The public launch of the County Carlow FC Bees project took place earlier this week at the Oakpark rugby grounds when the newly formed additional needs team had their first get together to learn and practice tag rugby while having lots of fun.

To celebrate the launch of the new team within the club, the European Champions Cup was on show at the club during the launch.

This initiative is the culmination of a year’s work by a committee comprised of Carlow Rugby Club members, Carlow Sports Partnership and Leinster Rugby.

The concept of additional needs or disability rugby programme has been promoted by the IRFU in recent years and in January 2015 the IRFU established a Disability Sub Committee under the Chairmanship of Des Kavanagh, a past president of County Carlow Football Club.

County Carlow FC

The aim of this initiative is to provide children and young adults with learning and physical disabilities with an opportunity to partake in tag rugby in a safe, enjoyable and exciting environment so that they can build social skills and confidence.

To date, 16 rugby clubs in Leinster have established teams under this programme. This includes New Ross, Cill Dara, Greystones and Wicklow. There are a number of teams in Dublin and last February Terenure Rugby club ran a disability rugby blitz which attracted over 200 players.

In Carlow, 28 girls and boys aged eight and upwards have already enlisted for the Carlow Bees Additional Needs training.

Speaking at the launch, Carlow Club Chairman Melvin Elmes said: “The young people and their parents have given the initiative a great welcome and are most enthusiastic about the prospect of playing the game.”

Three members of Carlow Rugby Club, Niall O Malley, Keeva Owens and David Farrell, have trained as coaches for disability rugby, through a Leinster Rugby coaching initiative.

The project aims to include and enrich the lives of people with one or more of these long-lasting conditions or difficulties:

  • Blindness or severe vision impairment.
  • Deafness or severe hearing impairment.
  • Intellectual disability.
  • A difficulty with learning, remembering or concentrating.
  • A difficulty with basic physical activity.
  • A psychological or emotional condition.
  • A difficulty with pain, breathing or any other chronic illness or condition.

For more information or if you have an interest in this programme, please can contact Teresa O Meara by telephone 087 3868973 or email