Last Saturday, 240 mini rugby players from 15 rugby clubs across Connacht descended on Galway Corinthians RFC to take part in the Aviva Mini Rugby Festival. There, they had the opportunity to meet local heroes, Connacht and Ireland players, Kieran Marmion and Mairead Coyne. The two stars shared their expert knowledge with the enthusiastic young hopefuls of Irish rugby.
The Festival gave teams a chance to develop their skills as they played each other learning new ways to play in a non-competitive and fun environment. Each of the minis received a special medal, and a certificate signed by Ireland rugby stars.
The event was the second of five festivals that will take place across the country throughout the season. Each province will host a festival with hundreds of young players taking part, before the National Aviva Mini Rugby Festival takes place at the Aviva Stadium.
Each team taking part in the provincial Festivals will be in with a chance to play at the National Aviva Mini Rugby Festival at the Aviva Stadium in 2018.
As an enthusiastic supporter of grassroots sports, Aviva will be running a host of activities this season in conjunction with the hugely popular Mini Rugby Festivals. This will include a Pop-Up Festival and competitions on social media for clubs to win training equipment. In addition, Aviva will be giving a selection of clubs a once in a lifetime opportunity to play at half time during the Ireland v Fiji game which takes place in November at Aviva Stadium. To see how your club can get involved go to www.aviva.ie/minirugby and follow #AvivaMinis.
Kieran Marmion, Connacht & Ireland player, said; “With so many home grown players making the breakthrough at Connacht in recent years, it’s fantastic to see these young players here today at the start of their own rugby journey. The event has been a huge success, and it’s clear to see that the kids and their parents will remember this weekend for a long time.”
Mairead Coyne, Connacht & Ireland player, said; “Young girls are now being offered the same sporting opportunities as boys, and I was delighted to see so many girls out here enjoying themselves in a fun environment. The skills on show were very impressive, for such a young age, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these minis go on to play at the highest level.”
Ken O’Neil,Sligo RFC, said; “Mini Rugby is hugely important to Sligo RFC, and it is where young boys and girls get their first taste of the sport. With more than 200 Minis taking part each weekend at Sligo RFC, the Aviva Mini Rugby Festival is huge day for everyone. We were delighted to have both a boys and girls team representing the club, and we hope this wonderful experience will help their rugby development.”
Mark Russell, Aviva Sponsorship Manager, said; “We’re delighted to have seen another huge turnout at the Aviva Mini Rugby Festival in Galway Corinthians RFC. It was wonderful to bring somany teams together from across Connacht, who might not get the opportunity to play each other very often. These Festivals have gone from strength to strength in recent years which shows the continued growth of rugby at a young age and we look forward to another successful season with the Leinster, Munster, and National Festivals all to come.”