The Des Smyth Foundation and its association with Boyne RFC and St Paul’s National School is now well into its 2nd year and it has been hugely successful…

The foundation’s goals are to “build stronger kids through sport” and the rugby project in St Paul’s is certainly delivering on this criteria.

Late last year Boyne RFC ran a very successful Rugby Blitz for 6th class boys and girls. Nine schools participated with Cartown, Callystown, Scoil Naomh Fechin, Donnycarney, Julianstown, Le Cheile and Laytown all entering a boys and girls team. St Paul’s entered 2 boys teams and one girls team.

The blitz was staged indoors in the Drogheda Leisure Park with Boyne RFC coaches; Craig McGrath, Malakai Kisina, Bevan Duffy, Hadley Dryden, Tommy Bower and Johnny Sheridan all on hand to assist the teachers and ensure the event was successful.

All teams played a minimum of five matches. Generally the skills levels were very high and all teams can be proud of their efforts.

Another pleasing feature of the event was the great sportsmanship and discipline shown by all children.

Callystown and St Paul’s contested the girls’ final. It was a fantastic final with St. Paul’s just winning with a score of 3 tries to 2 for Callystown.

The boy’s final was unusual as the two St Paul’s teams qualified for the final. Friendships were parked for 15 minutes as both sides concentrated on winning the bragging rights within their own school. The teams were nip and tuck from start to finish. At the final whistle the score was 3 tries each. Neither side deserved to lose and friendships were again restored before returning to class.

In September 2007 the Des Smyth Foundation introduced rugby to St Paul’s Primary school in the Rathmullan area in Drogheda. Now, thanks to the Foundation, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th classes (over 300 children) are being coached in the skills of the game. Many children have joined Boyne RFC; others are content to continue playing in school. The impact rugby has made on many of these children is immense.

Congratulations are due to Des Smyth and his committee, who have set up the foundation to help develop skills and introduce children to sports that would not normally be part of their curriculum. This has meant that rugby has become one of the sports that have broadened its parameters in the community in the greater Drogheda area.