With Covid restrictions meaning that minis blitzes are not able to go ahead at the moment, clubs are looking for ways to keep a sense of freshness around minis training and Portarlington RFC came up with a real eye catching way to do just that while helping to raise awareness around men’s mental health.

Kids were asked to bring a small donation to training and once they had checked in with their pod’s Covid Co-ordinator they were given a novelty moustache to wear during training.

Some coaches and parents joined in the fun and the occasion seemed to really inject some extra zest into the morning’s session.

Portarlington minis Co-ordinator Barry Lambkin explained the inspiration behind the concept: “Tragically, we lost a member of our rugby family recently. Pete McLaughlin was much loved by everyone who knew him and his three children, Devlin, Luca and Lola, all play with club teams.

“Pete’s wife Jack Clarke has decided to walk 500,000 steps during November to raise money and awareness for the Movember campaign and she will be using the walking track around our pitches to clock up much of that total during minis training.

“We wanted to show our support for her efforts as well as for the family. We know how important the rugby club is for them right now but we also want them to know how important they are to us.”

Director of Rugby, Paul Mannion, who has played for the club since he was a mini himself, says that the event has reached right across the community in Portarlington.

“The Facebook post with the photos of the kids was really popular. Its great for people in the community to see the fun being had and it might encourage a few more families to come out and get involved,” he said.

“But it also helps to raise awareness in Portarlington and show men that their issues are taken seriously. Sport is a wonderful outlet for people and we hope that when the restrictions are eased we will see more men and women joining our senior teams and enjoying the benefits of activity and comradery.”

This simple event raised a lot of smiles but it also raised funds for Jack Clarke’s ‘500,000 steps for Movember Ireland’ Facebook fundraiser on the day as well as encouraging people to donate online.

It’s wonderful how our clubs are finding so many ways to make the most of the restrictions. Leinster Rugby would like to thank all of the club volunteers who are ensuring that their gates are kept open for families at such an important time. Well done to each and every one of you.