Monday 11 December 2017

Gates are open to all at proud, welcoming outpost

Currently celebrating its 90th anniversary, Carrick-on-Suir RFC has drawn from the best of local rugby-playing talent from the borderlands of south Tipperary, north Waterford and south Kilkenny for nine proud decades.

A rugby club existed within the environs of these sports-mad townlands on the Munster/Leinster frontier dating back to the mid-19th century but records date the current club's formation to the year following the establishment of the Free State.

In fact, the club arose from the embers of the dissolved cricket club in Carrickbeg, with a team representing the town divided by the Suir playing all over Munster and Leinster into the 1930s and early '40s.

Three-quarters of a century ago, the club's playing ranks included men from Carrick Mor and Carrickbeg, as well as neighbouring Ballyneale and the villages of Portlaw and Kilmacthomas in Co Waterford.

Since then, many more boys and men from these townlands have worn the red and blue hoops of Carrick-on-Suir RFC with great distinction, along with players native to Mooncoin, Fiddown and Piltown in south Kilkenny, Grangemockler, Kilsheelan and Clonmel, as well as from further afield in eastern Europe and New Zealand.

However, the escalation of World War II in 1941/42, which led to further rationing by the De Valera government, forced the club off the road and into dissolution.

Some 15 years would pass before the club was reformed, and the club has remained an active member of the Munster Junior League ever since.

The club has played its rugby in Tybroughney, just outside Carrick, since 1977, following the acquisition of a 17-acre site, which now features two pitches, one floodlit, and a recently expanded clubhouse.

The club's First XV, captained this season by the long-serving David Kiersey, kick off their J3 campaign with a trip to Douglas on Sunday, October 13, a traditionally difficult fixture.

But Kiersey, who has made a top-class effort on and off the training paddock since assuming the armband this summer, is hopeful that the team will front up against the Cork city side.

"We've had a savage level of commitment from the lads in pre-season," he said. "The one thing I was adamant about when I accepted the captaincy was that each and every one of us pulling on that jersey come October 13 would be as physically prepared as possible for the season.

"Last season was a disappointment for the club, for the players that put in the slog from one end of the campaign to the other and for the committee, which does a lot of work to keep the club in as healthy a condition as possible off the pitch.

"We've put in a lot of hard yards in pre-season. The lads have been fitting in individual sessions between collective training and I've been really encouraged by the level of commitment we've had ahead of the new season. None of us want to be in J3 – that's not where we want to be playing.

"It's a relatively short season; every point, be it for a fourth try or a losing bonus, could be the difference between promotion and frustration. The only way has to be up."

The club's numbers have increased significantly since 2010, when Carrick founded its girls/ladies playing division. And what a success that has proven.

"We signed on seven new players within the past week, which is just fantastic" said club committee member Sarah Moore (086-165 8580).

"After two rounds of this season's Munster Sevens Blitz, our U-18s are undefeated and have played some brilliant rugby already – no less than six of the team have been sent forward for Munster trials already.

"We've also just founded our U-15 team, who were in action in Bandon last weekend, all of which is enormously encouraging."

The club fields boys' teams at U-14, U-16 and U-18 levels, vital years in the development of players with a view to their progression into first XV ranks.

Carrick RFC's Mini Rugby campaign (for ages six to 12) got under way on September 15, and with more than 100 children attending training with their IRFU-trained coaches, the club's future talent is in great hands.

"All you need is a little motivation, a pair of boots and a gumshield," said mini rugby officer Donal Moriarty (087-9735721).

"To see both pitches full of children enjoying themselves on Sundays at Tybroughney from 10.30 is some sight. Our gates are open to one and all."

Carrick-on-Suir RFC is a proud club, a friendly club, a welcoming club and they would love to see you at Tybroughney.

For further information, contact PRO Dermot Keyes on 087-6413906.

Irish Independent

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