Their town embraced this success with local businesses decorating their premises in club colours. Local media made the event their top story and huge crowds traveled to Ashbourne RFC to see their side crowned champions for the very first time. The success of their senior team presented PRO Stephen Clarke with a wonderful opportunity to promote all aspects of his club while they were the talk of the town and this opportunity could not have been maximised if it wasn’t for the strong PR team that Stephen already had in place. One member of that team was Mary Keating and her work as Minis PRO saw her selected as December’s PRO of the Month.

Mary first became involved with Wicklow RFC in 2009 when her son began playing with the club’s under 7s. She hails from a rugby family and so getting back involved was probably inevitable and it wasn’t long before she was asked to fill the newly created role of Minis PRO. With a growing number of young families in the town and surrounding areas, the committee recognised the importance of focusing on the promotion of underage rugby and publicising their club From the Ground Up.  Mary embraced the importance of the role from the outset and worked with the rest of the PR team to get their message out to the community and attract new underage players to the club.

With over 300 players at minis level, Wicklow now has one of the strongest minis sections in Leinster and Mary says that the growing numbers makes all of the hard work worthwhile “the most enjoyable aspect has been seeing the minis section grow. The impact that this growth is having on the rest of the club and the interest being generated among parents and children in our overall social media activity is fantastic”.

One particular aspect of the club’s underage development really pleases Mary. Building the club’s profile locally and highlighting the inclusive nature of minis rugby has meant a huge surge in the number of girls playing. Mary talks about the importance of this to the club as a whole saying “Wicklow rugby is celebrating the most successful period in the history of the club. With over 500 members and fielding two senior men’s teams, 10 youth’s teams and minis from Kinders to u12s, we are also at the forefront of developing girl’s rugby. We are now fielding a women’s senior team, girls youths teams at u15s and u18s and girls minis teams at u10s and u12s. Next on the agenda is a girls u8s team”.

Wicklow’s PR team have shown us all just how important it is to include all sections of our clubs when developing a PR plan. Stephen Clarke has built a team that can take on an ambitious set of goals by sharing the work load and now the entire club are seeing the benefits of having this team in place. To acknowledge her work, Mary was our VIP guest at the Ulster game where she had the best seats in the house. She was also presented with gifts from our generous sponsors but this award is very definitely one for the whole team. Well done Wicklow RFC – what a year 2016 was for this brilliant club. Well done to everyone involved from all of us in Leinster Rugby.