Ballymena Rugby Football Club held its annual Mini Festival at Eaton Park on Saturday. with over 100 teams in attendance.
Approximately 1400 players attended the event making it one of the best attended festivals of rugby across Ireland and an end of season celebration for all the Clubs involved.
In addition, over 1500 Coaches and parents also attended, making it a major sporting event in the Borough.
The morning session from 9.30am to 12.30pm saw every available playing space utilised by the U6 to U9 teams, with each team having around five competitive games. Even the U5 players were able to join in with a few fun games. The Players all enjoyed a lunch prepared by the U11 Tour Fundraising Committee, who also ran a food village throughout the day operated by the parents. The Club Chairman, Derek Montgomery, presented medals to all the U5-U9 players before the end of the morning session.
Billy Ashe, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, also attended the event and reflected that despite attending many similar events he had never seen anything of the scale at Eaton Park.
There was excitement when Ulster Rugby star Ian Humphreys attended to meet the Players and discuss the imminent fixture against Leinster. The afternoon session, from 1.00pm to 5.30pm, saw the turn of the U10, U11 and U12 teams with a full schedule of 16 minute matches until tea time. The afternoon medal presentation was carried out by Peter MacKenzie, incoming Club Chairman.
Roger Alexander, U10 Head Coach, expressed the thanks to the many organisations who assisted with making the day a great success. We are grateful to have sponsors to ensure the event is possible, such as, Michelin, AIB, McLaughlin & Harvey, Piperhill Construction, Calor Gas, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Marks & Spencer. The main Sponsors included Applegreen and McKillops Spar on Frys Road. Eamon McKillop stated: “We are delighted to be main sponsor and continue supporting this major event as one of the largest community sporting events in the Borough.”