Neillsbrook club hoping for successful campaign

Former Ireland internatioanl Gary Longwell will once again head up Randalstown RFC's coaching team this season.

Former Ireland internatioanl Gary Longwell will once again head up Randalstown RFC's coaching team this season.

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Randalstown Rugby Club’s senior section got the 2015/16 season off to a good start with a pleasing runner up spot in the club’s annual tournament.

While the coaching team of Gary Longwell and Alistair Strange’s long term strategy for greater strength in depth, and therefore an ability to compete at a higher level, has borne fruit in last season’s successes, both are well aware that a long difficult season lies ahead.

Randalstown RFC enjoyed tremendous support last season, culminating in an appearance for the Second XV in the Forster Cup final. INBT 17-910H

Randalstown RFC enjoyed tremendous support last season, culminating in an appearance for the Second XV in the Forster Cup final. INBT 17-910H

The ultimate aim is still to continue to develop all 3 senior teams and pre-season has enjoyed extremely good numbers in support of this.

Several Randalstown stalwarts have been able to participate in pre-season as they return from lengthy injuries, and numbers have also been bolstered as a few return from study and work commitments elsewhere.

Randalstown are also pleased to welcome some new faces this season, a couple transferring their allegiance and a couple from the ever productive youth section.

The 1st XV consolidated their Qualifying 2 position and will continue in this division, but will see some changed opponents this year as Donaghadee and Ballymoney drop down from Section 1 and old adversaries Larne move up from Section 3. The first league game is on Saturday 29th August away to Lisburn.

The 2nd XV have been promoted to Junior section 3 and will have to factor in several long journeys – Cavan, Virginia, and closer by comparison Donegal – to their league campaign this year. They will be unable to have another shot at the Forster Cup this season, having narrowly missed out last year, as the promotion to Section 3 means they will be entered in the Crawford Cup.

Perhaps the 3rd XV will enjoy a good run in the Forster Cup this year as they ascend from minor rugby to Junior Section 6.

This is a big step for the 3rd XV but manager Aaron Murray has every confidence in his charges, who have been training hard pre-season, to knuckle down and reap some reward for their commitment and hard work.

All bodes well for the new season where hopefully players will enjoy the competition, stay injury free and realise their potential in Randalstown colours. All support is welcomed to the clubhouse on a Saturday afternoon, where it is hoped a convivial atmosphere can be enjoyed.

There will be the usual mix or pre-match lunches and entertainment throughout the season – details are usually posted on the club facebook page, on the website www.randalstownrfc.co.uk, and via the weekly newsletter.

To be included in the newsletter circulation please contact Adie Johnston – adie_johnston@hotmail.co.uk