City of Derry Rugby Club have been running Rugby Coaching Sessions in two Disability Schools in the North West for the last three months following funding from Sport NI through their Active Community Awards Programme.

The schools involved were Ardnashee from Derry and Knockavoe from Strabane with coaching every Monday in these schools. It is the first time City of Derry RFC have introduced rugby into disability schools and the success of this pilot scheme will hopefully lead to annual funding and expansion.

The City of Derry Coaches delivering the program were Joe Gallanagh who is the Strength and Conditioning Coach at Judges Road for the last two years and has coached Munster Rugby in the past. The other Coach was James Doherty who is currently coaching City of Derry 1st XV along with Richard McCarter and Terry McMaster. The feedback from the teachers in the schools has been very positive with great engagement from the children and the progress made in a short space of time has helped their development and engagement.

The culmination of the project was a sports day at City of Derry Rugby Club, Judges Road last week when the children from the two schools came together with support from their teachers, classroom assistants, rugby coaches and parents. City of Derry Rugby Club President Marshall Kilgore said “the Rugby Club and Sport NI are delighted with the success of this project and the progress made by the children since rugby was introduced in their schools. We hope that with support and funding from Sport NI again next season we can expand and grow the numbers touched in these two schools and also expand into other schools”.

 Corey Dunn from Knockavoe Smashing the Tackle Bag