Irish rugby stars Fergus McFadden, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross lined-out recently in University College Dublin along with Seamus Horan of Ballyhaunis RFC, Co Mayo, to mark the return of Ulster Bank’s RugbyForce, an initiative which provides rugby clubs with the opportunity to win support packages to renovate their club and upgrade their facilities. This year, five clubs will receive a €5,000 prize, with one coming down to a public vote. The winning clubs will also receive a special training session from an IRFU coach and two Irish Rugby stars.
Now it in its third year, Ulster Bank continues to show their dedication to grassroots rugby through their partnership with the IRFU as the ‘Official Community Partner’. Last year Ulster Bank RugbyForce received entries from almost 100 clubs across the country, with 54 clubs receiving funding and hundreds of volunteers from the clubs and communities taking part in the designated Ulster Bank RugbyForce Day.
This year there will be five lucky winners of a support package worth €5,000, four provincial winners and one winner which will be voted by the public. Those clubs who are shortlisted but not selected by the judges as winners will then be put to a public vote, whereby club and community members can vote for the club of the choice from 22nd- 26th April 2013. The club with the highest number of votes will be named as the fifth winner of the support package. The winners will also receive the coveted prize of a training session with an IRFU coach and two IRFU players. The winning clubs will then carry out the improvements to their rugby facilities during the planned 2013 Ulster Bank RugbyForce Day.
Speaking at the launch, Jim Ryan, Managing Director, Branch Banking, Private & Advice, Ulster Bank said: “Ulster Bank is dedicated to the future of Irish rugby and it is great to see an initiative that supports clubs across the country. Support for club rugby continues to grow in Ireland due the outstanding development and performance of our provincial sides and Ulster Bank RugbyForce is a unique initiative that offers clubs the opportunity to improve their facilities while also bringing the community together.”
Ulster Bank RugbyForce encourages rugby supporters, their friends and families to give something back to their local community and rugby club by volunteering to undertake renovations to clubhouses and grounds. The first 50 clubs to register will receive €250 towards their RugbyForce event. Clubs must register for Ulster Bank RugbyForce online by Friday 12th April 2013.
The initiative is part of RBS Group’s, Ulster Bank’s parent company, wider RugbyForce programme that is delivered with their retail divisions partners across the UK. In partnership with the respective rugby unions and underpinned by their sponsorship of the RBS 6 Nations, the initiative helps clubs at the grassroots of the game to improve their facilities. Since RugbyForce’s launch in 2009 it has attracted a significant number of clubs to register.
The four winners of the 2012 Ulster Bank RugbyForce were Ballyhaunis RFC in Mayo, Killarney RFC in Kerry, Newbridge RFC in Kildare and Donaghdee RFC in Down. Renovations and refurbishments in these clubs included upgrading changing rooms, replacement of essential training equipment and development of underage structures.
Rugby fans can now get the latest club and international rugby content on the go, with the Ulster Bank Rugby iPhone app. Ulster Bank League fixtures, results, news and analysis can be accessed on Ulster Bank’s rugby Facebook and Twitter pages. Rugby clubs can enter RugbyForce on Ulster Bank’s dedicated rugby website – www.ulsterbank.com/rugby - where extensive analysis and information on previous RugbyForce winners can also be found.