CLARE HARES, sponsored by W J Blair Accident Repair of Doagh, had a very successful start to their time at The Cloughan home of Ballyclare Rugby Club. Organised by club members Moore Kennedy and Clifford Gilmore Clare Hares has been formed to provide TAG rugby, a non-contact form of rugby, for people with a learning disability. The group will meet on Friday evenings during the season and will have a team entered in the Wooden spoon sponsored International TAG Festival at the Kingspan Stadium.

Trained coaches Gary Clotworthy and Gareth Byers are already in place and will be assisted by additional club members who will be fully trained during the season. The sport is fully supported by IRFU Ulster branch and Tim Craig, Disability and Inclusion Officer at the branch, has been extremely helpful in providing expert guidance along the way. The club are indebted to Tim for all his work during the build up. To aid the smooth running of the first session he arranged for Newforge Taggers to come along and give everyone present a demonstration. Ulster and Ireland’s Chris Henry was also there to give his expert help and support.

As a registered Community Amateur Sports Club Ballyclare are very keen to play a full part in the development of “rugby for all” in the local area and are delighted with the support this new group has already received. “Even on the first evening we received additional offers of help with coaching and organisation. It is great to see the talent and willingness available in the local community. We will undoubtedly be taking up the offers” said Moore.

On the funding side Moore said that any new venture puts a strain on club resources to provide equipment, kit and facilities etc. He was therefore delighted with the sponsorship from Bill Blair of W J Blair Accident Repair of Doagh, he hoped that additional sponsorship would be forthcoming.

Amongst the large group of spectators on Friday were British and Irish Lions Willie John McBride and Ronnie Lamont and in the clubhouse afterward Ronnie said “Surely this is what rugby is all about! I have been watching young players with skill who are obviously enjoying themselves, great praise to their coaches- real rugby heroes”.

To ensure that we can offer the best possible experience to all the players the initial numbers have been limited but a few more can still be taken. Anyone interested in playing, sponsorship or assisting in any way should register by email to
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