SKIBBEREEN RFC will have the proud distinction of hosting an Interprovincial junior rugby fixture when Munster entertain Leinster at their resplendent venue on Saturday.
The West Cork club are thrilled that their home ground has been chosen for such an auspicious event and it reflects the high esteem in which they are held in by the Munster Branch.
Skibbereen RFC are thrilled their club has been rewarded for their fantastic facilities as club secretary Darren Lynch revealed.
“It is a tremendous honour to host the forthcoming Junior Interprovincial game. It is the first time such a prestigious event of this scale has been awarded to Skibbereen RFC. The junior interprovincial series is a unique competition as it showcases the very best players from each of the four provincial leagues in Ireland. It gives us a great opportunity to host a high profile match,” stated the club official.
Skibbereen RFC boast state-of-the-art facilities. They possess a fantastic clubhouse and pristine pitches.
The club was duly recognised for their great progress.
“All clubs in Munster were asked to apply if they were interested in hosting the fixture. After consultation with the club committee members and officers, Skibbereen RFC formally applied in writing to host the fixture.
"As past of the application letter, we highlighted the continued growth of rugby in West Cork. Three West Cork teams will be contesting in the Munster division one league next season and Bandon Grammar School is recognised throughout the province as nursery of young rugby talent.
"The exploits of the West Cork contingent as part of the Grand Slam-winning Ireland U20 team is another sign of rich talents emerging from the region. Additionally, the Munster senior squad has strong West Cork links in Darren Sweetnam and Fineen Wycherley. Skibbereen locals, Gavin and Liam Coombes are also well-known names in rugby circles.”
Skibbereen RFC have embarked on a very ambitious programme of events off the pitch in recent years. They have invested substantially in creating a state-of-the-art rugby centre in Skibbereen.
Their impressive club facilities are a testament to their hard-working committee which Darren is proud to be a part of.
“Skibbereen RFC is fortunate to have great facilities to cater for the club’s needs. The clubhouse pitch is used predominantly for training purposes, while the Marsh and Showgrounds pitches are used mainly for games at weekends.
"The club has a modern clubhouse with bar facilities to cater for a range of functions. We have a fantastic group of people involved in the organisation of the club. The countless coaches and club volunteers throughout the years need to recognised also as these people are the heartbeat of the club. Without them, the club would not be where it is today.”
Rugby in Skibbereen is thriving at present. Their U18.5 team recently played in the All-Ireland final and their playing numbers are increasing on an annual basis. Ladies rugby which was established three years ago is also progressing very well.
“Our ladies underage section is going from strength to strength each season. Last year Skibbereen RFC had the second largest number of girls participating in underage rugby in Munster. Their dedicated coaches and parents deserve to be recognised for this also. The club has a core group of players who are fantastic ambassadors for women’s rugby and Skibbereen RFC.”
Skibbereen RFC will be hoping that the nucleus of their J1 team will be formed by a plethora of their talented U18 players currently emerging through their strong underage system. Darren is confident the players will progress seamlessly to adult rugby.
“I am very hopeful that the current U18 players will progress to the junior team in the coming seasons. Most recently, we have seen many young talented players like Tadhg Cullinane, Matthew Bushe and Daniel Duggan move from U18 to junior level seamlessly. The mixture of youth and experience have a positive influence on the junior team and this homegrown, local talent is something that Skibbereen RFC prides itself in.”
Two former Skibbereen RFC players, the Coombes cousins continue to make great impressions with the Munster Academy and A teams. Gavin and Liam played for the Munster senior team in South Africa earlier this year.
The Coombes family are steeped in Skibbereen rugby. The whole club is proud of their great progress.
“Liam and Gavin are fantastic ambassadors and role models for the club. Both of their families have been associated with the club for years. Both players always keep close contact with our activities.”
Rugby in West Cork continues to grow at a huge rate. A host of young talented players are playing underage and adult rugby for both Munster and Ireland.
Lynch is thrilled to see local players fulfilling their dreams of playing top level rugby.
“Rugby in West Cork is thriving at the moment. Names like Dunmanway’s Darren Sweetnam, Josh and Fineen Wycherley plus Skibbereen’s own Liam and Gavin Coombes are all familiar names in rugby circles. Skibbereen native David McCarthy has represented Ireland and Munster at underage levels and is currently plying his trade at senior club Garryowen.
"We have several current players playing underage rugby with Munster which are very proud of. West Cork is now renowned for producing exciting talent. This is great recognition for the hard working clubs and volunteers who are involved at grassroots level.”