."
Clonmel RFC Officers
President: John Connery
Hon. Secretary: Tom Fennessy
Club PRO: Paul Condon
Fixtures Secretary: Alan Normile
Youth Officer: William O'Gorman