KRFC Minis: A Season in Review
Another fantastic season complete:
by Liam Murphy – KRFC Minis Coordinator & PRO
Killarney RFC minis section have just finished up for the season and what a season it was! From starting back in early September last year, the minis have been very busy right across the season with new players coming in, new coaches coming in, many blitzes taking place and of course training occurring every Saturday morning. We have trained at Aghadoe as well as Knockreer and are happy to report that we only cancelled training on one occasion due to the inclement weather! Not that we had sunshine right across the season, but we were lucky with the weather we did have and thankfully there were far fewer storms than in previous seasons!
Our minis returned to action after the fine summer break on Saturday the 3rd of September at Aghadoe. Following a spell of poor weather, the weather thankfully improved early Saturday morning to allow for a great first session with lots of children coming along to training. Coaches put the children through their paces and it was very encouraging to see so many new faces within the coaching setup, as well as the more experienced coaches leading the way. We had a very strong turnout for the first day and we had lots of girls taking part in training from the get go. It was particularly encouraging to see so many kids enjoying rugby, many for the first time as Aghadoe was a hive of activity with parents enjoying the walking track and the cup of coffee in the clubhouse!
Munster Rugby Coaching Course:
Our coaches took part in the Munster Rugby Mini Rugby Coaching course at the Institute of Technology in Tralee on Friday and Saturday 30th of September and 01st of October. This courses was very informative and great fun to take part in. Coaches new and old took part in what was an excellent course and great fun was had by one and all. It was great to see the new coaches take part with gusto as we were put through our paces in both learning about and taking part in rucks, mauls, lineouts and scrums.
The kids can only benefit from this course as the coaches return to training with a wealth of new knowledge which will help the kids develop their potential Coaches new to coaching rugby will benefit greatly from the course and the more seasoned coaches thoroughly enjoyed the courses and always try to learn something new. This was the first year that this course took place in Kerry and with 10 coaches from Killarney taking part, it’s a fantastic credit to Killarney RFC and an investment in the minis for the future.
Registration Day treats:
Killarney RFC Minis held a hugely successful registration day at Aghadoe during the minis training session on Saturday the 15th of October. As an added treat, buns, croissants and baked goodies were given out along with teas and coffees in the clubhouse. The baked goods, from Petite Delice in Killarney, went down very well with all parents and kids!
Listowel Blitz in October:
Our Minis traveled en masse to Listowel to take part in the first round of the West Munster Blitz, on Saturday October 29th. Listowel hosted teams at U8 to u12 from Killarney RFC, Rugbai Chorcha Dhuibhne – Dingle and Iveragh RFC in Cahersiveen. We had huge numbers travel to North Kerry by bus and by car as we took to the road for a great day’s rugby. Listowel is always a very popular trip and this year was no exception.
Weather conditions were fantastic as each squad played between 3 and 4 matches. All the children were able to put into practise everything they had learned since the start of September and every single player played fantastic rugby on the day. The coaches at every age grade are very proud of their charges and how they played in Listowel as well as how they represented themselves and their club. Well done to all the kids who took part, and a huge thanks to the hugely supportive parents for travelling and to all the excellent coaches for their hard work. Also a huge thanks to Listowel Minis Coordinator Ornagh Ferris and her crew at Listowel RFC for the fantastic hospitality as always.
We host our first ever Minis Blitz:
Our minis section held an historic and hugely successful first ever blitz at Aghadoe, on Saturday the 26th of November. Weather conditions were absolutely perfect and the pitches were immaculate as we welcomed teams at U7 to U12 from Castleisland RFC, Iveragh RFC and Kenmare RFC. Over 200 children took part in matches where they got to show off the skills learned over the past few months to their eager parents on the sidelines.
A wonderful day of rugby was had by all and we had a proverbial mountain of food brought by the fantastic parents who also chipped in to help ensure they visiting clubs enjoyed the famed Killarney hospitality. This was a huge occasion for Killarney RFC to showcase our home in Agadoe and our club and we did not disappoint. Aghadoe was buzzing and it was a fantastic thing to witness so many people enjoying themselves. A huge thanks to everyone who helped, from parking stewards, to first aid, to helping with distributing food, stewarding and so on.
Thanks to our coordinator Liam Murphy for organising the day and his band of coaches who reffed and coached the kids and ensured they had a great day as well as helped set up the marquee and line the pitches. A fantastic effort by everyone ensured that the visiting clubs enjoyed the day and are looking forward to coming back to Aghadoe. Well done all involved for putting Ahadoe on theWest Munster Minis map!
On Saturday December 12th, Killarney RFC coaches Denise Treacy and Liam Murphy traveled to Listowel RFC with the girls from KRFC to take part in Listowel’s #giveitatry event. This event was designed to help develop girls rugby right across West Munster. We were delighted to be in a position to have girls from Killarney take part and get really stuck in. The mornings session consisted of a training session, some fun games and a match.
