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Hundreds of players celebrate rugby for women and girls at Judges Road Festival

12 March 2020

Hundreds of players took part in a celebration of women’s rugby hosted by the North West Sporting Pathways programme at Judges Road at the weekend.

The Festival of Women and Girls’ Rugby was funded by the North West Regional Development Group in conjunction with and supported by The Executive Office and the Irish Government and aimed to strengthen the athletic pathways from grassroots participation to talent across the region.

The event featured open training sessions and a blitz style competition and was the culmination of months of work to develop a women and girls’ rugby programme in the North West region of Ulster.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Michaela Boyle, attended Sunday’s event:

“Congratulations to the North West Sporting Pathways programme and City of Derry Rugby Club for hosting this event which is part of the exciting project to develop a rugby programme for women and girls in this region,” she said.

“As a Council we have committed through the Strategic Growth Plan to help build the capacity of our local sporting and recreational clubs to become more sustainable and encourage higher levels of participation and proficiency in sport.

“This initiative is also in keeping with our work to deliver a sports and physical activities programme to promote greater activity among women and girls.”

Vice Chair of the NWRDG, Councillor Mary Durkan added: “On behalf of the North West Regional Development Group I would like to thank everyone involved in this event which was a brilliant celebration of women and girls’ rugby and showcased the player pathway available in the North West Region.

“The NWRDG are proud to help fund this cross border initiative which can help encourage higher levels of participation and proficiency in sport and promotes greater activity among women and girls.

“It was pleasing to see so many players taking part today, particularly young players and the future of the sport in the North West certainly looks bright.”

Four clubs are currently participating in the North West Sporting Pathways programme including City of Derry Rugby Club, Strabane Rugby Club, Letterkenny Rugby Club, Inishowen Rugby Club.

Each club has been delivering weekly training sessions in their club setting for female players.

The clubs then come together on a monthly basis to form a North West regional talent squad. 

The North West regional talent squad sessions are hosted by Ulster Rugby coaching staff and have a progression pathway to the senior Ulster Rugby ladies team.