Ballymena Rugby Club held another hugely successul annual Mini Rugby Festival at its Eaton Park headquarters recently.
This year the festival had an all Ireland theme with 80 teams attending for a full day of games and fun.
Approximately 1000 Players and Coaches attended with their Families, making it one of the biggest across Ireland.
The morning session saw every available playing space utilised by the U6 to U9 teams playing in 12 minute games with each team having around 5 competitive games. Even the Rascals (U5) were able to join in with a few fun games.
The Players all enjoyed a lunch including an Easter treat prepared by the U10 Tour Fundraising committee, who also ran their BBQ throughout the day.
There was excitement when Ballymena’s Mini’s former player Luke Marshall along with Ian Humphrey’s and Dave Ryan attended from the Ulster Squad to meet all the players.
This, along with raffle prizes for the Hughes & Co family stand for the Ulster v Leinster game were provided by the events main sponsor.
The younger boys also had fun with entertainment including an appearance from Michelins own Bibendum and other characters on the day.
The afternoon session saw the turn of the U10 to U12 teams with a full schedule of 14 min matches until tea time.
Roger Alexander, Convenor of the Mini Section at Ballymena Rugby Club this year, commented that all the teams had expressed that they had a great day with all the games being played with a competitive spirit and all the Players have fun.
“We are particularly thankful to all the team at the Club and business organisations getting involved in supporting this great community event in the town.
We are grateful to have Sponsors making the whole event possible, such as Hughes & Co Insurance, AIB, McLaughlin & Harvey, McKillops Spar, Piperhill, Corry’s, Mid Antrim Signs, IFS, Calor Gas, Service Point, Oranga and all the catering organisations who supported the P6 fundraising team.
“With over 280 players from age 5 to 12, we are privileged to have one of the largest Mini Rugby Sections in the north of Ireland and our festival is a celebration of rugby.
“Other Clubs always express how much they enjoy coming to Eaton Park for the quality of our rugby and the hospitality and spirit our Club have towards them.”
Padraig O’Rourke, a representative from the event sponsors commented: “Hughes Insurance is delighted to sponsor this fantastic family fun day, it’s a great event for the local community and really shows support for grass roots rugby – something both ourselves and Ulster Rugby are very proud of.”
After Easter, the Ballymena players are looking forward to home matches as well as a full schedule of festivals in Coleraine, Ballyclare, Lisburn and Dublin.
The Section has also arranged trips for Parents and Players to Ulster v Leinster in April and the Rugby World Cup in London.