Leinster Rugby have eight development officers tasked with driving the game at all levels in the Midlands region.

Name: Patsy Gorman

Area: Midlands CRO

Length in role with Leinster: 12 years

Explain what it is you do: : I am the Community Rugby Officer for the Midlands Region, responsible for working with the Club Community Rugby Officers, Leinster staff, local communities, councils, schools and clubs to grow the offering of opportunity for all to participate in rugby within the region.

Aspects of your job you really enjoy: I enjoy the variety of the work and the many different volunteers and organisations I interact with. My role affords me the opportunity to work with everyone from local primary school children enjoying tag rugby, secondary school children partaking in contact rugby competition, delivering specialised programs for mixed age and ability participants, coach support, player development, and off pitch planning and helping steer where we go as a region with the CCROs and staff.

I have been privileged to see the growth of rugby across all areas over my years with Leinster, seeing the growth of the female game and the amount of young girls now taking up the sport, similarly the growth of mixed ability and inclusive rugby for people of all abilities and ages has been great. Its really enjoyable to be part of some of these programs we run in communities with our council partners and also to see lots of clubs now running their own inclusive teams.

It is very enjoyable working with the CCROs, other staff, councils and communities within the Midlands region in providing rugby participation opportunities for all and seeing the benefit of these to participants and players.

Name: John Burns

Club: Tullamore

Length in role with Leinster: 18 years

Explain what it is you do: The CCRO role brings rugby in a fun environment to the young children of our schools. Having had a taste of the game they often give it a try in the club. This recruitment is vital to the sustainability of of any club.The role also involves coach development in the club.

I help make the transition from school to club as seamless as possible for the children, ensuring their early engagement with the club game is a positive experience.

I am integrally involved in recruitment for the Mini and Youth sections of the club keeping regular and close contact with all coaches.I also coach the adult special needs team ‘The Tigers’ and the U18 boys team.

Aspects of your job you really enjoy: I enjoy helping children to improve their skills and understanding of the game.The reception I get from both children and teachers when I arrive for work makes the job very satisfying. I also enjoy seeing children progress and grow a love for the game when they join the club.

Name: Aoghan Clarke

Club: Longford

Length in role with Leinster: 18 months

Explain what it is you do: I support the growth and development of rugby in Longford Schools, Longford County and Longford Rugby Club through Aldi Play Rugby in Schools, Coaching and Support in Longford Rugby Club Youths and Minis and various community initiatives in conjunction with Longford Sports Partnership.

Aspects of your job you really enjoy: I really enjoy seeing the happy faces of the kids playing rugby and introducing rugby to schools who may not have played rugby before. Seeing the large numbers of children that I have introduced rugby to in Primary Schools coming into Longford Rugby Club and seeing the club grow and develop as a direct result of my work encourages me and gives me great job satisfaction.

I also really enjoy the coaching aspect of my role within Longford Rugby Club especially coaching the Under 15’s Youths team and seeing them develop as strong and confident rugby players.

Name: Padraig ‘Podge’ Malone

Club: West Offaly Lions

Length in role with Leinster: 3 1/2 years

Explain what it is you do: I am a Club Community Rugby Officer working with Leinster Rugby and our local club West Offaly Lions. I travel to nine primary schools around our club catchment area introducing kids to the game of rugby. In the schools I teach kids the basics of the game of rugby while also playing lots of fun games.

The main game I get them into is Tag Rugby and twice or three times a year I will set up tag rugby tournaments in which schools compete against each other. My main Tournament will consist of all nine schools competing to win a cup that was presented to the club by a founder member of the club. I am also working with the Shane Horgan U16 Development Squad which we help young players to develop their potential in becoming better rugby players.

Aspects of your job you really enjoy: Working with some talented coaches in the Leinster set up has been a huge bonus for me personally. Working with kids every day is challenging but quite rewarding when you see the effort the kids put into the games you set up, how we challenge them in different ways and they respond time and time again.

When I set up the main tag blitz tournament for all the schools it’s a huge day out and the standard of the games of tag is amazing. The club I’m involved with is small but there is huge passion between coaches and volunteers who help maintain the club and look after the kids.

Name: Clare O’Brien

Club: Mullingar

Length in role with Leinster: 6 1/2 years

Explain what it is you do: My role is to introduce youngsters and adults of every age to rugby. That can consist of games relating to rugby where they learn how to pass or side step or a tag rugby game where they experience the game of rugby without tackling. Then to full on rugby where they actually learn how to tackle, ruck etc.

Aspects of your job you really enjoy: I really enjoy meeting new people and visiting new schools. I love the rapport that you build up with kids, so much so they love to see you come for another block of PE. I also enjoy in a primary school environment, teachers telling you that someone isn’t very sporty but you see them get involved in a game of tag rugby. I believe rugby is very inclusive and there is a place for everyone on a pitch.

Name: John O’Dowd

Club: Roscrea

Length in role with Leinster: 2 years

Explain what it is you do: I’m responsible for promoting Rugby across the community and schools in our local catchment area for the club.  I provide support for other coaches and teams within the club. I also work across the primary and secondary schools in my area promoting rugby through contact and tag rugby play.

Aspects of your job you really enjoy: I really enjoy working with the kids across multiple backgrounds, nationalities and abilities. I enjoy the time my job allows by working outdoors on a daily basis.

Name: Denis Rusu

Club: Birr

Length in role with Leinster: 5 years

Explain what it is you do: I encourage kids to be active and aim to develop their skills and sports knowledge through Rugby and Tag Rugby sessions, in school and in the local community.

Aspects of your job you really enjoy: I enjoy the passion and creativity that goes into, providing an opportunity for kids up to adult to participate and play Rugby.

Name: Dermot Tierney

Club: Edenderry

Length in role with Leinster: 3 months

Explain what it is you do: Working with national schools, secondary schools and the local club, around developing rugby participation and interests in the area. Being the first and for some the only person they might meet in relation to Leinster, Edenderry and rugby. Being a face for someone to come to and hopefully providing a helpful, beneficial and enjoyable experience.

Aspects of your job you really enjoy: I love working with some great people, meeting new people and creating a enjoyable environment for all.

You can find contact details for all the Development Officers here.