The Leinster Academy are delighted to announce details of a new supplementary community module to accompany the existing HETAC (Higher Education and Training Awards Council) diploma in professional rugby…

Overseen by Academy Manager Colin McEntee, the HETAC programme encompasses a three-year supplementary course in modules such as Rugby Technical, Tactical, Generic, Fitness, Lifestyle, Media and Psychological skills supplementary to their third level commitments.

Under the initiative, the entire Academy panel will fulfil several hours of active community service in hospitals, community centre, special schools across the province over the season which will develop the players’ core values in a practical sense, thus developing their real life skills.

Charities, community centres and hospitals are invited to provide work experience opportunities over the coming months by e-mailing who will provide further details.

Speaking at the launch in BrayLakers on Thursday afternoon which was attended by Brian O’Driscoll as well as members of the Leinster Academy, Leinster Academy Manager Colin McEntee said: “The wide-ranging HETAC modules which the Academy participates in each year helps prepare them for life as a professional rugby player. We believe that today’s initiative will help to further enhance the players’ all round development by assisting those who are less fortunate than themselves. Encouragingly, there has been a huge take up by the players themselves to give back to the wider community through this programme and we look forward to working with our community partners this year and beyond.”

Anne King, Campaign Manager for BrayLakers welcomes the association with Leinster Rugby, added: “We are extremely proud of our association with Leinster Rugby to date and we believe this initiative will strengthen our relationship. BrayLakers makes such a difference to the lives of people with an intellectual disability and their families, with this level of support from the Leinster Rugby we feel that anything is possible”.

About BrayLakers Special Needs Club: BrayLakers is a Sport, Social and Recreation club for children and adults with special needs in Wicklow, South Dublin and across Leinster and have been in operation since 1989. Their current membership is 397, 134 volunteers and 12 staff members (funded through HSE & Pobal). Membership in the Club is constantly growing – on average 25% per calendar year. Bray Lakers’ mission is to provide people with a diagnosis of an intellectual disability the opportunity to improve physical fitness and increase co-ordination through year-round participation in a wide range of sporting, social and recreational activities. They aim to aid and enhance members’ social skills through interaction with their peers as well as the wider community.