Club Focus: Focus on underage has Carrick-on-Suir in shape
Community effort has been key to success of Carrick-on-Suir as they approach their centenary year
Despite being situated on the border of hurling strongholds Tipperary, Waterford and Kilkenny, there is evidence of a rugby club in the town of Carrick-on-Suir as far back as the 1800s.
The club in its current guise, Carrick-on-Suir RFC, was founded in 1923 when the local cricket club dissolved. Like the majority of rugby clubs in Ireland, the club disbanded at the time of World War II but in 1957, Carrick-on-Suir RFC got back up and running thanks to the efforts of Dr Paul O'Brien, Bud Galvin, Michael Cleary, Tom Cleary, Dick Cleary and RL Burke.
The club marked their revival with a match against a Thurles selection in October of '57 and approximately 500 people were in attendance to support the newly-reformed outfit.
In 2023, the club will celebrate its centenary, and, according to current president Donal Moriarty, there are plans afoot to celebrate that occasion with great gusto in association with another great event that could be coming our way.
"At the end of this term which is the end of May, we'll put together a six-year plan for the club and the reason it's a six-year plan is that it will bring us up to our centenary," says Moriarty.
"Also, fingers crossed, it will be a World Cup year and hopefully Ireland will be hosting the World Cup so we'll try and tie our centenary into that."
Due to their geographical location, Carrick-on-Suir RFC boast a wide catchment area with their playing pool comprising members from each of the neighbouring counties.
"Even though we play in the Munster leagues, most of our playing members are taken from Kilkenny, Waterford and Tipperary.
"We're an amalgamation of the three counties. Even though we're a Tipperary club playing in the Munster leagues, we have a very mixed clientele," remarks Moriarty who is in his first year as president of the club.
The club's minis section caters for players from U-6 to U-12 and they train on Sunday mornings at 10.30am. The club have girls teams at U-15 and U-18 level and they train on Wednesday and Friday evenings at 7pm, while the youth boys (U-14 and U-16) and the senior team train on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm.
All of this training takes place at the club's grounds in Tybroughney. The Tybroughney facility comprises two pitches, four dressing rooms and a gym. The club are aiming to start a girls-only team at minis level in order to continue their success in the ladies' game.
Many of Carrick's underage girls have represented Munster at U-18 level in the last few years and the success of the Irish Women's team in recent years contributes to the promotion of the sport among girls throughout the province and the country.
There are three GAA clubs in the town of Carrick-on-Suir with Carrick Swans, Carrick Davins and St Molleran's all located nearby so naturally many of the rugby club's players play GAA as well but Carrick-on-Suir RFC focus heavily on player recruitment by putting a big emphasis on advertising the club in the local schools.
"For the last couple of committees and this committee, the main focus has been on building the club through minis onto youths and onto the first team.
"We're doing that through lots of advertisement around the local schools and the local communities in the three counties and starting from last year, we have Munster coaches going into the local secondary schools to recruit players.
"It's ongoing and it has proved to be successful. It's a long-term thing and it will be part of our six-year plan."
Eddie Barry takes charge of the club's senior side who currently compete in the Munster Gleeson League B. Dermot Lanigan is the team's captain and their maiden win of the season came away to Waterford City back in October when Carrick came away from Waterford as 10-5 winners. The club will host fellow Tipperary club Clonmel tomorrow at 2.30pm and they will look to get one over on their near neighbours.
Volunteers are the cornerstone of all rugby clubs in Ireland and Carrick-on-Suir boast a hard-working group of members. Moriarty is quick to praise the club's committee and coaches who ensure the club are on a solid foundation.
"We have a very good committee in place. Also, we have our minis officer Emmet Lonergan, Andy Meaney is our youth officer and Eddie Barry is our first team Director of Rugby and they're all key roles in the club.
"Eddie's title is director of rugby but he's the head coach, backs coach, forwards coach and waterboy! He does great work. Those guys are the umbrella under which all the activity takes place.
"We're on a sound financial footing. Our treasurer Tony Musiol keeps everything well in order there. The last thing you need is to be strangled with debt."
The club put a major emphasis on fundraising and organise various events throughout the year. Like every small club, each euro raised is vital to the club's prospects for the season ahead, and Moriarty underlines the importance of the community's support.
"Our main fundraiser every year is our Cheltenham tournament which is run in March of every year. It brings in the bulk of our fundraising income. We also have a flag day in October of every year.
"Like a lot of the other clubs in the country, we're selling the Clubs of Ireland tickets which is an IRFU scheme. We're selling those tickets at the moment.
"We'd have a number of pub quizzes on during the year but the Cheltenham competition is our biggest fundraiser every year. The Comeragh Bar is our Cheltenham centre which is on the main street in Carrick."
Profile: Carrick-on-Suir RFC
Address: Tybroughney, Tibberaghny, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary
President: Donal Moriarty
Head coach: Eddie Barry
Captain: Dermot Lanigan