The launch of the NUI Galway Rugby Youth Academy took place on campus this week. The Academy will become an integral part of UCG RFC, aiming primarily to strengthen the club’s AIL U-20 squad in the future. However, organisers hope that the Academy will cater for female underage players should participation levels increase, paving the way for an NUIG Women’s Rugby feeder team.
According to Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway: “The youth academy is a good fit for the University’s outreach and community support initiatives. It is envisaged that this new academy will add greatly to the development of youth rugby in the city and its environs. It will also be of great benefit for the University Rugby Club into the future.”
In its first season, the academy will cater for U13 boys only, but will expand over the next five years up to under 18’s. Coaching, mentoring, and administrative resourcing will come from within the existing University Rugby Club and will be augmented by support from the mini rugby club – Na Bairneachaí (U8s to U12s) established in Barna/Knocknacarra area in 2007.
Neil Keaveney, President of Na Bairneachaí, said: “We are very excited by this new venture within NUI Galway. It builds on the hard work and community involvement in the development of Rugby in the west side of Galway city. Simply put, it is a great opportunity for more kids to play more games in what we hope will be an enjoyable yet competitive setting.”