The Killarney girls were excellent and really enjoyed themselves, getting stuck in and showcasing their skills learned to date. It was great to have the girls play other girls teams and a fantastic day was had by all. We would like to say a huge thank you to Kieran O’Reilly and Chip from Listowel RFC for hosting us as well as the parents who drove over to Listowel on Saturday. We aim to host our own #giveitatry events for girls in the new season. #kerrygirlsplayrugby
Minis Christmas Party and raffle:
Our minis finished training on Saturday December 17th and took a very well earned rest for the Christmas break. We held our annual KRFC Minis Christmas party, on Sunday the 18th at the Killarney Avenue Hotel and a huge crowd turned out to welcome Santa and his Chief Elf, Jacob. Refreshments were provided by the hotel and a fantastic day of fun was had by children of all ages and their families. A huge thank you to the management and staff of the Killarney Avenue as always for their huge support with the Christmas party as well as to Santa for visiting making time in his busy schedule to visit us.
This year we decided to hold a raffle in the run up to the Christmas party, in aid of raising funds towards the purchase of a defibrillator for the club. We would like to thank the minis players who sold the lines and helped us to raise a whopping €870 in the process! Thanks also to the sponsors of the prizes – Seamus Kelly Topshop Milltown who provided the hamper for the first prize as well as Walsh Brothers, the Rose Hotel (Tralee), O’Donnell’s Bar (Tralee), Steve’s Barbers, O’Sullivan’s Pharmacy, Kennelly’s Pharmacy and KPR Ponyrides (Beaufort). A huge thanks also to Minis Coordinator Liam Murphy for organizing the raffle and party for the minis.
Following the well deserved Christmas festivities, our Minis returned to training on Saturday, the 14th of January. Our coaches attended a meeting of the West Munster Mini Coaches that was held at Tralee RFC Clubhouse the previous Saturday. This was a good get together of all the minis coaches across Kerry and a very valuable occasion for the coaches to meet outside of the blitzes. A very informative meeting was held and the kids can only benefit out of these get togethers where rules, blitzes etc are discussed.
The poor turn in the weather in January meant that the scheduled blitz in Killorglin was cancelled, while we moved to Knockreer to continue training. Where many clubs had to cancel training, we were able to train right across the season, only losing one session to inclement weather!
Killarney of the welcomes:
In February as the weather improved slightly, the kids continued to train and we welcomed other clubs to Killarney. First up, our Minis hosted Tralee RFC at Knockreer, in perfect if fresh playing conditions. Tralee brought teams from U8 to U12 and some serious rugby ensued with everyone getting some great game time ahead of the next round of the West Munster Blitz in Tralee. Tom Cronin and his coaches were well drilled and some fantastic flowing rugby ensued with Knockreer a hive of activity as the place was full of parents and families along to witness the fun.
On Saturday the 18th, our U8’s hosted their counterparts from Abbeyfeale RFC for some matches at Knockreer. This was a great occasion for our U8’s and a chance to play a club outside of West Munster.
Given the brutal weather the day before, it was a sight for sore eyes to see the sunshine make a very welcome appearance. Abbeyfeale brought some fantastic support with them and our U8’s really enjoyed the matches. Thanks to Minis Coordinator Dave Prenderville and his coaches for coming over to us and our own U8 coaches who ensure their charges had great fun on the day.
Thomond Park Trip for U8’s and Girls teams:
On Friday night the 24th of February we brought our U8’s players and girls players to Thomond Park to see Munster take on Scarlets in the PRO 12. Munster were looking to maintain their place at the top of the league, however Scarlets had other ideas. Almost 50 kids, coaches and parents watched Rassie’s men go ahead with three tries in the first half and it really looked like Munster would easily win the game.
However, 3 tries by the Scarlets in quick succession in the second half saw Munster lose 21-30. Everyone really enjoyed their trip as well as the stop at McDonalds after the game! Though it was late by time the bus rolled into Aghadoe, spirits were high and everyone had a fantastic trip to remember. Thanks to Minis Coordinator Liam Murphy for organising.
Tralee RFC host West Munster Blitz:
Then on Saturday 25th, our minis travelled to Tralee RFC to take part in the latest round of the West Munster Blitz series. We took on teams from Listowel RFC and Kenmare RFC as well as the hosts and fielded great numbers at all ages. Though the day was wet with a misty rain all around, the pitches were in good shape and some fantastic rugby was on display. Thanks to Tom Cronin and all the Tralee crew for organising and the fantastic hospitality on the day. Well done to everyone who took part.
Killarney host Listowel RFC at Knockreer:
On Saturday the 11th of March, our Minis hosted Listowel RFC at Knockreer on what was unarguably the finest day of the year. Knockreer was abuzz with kids, parents and coaches as we had teams from U7 to U12 play matches under glorious sunshine. History was made as we fielded our first girls team who played a girls team from Listowel – a first for Mini rugby in Kerry!
