Tag rugby tournament to be staged

Clare Hares.
Clare Hares.

An international rugby event for young people with a learning disability will be held in Ballyclare next year.

The prestigious Wooden Spoon Tag Rugby Festival will take place at Ballyclare Rugby Football Club on Saturday, June 8th 2019.

The annual festival is sponsored by children’s rugby charity Wooden Spoon and is the largest event of its kind across the four home rugby nations.

Tag rugby is a non-contact version of the sport. A tackle is made by pulling a tag from an opponent, there are no scrums or line outs and the games are restarted by a simple pass from the ground. Tries are scored in the normal way.

Clare Hares is the disability section of Ballyclare RFC and is sponsored by WJ Blair, Green Thumb and Voy Vets.

The club’s enthusiastic local players will be joined by hundreds of young people from England, Scotland, Wales and across the four Irish provinces for the festival next year.

There will be two age categories – under 15-years-old and over 15-years-old. There is no upper age limit. Each age group is further divided into two sections based on degree of learning disability.

The emphasis is on fun and enjoyment for all players, coaches and volunteers.

There are currently 15 clubs with disability sections in Ulster - from Letterkenny in the north to Virginia in the south - and a further 24 clubs across Ireland. Ballyclare is the only one which is a partner club with Wooden Spoon.

Club volunteers are organising the Ballyclare event and over 100 volunteers will be needed on the day of the festival.

It is hoped that local schoolchildren will be among people willing to give up their time for this very worthwhile and fun event.

Moore Kennedy, founder and manager of Clare Hares, said: “It is a great honour for Ballyclare to be chosen as the hosts for the festival in 2019.

“We are very pleased to have been selected and intend to host the best Wooden Spoon festival ever.

“Invitations have already gone out to all clubs with a learning disability section. We will be urging clubs with only a small section or only starting up to come along and they will be combined with another small club to ensure as many players as possible experience the event.”

For more information on the festival, sponsorship or volunteering opportunities, contact Moore Kennedy on email moore.kennedy@btinternet.com or mobile 07808 582968.