While there has been a significant – and welcome – increase in the number of girls playing and involved in rugby through the various age levels – U-14, U-16 and U-18 –  there continues to be a drop off in players upon reaching 18.

For a number of reasons, such players no longer continue to enjoy and play rugby:

  • Players who had played with their peers throughout youths competitions find themselves playing with and against players with quite a significant gap in age and experience
  • Players who had previously been leaders or top performing players at youths level now find themselves somewhat down in the pecking order
  • Players who were always getting picked for matches at youths are not now making the first team selection
  • Players who have represented their province at youths do not have an immediate understanding of their pathway to further representative honours

Leinster Rugby Women’s Section looked for a way in which we could allow these players to transition from youths into the adult game and maintain their enjoyment of rugby. Working with the five area committees in Leinster, we are introducing a support mechanism within the players’ areas that will allow them to continue their pathway to be the best they can be at the level they chose to participate at:

  • To continue to play with and against their peers
  • To continue to play and be a contributing part of their own club – to assist their clubs to maintain their growth path for women in rugby

Under the leadership of the five-area committee, we will hold an U-20 games programme within the regular season that will take place between each of the five areas within Leinster. The focus of this will be on participation – ensuring as many players as possible get game time – and a second match may be held in parallel with the first match if player numbers are sufficient on the day.

This will not replace the existing Leinster Branch club competitions but will be an addition specifically for this applicable age group – players who are between 18 and 20. Each of the areas are gathering together the required squad of players and are putting in place the required management, coaching and strength and conditioning support.

The inaugural Inter-Area U-20 Games Programme will take place on consecutive Wednesday evenings over five rounds of matches commencing on March 30 and ending April 27 with a 7pm kick-off time. We look forward to a fun-filled games programme that will achieve its aims and assist in keeping more players involved in playing rugby.

Depending on the success of this games programme, we would then look at the feasibility of evolving it into an inter-area competition in future seasons to form part of the player pathway

While the venues are still under discussion the schedule of matches is as follows:

Round Date Home Team    Away Team Venue
1 30-Mar-22  South East v  North East Wicklow RFC – Ashtown Lane
 North Midlands v  Metro Athy RFC – The Showgrounds
2 06-Apr-22  North East v  Midlands Balbriggan RFC – Bowhill, Balrothery
 Metro v  South East Old Belvedere RFC – Ollie Campbell Park
3 13-Apr-22  Midlands v  North Midlands Edenderry RFC – Coolavacoose, Carbury
 North East v  Metro North Meath RFC – The Grange
4 20-Apr-22  Metro v  Midlands Suttonians RFC – JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds
 South East v  North Midlands Tullow RFC – Black Gates
5 27-Apr-22  Midlands v  South East Tullamore RFC – Spollanstown
 North Midlands v  North East Cill Dara RFC – Beech Park

For more information contact your local area representatives through your rugby club.

Women’s Area Committee Representatives:

  • South East – Irene O’Byrne
  • Metro – Laura O’Callaghan Conlon
  • North East – John Fitzgerald
  • North Midlands – Mark Bergin
  • Midlands – Michael Lambe