Saturday 20 January 2018

Moloney a worthy award winner for tireless work with Abbeyfeale girls' and women's sections

John Moloney of Abbeyfeale RFC has been awarded the Volunteer Recognition Award for the 2013-14 season
John Moloney of Abbeyfeale RFC has been awarded the Volunteer Recognition Award for the 2013-14 season

Our latest Volunteer Recognition Award for the 2013-14 season goes to John Moloney of Abbeyfeale RFC.

John wins the award on the back of his outstanding contribution to girls' and women's rugby in Munster.

As a youngster, John dabbled in rugby, but his playing career was cut short by a shoulder injury.

It is off the field, though, that John's influence has been to the fore in his ongoing development of girls' and women's rugby.

Six years ago, John took it on himself to try and establish girls' rugby in Abbeyfeale and kicked it all off by forming an U-15 team.

The Convent School in Abbeyfeale was his first stop and once he was under way, John spread his network to other schools in the locality.

As is his way, John insisted on mentioning the fantastic support he received from the late Sarah McGarry, who was then a PE teacher in Colaiste Ide agus Iosef.

At this stage John had been well and truly bitten by the coaching bug and he undertook his coaching certification to ensure he was delivering the right information and techniques to the girls.

By the following season the girls' section had expanded to U-15 and U-18 teams, but John wasn't happy to stop there and, in conjunction with Munster women's community rugby officer Amanda Greensmith, the next step was establishing a women's team.

This was duly achieved and they currently sit on top of the table in the Munster League Group B.

A regular week for John would see him coaching the women's side on two evenings, while also lending a hand with the underage work by coaching the U-15 girls one night a week. He also gives advice and technical assistance to other club teams as required.

His influence isn't confined to coaching, however, as John is also a qualified referee, a certified First Aider, and he also organises all of the fixtures at both levels.

John has also helped to raise funds for the women's and girls' teams.

He also contributed to the Marie Keating Foundation by organising a match between the Abbeyfeale and Tralee women's teams.

Hannah Broderick, head coach of the girls' underage section at Abbeyfeale, has described John's input as invaluable.

"Without him, the club would have no women's or girls' teams to raise the profile of the club," she said.

"To this day he continues to encourage and motivate more girls into trying rugby.

"When I started playing rugby three years ago, he encouraged me to become a coach and I have now progressed to becoming head coach of the underage.

"Without him the club would not have had players representing Munster at underage level over the past few years, which is a great boost to the club as young players can now see what can be achieved if you apply yourself under John's guidance.

"The women's and girls' teams have become a very big part of the club and without John's tireless dedication the teams would not be recognised for their achievements today."

Today Abbeyfeale field girls' teams at U-13, U-15, U-18 and a women's squad of 25 players.

Munster Rugby is delighted to congratulate John as a most deserving winner of our Volunteer Recognition Award.

Irish Independent

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