With the rain falling and the ground softening our minds quickly turn to how we will pass the coming winter…

As rugby folk, whether player, supporter or parent the love of the game along with plenty hot drinks will keep us enthralled. Oh, we also have 15 fearless volunteer competition coordinators working hard to make sense of the numbers involved.

The province of Leinster is comprised of 12 counties broken into 5 areas, Metropolitan, North Midlands, North East, Midlands and South East. There are 62 clubs fielding 260 Youth teams. There needs to be 30 Leagues to cater for the 260 teams and their 4,600+ players.

The Boys Leagues are run in the following age grades U13, U14, U15, U16, U17, U18, and U19. The U14 to U19 Leagues will commence on October 11th / 12th. The U13 leagues will commence on January 10th/11th.
The Girls Leagues are run at U15 and U18 and their Autumn Leagues are underway having begun on September 4th/5th. The Semi Finals will be held on November 29th with the Finals being held on December 13th. The Leinster Leagues will then begin in the early New Year.

The draws were made on Wednesday 1st October and the fixtures have been issued to clubs. All eyes will be on Mullingar and Skerries to see if their success at U17 can be replicated this year or if it can be replicated at U19. Will the all-conquering Naas U13 teams maintain momentum into U14? What have Navan to offer following their success at U19 last year?

The league competition model ensures that teams are evenly matched within their league. The model also means that every team will get plenty of matches and the difference in playing time between the strongest teams & the weakest is minimal.

You will have noticed that the U13 Leagues are not beginning until the New Year, this is a new development, and in fact it is a radical departure from previous seasons. The first 6 weeks of the season will now be devoted to training & skill development.

This is important as the transition from Mini to Youth rugby – from playing 10-a-side on half pitch to playing 15-a-side on a full pitch – is a big step and requires time for players and coaches to adapt. Also during this time the Rugby Department are active by organising coaching workshops & seminars to upskill the coaches.

From mid-October until Christmas there will be Area Leagues, with teams competing with other teams from within their Area, this structure will allow for training weekends, with the leagues acting as a guide for the coaches and the competition coordinators to the relative strengths of each team.

As the season progresses the focus will remain on up-skilling but as we enter the New Year a bit of competition will be introduced to liven things up as the U13 teams will compete at provincial level for the first time. The Area Leagues will assist the grading and formation of the Leinster Leagues which will commence after Christmas.

Check out all the Youths Fixtures here.