Introducing Aoife Thompson DCC South CRO
February 13, 2016 12:00 am client
the Dublin City Council region. Being the only female of the gang (of 12 CROs) is not an unusual situation for Aoife having studied Engineering in college and been involved in rugby both on and off the pitch for a number of years.
As with the other CROs, Aoife’s remit includes both male and female rugby throughout her area.
In partnership with DCC Aoife works with clubs, schools, community groups and colleges in the South Central area of the city council. This area comprises of Crumlin, Drimnagh, Ballyfermot, Chapelizod, Inchicore, Bluebell, Walkinstown, The Liberties, Rialto and the south west inner city. The area has a population of approximately 105,000 with 78% of these residents being under 55 years old. Not known as a traditional rugby playing area but with a population that are physically active through many different sports, the benefits and ethos of rugby are quite an easy sell and the uptake in participation in the sport is increasing steadily.
“A community rugby officer is just that, we want rugby to be played by everyone, in every community in Leinster!” Using programmes throughout schools, clubs and the community to implement this goal, Aoife is hoping to translate involvement in school and community projects into lifelong participation in clubs. The DCC based CROs have a strong link with Dublin City Council and combine expertise for many programmes. Working with DCC personnel ensures they get right to the heart of every community in the area.
Development is also a big part of a CRO’s portfolio. Initiatives at primary and secondary school level introduce pupils to rugby and provide them with a pathway to continue and develop their involvement in the sport. Primary school blitzes are held regularly throughout the city and there are opportunities for secondary students too. Non-rugby playing schools now compete in the Dublin City Cup at U15 and U17 level which offers students the chance to get a taste for the game in an inter schools competition. Two of Aoife’s schools: Drimnagh Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School compete in the Dublin City Cup. The creation of an U15 Dublin City team a number of years ago has provided the opportunity for non-club players to represent their area and compete against other council teams and Aoife hopes to foster burgeoning talent from her area through the representative development programmes.
Within clubs there is a broad spectrum of responsibilities including both on and off-pitch development. Providing coaching support and assisting with club development initiatives is key to ensuring that clubs are operating to their best capabilities and can provide the best rugby experience to everyone. From coaching workshops to best practise symposiums Aoife hopes to be able to serve her client clubs’ needs.
There are 5 rugby clubs in the South Central area:
Terenure College RFC
Liberity Saints Rugby
Terenure College are close to being a full spectrum club. They have comprehensive mini and youth sections. They run a special needs team and field multiple adult teams with their 1st XV competing in the All-Ireland League. They also have a newly opened 4G all weather pitch- very useful in the Irish climate!
CYM have adult teams – both men’s and women’s – and operate right out of the centre of Terenure village. They are the only club in the South Central area to field a women’s side and since setting up have seen incredible success on the pitch and have realised the extra element that women’s players add to the club.
Guinness have a strong rugby tradition and are superbly set up in the Iveagh Grounds in Crumlin. They field a men’s adult team and have a growing mini section.
Liberty Saints are currently only fielding at youth level but have big ambitions to develop the club further following successful foundations being laid.
DIT Rugby compete in the colleges league and cup, and boast several scholarship players. Current plans include social touch rugby for all and the development of a women’s team. With incredible new facilities at
Grangegorman and a restructuring of the college, the next few years are an exciting prospect with rugby in DIT expected to continue on an upward trajectory.
One of the main aims as Community Rugby Officers is to get more players playing in clubs and as you can see, in the South Central area, there is a club to cater for everyone!
The ethos in Leinster is to introduce more people to the wonderful sport that is rugby and then to ensure that these people have an enjoyable experience and stay involved in the game for life. The development model used allows people to be reached right through the age spectrum: from primary school children through teenage years and on into adulthood, middle age and to retirement. Aoife believes that everyone can gain something from being involved in rugby at any age and can also contribute positively to the sport and their community.
Believing that volunteers are vital to the game of rugby: their support ensures it survives and prospers, she wants to equip them so they can best support the game both on-pitch and off-pitch. Be this through schools, clubs, development programmes or in a wider community sense.
With clubs hungry for more players and schools eager for children to be more and more active Aoife wants to develop the link between clubs and schools through more schools programmes, club hosted blitzes, coaching support and teacher training. In a non-traditional rugby playing area there are even more undiscovered players. She wants to bring these players right from discovery of the sport to playing the fifteen-a-side game week in week out.
Rugby has been a huge part of Aoife’s life for many years now but she also has a great passion for music. She has recently started a slightly impractical trend of travelling to unusual locations to catch a new band or artist. She also, (like lots of rugby players!) adores her food! Having studied culinary arts she loves trying new food, cooking, baking and sharing food with family and friends.
You can contact Aoife at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on twitter @FlashesofLashes