Some amazing rugby was on display by all the kids and minis coordinator Liam Murphy would especially like to thank the parents who brought food on the day and helped out in distributing the food to the players and parents. There was a proverbial mountain of food and it was really enjoyed by one and all after a wonderful morning of rugby. Well done to all the coaches who worked hard week in and week out and the hard work is really showing on the pitch as the kids play some wonderful rugby, really enjoyed themselves and represented their club with pride.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2017:
Our minis took part in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Killarney and had a fantastic time with all their friends. Even though the weather was very poor on the day, we had a fantastic turnout. Well done to everyone who marched with us and a huge thanks to Ian Harrington and the organising crew for all the hard work put in for the big day. This year’s theme was Many Clubs – One Club, which highlighted the diversity of Sport in the Killarney Area and that kids who playe rugby have their own GAA club backgrounds. Well done to the parade organisers for their hard work, which showed on the day as the streets were absolutely full and there was a fantastic festival feel around the town.
Pan Munster Blitz:
The Minis (U7 – U10 age groups) travelled back to Tralee RFC for the final blitz of the year – the Pan-West Munster Blitz, where we took on teams from 7 clubs right across Kerry. A fantastic day of rugby was enjoyed by everyone in glorious sunshine and Tralee pulled out all the stops to ensure a great day was had by everyone. On the day, our girls were delighted to enjoy a training session with the Tralee RFC ladies and were well looked after by coaches Hollie Ni Bhroin and Morna Dixon who included them in the promotional media photos for the upcoming Womens World Cup. The girls were buzzing leaving Tralee as they thoroughly enjoyed the session.
U11’s shine at Thomond Park:
Killarney RFC were thrilled to be selected to play at half time of the European Cup Semi Final sell out match at Thomond Park in April. There was much excitement as coaches Pat Chambers and Ger Sugrue took our U11’s to Thomond Park for the big Munster match, where the U11’s took on Castleisland at half time, ensuring wonderful memories were made for all who took part.
To play in Thomond Park is a dream for any child but to represent your club in front of 28,000 people was something else. The kids enjoyed the trip and the evening was finished off with dinner at the South Court hotel following the match. The lads even got to meet former Ireland and Leinster winger turned TV pundit Shane Horgan!
U11’s and U12’s enjoy Cork Trip:
On Saturday the 8th of April, in perfect playing weather Killarney RFC u11/12 took a road trip to Cork for a challenge match and a day of rugby and adventure. The opposition on the day was Cork club Sunday’s Well and Collins Barracks in Cork provided the stunning backdrop for an action packed afternoon of rugby. The games were played on the military pitch known as the ‘Camp Field’ which overlooks Cork city.
Killarney were very impressive and give Sunday’s Well a real demonstration of flowing rugby. After the wonderful flowing games of rugby both players and coaches availed of Lunch in Collins Barracks followed by a tour of the Barracks and equipment demonstration, which was enjoyedby everyone young and older alike. Ian Harrington the u11/12 head coach happens to be a Commandant in Collins Barracks had organised the day and wanted to give the players a day to remember.
This is Ian’s last year with mini rugby after 7 years coaching from U8 to U12. The minis section would like to thank Ian for all his hard work over the past 7 years. Minis Coordinator Liam Murphy adds: “Ian has been a fantastic coach and a fantastic help to me as coordinator and all in the minis section. He has selflessly given his time and effort in promotion the fun in rugby and championing a rugby for all ethos within the section. We wish him all the best and hope he stays involved in coaching at youths going forward”. Thanks a million Ian, for organising a fantastic day for all the U11/U12’s and thanks to coaches Pat Chambers and Damien Dalton for travelling with the lads on the day as well as the many parents who made the trip to support the lads.
End of Season:
Our Minis finished up their fantastic season on Saturday the 29th of April with a huge party and awards at Aghadoe. Over 100 children received medals following a final training session and lots of fantastic games.
Trophies were presented to children at each age level for ‘Player of the year’ and ‘Most Improved Player’. A very busy year was enjoyed by all the minis and rugby is absolutely thriving in Killarney. The club now has girls playing rugby for the first time and thanks to the hard work of the coaches – in particular Denise Treacy, the girls section thrives.
A special presentation was made to U12 Head oach Ian Harrington who is moving on from the Killarney RFC Minis this season. Ian has spent 7 years coaching at the Minis and has been a huge asset to the club and to the Minis in particular.
Thanks to all the coaches who spent their Saturday mornings giving their time to ensure the kids enjoyed their rugby. Thanks to Minis Coordinator Liam Murphy for all the hard work right across the season also. It has been a truly busy and fantastic season. Looking forward to seeing everyone in September for the new season, which promises to be even better!!