IT is the social phenomenon that has taken Ireland by storm – and now tag rugby is to be opened up to children with disabilities.
Students with general learning needs attending the Catherine McAuley school are among the first to take part in a newly launched initiative enabling them to take part in adapted tag rugby.
The sport - which is mixed and non-contact and much loved by social ‘taggers’ who play regularly in Old Crescent, Garryowen and UL - has for many been inaccessible in the past, but that has changed through the Xcessible Youth Sport nationwide initiative which was launched recently.
The IRFU, in conjunction with CARA Adapted Physical Activity Centre, Limerick Sports Partnership and Garryowen, are currently facilitating weekly sessions at the city school.
The link-up between rugby club and school should help to further the participation of children with disabilities in physical activity and sport.
“The IRFU’s values promote rugby as an inclusive sport and our partnership with CARA and Limerick Sports Partnership will open the game up to more people and increase the number of kids engaging in physical activity and enjoying the fun and other benefits rugby can deliver,” said Euan Gee, a community officer with Munster Rugby.
“We are pleased that Garryowen FC has signed up to the eight week CARA programme, and we hope that the new school-club link can deliver more sustainable opportunities for kids with disabilities to experience and enjoy tag rugby with the rugby club.”
Deputy principal in Catherine McAuley, Joe McCarthy, said the adapted tag rugby programme, which will run until March, was an “exciting addition to the school curriculum and one that suits the physical education needs of our students”.
Elaine Shea, Limerick Sports Inclusion Disability Officer, said the scheme could soon be rolled out to other special needs schools throughout Limerick.
“It is our intention to work with CARA and the Munster Rugby to identify other schools that may be interested in participating in the programme at a future date,” explained Ms Shea.