The highlight of the 2009 group's 2018/2019 season was our to Manchester for the Wilmslow Rugby Festival. The boys enjoyed a weekend of sport and camaraderie - a well-deserved trip for the 55 boys who traveled after months of Sunday morning training in Stradbrook.
The Aer Lingus flight EI204 to Manchester was a special treat for the 30 boys on board, with pilot and parent Karl O'Neill arranging special boarding on "Green Spirit", the Airbus A320 that the Irish Rugby team travel on.
Karl got us safely touched down in high winds with a loud round of applause from all on board. Next up was the hotel and the swimming pool allowed the boys to blow off steam before we headed to Manchester's Trafford Center for games of Laser quest. Back to the hotel and the movie in the large conference room. But the boys couldn't contain their excitement and instead of the movie they preferred to use the room as an indoor rugby pitch! No late injuries, so off to bed we went.
It seemed nothing was going to spoil our fun and the Saturday downpours gave way to a sunny Sunday in Wilmslow RUFC. The Wilmslow Rugby Festival is a well-established event, with approximately 2500 players and their families representing teams from all over the UK and Ireland. Blackrock u10s have visited Wilmslow every year since 2013 and once again Wilmslow RUFC gave us a warm welcome.
Our four teams did the club proud on the pitch and had lots of fun off the pitch too, making many lasting memories on their first international tour experience.
In the 2016/2017 season the born 2009 group had their first experience of full contact rugby at u8 level. They quickly progressed from hitting tackle bags in training to tackling in matches. This aspect of the game was a big focus for the coaches and we were all delighted at how the boys and girls listened and responded. As well as 20 training sessions we played an epic 14 home and away fixtures including a trip to Mullingar to play against clubs from across the midlands. All in all the group played against at least 30 different club teams this season. The 2009 group have formed a great ethos over the past 4 years with almost 20 parents contributing to the coaching.