While many in Kildare are focusing on the upcoming Punchestown Racing festival, the real action takes place in Naas RFC on Saturday 23rd April where the Joe Moran under-11 rugby blitz is being held.

The event, in its 18th year, continues to be hugely popular and this year 43 teams – representing all four provinces – and over 725 players are expected at the famous grounds. The players are eager to test their mettle against the best Ireland has to offer but the organisers stress that the blitz is a festival of rugby rather than a competition.

While there are 130 games to play, there will be no qualification games; no knock-outs; no quarter finals; no semi-finals and no finals. In fact the results will not be recorded. “It’s all about the kids enjoying a positive experience and a great day out with the wider rugby family,” said organiser Alistair Finlayson.  However, there is a perpetual trophy to be awarded to the team that displays the essential characteristics of rugby that include respect, teamwork, positive attitude and sportsmanship.

The success of the event has been built by volunteers working in tandem with coaches and participants. Naas RFC, with one of the largest Mini and Youth Rugby Section in the country, is very much a community club and the enormous effort that all volunteers put into this festival is testament to all that is good about grassroots community rugby. 
Alistair continued, “The benefits to the Club of a vibrant Mini and Youth section are clear to be seen and as we all know, getting children involved in sport at a young age has many health and social benefits. The Joe Moran under-11 festival is a very special day for all involved and we everyone is really excited”.
At the professional level, Naas is no stranger to success and has produced some of Ireland’s leading rugby stars including Jamie Heaslip and Geordan Murphy. In addition, the Naas senior team recently became the All Ireland League 2A champions thereby securing promotion to Division 1B for the first time ever.  Of the 36 players used in the campaign 29 were ex-Naas mini players who first pulled on their boots in the club when they were eight or nine years old. An additional 26 ex-Naas minis play with other clubs in AIL Division 1 along with another dozen current provincial academy/full professionals.  
At the recent Munster ‘A’ versus Ulster Ravens interprovincial, held in Naas, five of the Munster team remembered fondly playing in the Naas RFC Joe Moran rugby blitz and it’s those long lasting memories that the organisers are keen to encourage.
The event takes place in Naas RFC on Saturday 23rd April 2016 with kick-off scheduled for 11am. Parking is on site and refreshments will be available throughout the day, with the event conclusing at 3pm.
For further information please contact; John Purcell – jpurcellnaas@gmail.com or 087-2908961.