Rugby at Cullybackey College

Rugby has grown at Cullybackey over the last couple of seasons, with training sessions taking place both in PE lessons and a busy after school’s club (and somewhat unofficially at lunch time). The squads have been rewarded for their hard work and dedication this season through fixtures and blitz afternoons against other local schools.

Under 12 Squad

The Under 12s attended a rugby blitz afternoon, hosted at Eaton Park, home of Ballymena Rugby Club, in early October. The sessions were led by Mark Hermin, the local rugby development officer, who has helped massively with the coaching of rugby at Cullybackey College.  This was the squad’s first outing representing Cullybackey and most pupils’ first go at competitive rugby action.  The two teams performed excellently on the day, learning many new skills and scoring lots of tries in the process.  The teams played small sided games against Dunclug and St Killian’s and although not officially counting any scores during the matches, the boys left knowing they had performed with excellence and looked forward to testing their newly developed skills against schools in competitive fixtures.

In November, the squad attended another blitz afternoon, this time in Limavady. The intensity of games was stepped up, with more focus on the actual game rather than skill development.  The boys faced strong opposition in the form of St Columbs, Dalriada and Ballymoney High School.  The squad performed superbly, winning one of their games quite comfortably, and losing the other two very narrowly.

The Under 12 squad should be congratulated for their efforts throughout this first term, with many new faces at training each week, taking up rugby for the very first time. The mood amongst the squad is one of excitement, with all involved looking forward to the new challenges they will face in term two.

Under 14 Squad

The Under 14s attended their own rugby blitz afternoon in Limavady. Many pupils (and coach) did not know what to expect of the day, with the boys ending up playing four fixtures against Dunclug, St. Mary’s, Oakgrove and Ballymoney High School.  The day was organised by representatives from Ulster Rugby and matches were refereed by officials from Ulster Branch.  The squad exceeded all expectations, with many representing Cullybackey, not only at rugby, but any sport, for the first time.  The squad was made up of a number of pupils stepping up from year 9, but they proved to be a real source of strength to the team.  Each fixture on the day was won quite convincingly, with many observers commenting on the excellent tacking, hard running, crisp passing and exquisite try scoring.

The boys really should be congratulated for all their hard work and effort put in. A growing number of the squad have taken up the opportunity to train with, and represent, Ballymena Rugby Club and we are looking forward to sharing in any of their successes for the local club.  The squad have really grown in confidence, especially after their performances at the blitz afternoon, and will be confident of facing any opposition in the NEEBSA tournaments that will take place at the start of 2019.

A huge thank you to everyone who has supported, and continues to support rugby at Cullybackey College. The boys, and coaches, really do appreciate this and we look forward to keeping you posted of any further successes in the new year.

Thank you.