To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3rd), we spoke with Seapoint Dragons, one of the 21 disability clubs we have in Leinster, to find out how they got started and what it means for players. and the club.
Tell us why you got involved in creating a disability section?
Seapoint RC has always encouraged community involvement in all aspects of the club. In 2011, some members had relatives and friends with additional needs who wanted to play rugby in the safest possible environment.
Surveys were made with local specialized schools where interest in the rugby tag was expressed. The club executive offered the full support of the club and former Irish international player Joanne Dwyer who, along with a few other members, who had played rugby and had previously volunteered with people with additional needs, have formed a group of trainers and administrators and launched the Seapoint Dragons.
How did you get there?
The group met with Dun Laoghaire Sports Partnership who offered support and advice as part of their inclusion agenda. Greystones RFC and De La Salle Palmerston FC also decided to create a similar squad in their regions and all three clubs hosted our respective teams to train and learn from each other.
In Ulster, the Newforge Taggers had already built a similar squad and invited our coaches to attend their training sessions in Belfast to gain experience.
What were the benefits for the participants?
The opportunity for our players with additional needs to play pure rugby, avoiding opponents, looking for space, switching to teammates and scoring tries.
Play the game like their siblings. Feel the pride of their mothers and fathers. Encouraged and included by their club as much as the first XV. Taking advantage of their club teams, their province and their Irish team play a sport which also has a place for them.
What were the benefits for the club?
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary, Seapoint RC feels a sense of pride and inclusion to see our players, coaches, transition year students and parents take advantage of the opportunity for 40 female and male players to play rugby. .
For free online disability awareness training, click HERE.
For more information on our disability sections or the setting up of a disability section, contact Stephen Gore, responsible for the Leinster rugby spirit, or David McKay, IRFU Disability Inclusion Officer. You can also visit www.irishrugby.ie/spiritofrugby.