One in four children in Connacht dream of playing sport for Ireland

UL Bohemians, Munster and Irish Rugby International, Eimear Considine & Head Coach of La Rochelle, Ronan O’Gara have teamed up with Aviva Ireland to launch the Aviva Mini Rugby Virtual Skills Hub

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Reporter:

Leitrim Observer Reporter

One in four children in Connacht dream of playing sport for Ireland

Irish Women's Rugby Union Player Eimear ConsidineImages by Inpho Photography

Aviva recently launched the Safe To Dream Team, an online hub which aims to improve access for young people on their sporting journey within clubs or at home, through online skills videos, and advice and support from leading sports ambassadors. Despite the current Covid-19 restrictions, Aviva Ireland, proud sponsors of the IRFU and the men’s and Women’s National Football Teams, will ensure children across Connacht can continue to improve their skills and knowledge, and enjoy pursuing their sporting dreams through the Aviva Mini Rugby and Soccer Sister programmes delivered through the Safe To Dream Team.

The first members of the Safe To Dream Team; Irish International and Munster rugby player Eimear Considine and legendary Irish International flyhalf and current La Rochelle Head Coach Ronan O’Gara teamed up to announce the Aviva Mini Rugby Virtual Skills Hub. This will take place over next week’s mid-term break from Monday 15th February 2021 to Friday 19th February 2021. Connacht’s future rugby stars will have the chance to build their confidence and hone their skills, developed by IRFU coaches and hosted by Eimear Considine.

New independent research*, commissioned by Aviva Ireland amongst parents in Connacht, has revealed that one in four children dream of pulling on the green jersey and representing their country. 93% of parents in Connacht believe their child should be able to dream to grow up to be anything they want to be. Results from the research highlight that, while over 85% of parents believe their children’s dreams motivate them to be the best they can be, 39% of parents in the province fear that Covid-19 has had a significant impact on their children and their aspirations.

The pandemic has hugely impacted on many sectors of society in Ireland, with grassroots sports in particular feeling the impact of Covid-19. With restricted access to games and training since March of last year, children across Ireland have had little chance to improve their skills, grow their confidence and enjoy the benefits that sport can offer - seven in ten parents state that sport has had a positive impact on their child’s wellbeing.

The research further showed that four out of every five Connacht parents believe that now more than ever children need the chance to pursue their dreams safely. Aviva, as proud supporters of grassroots rugby and football, understands the importance of dreaming and, through the Safe to Dream Team, will support parents and clubs to enable children’s futures by creating a safe space for them to pursue their sporting dreams, beginning with the Aviva Mini Rugby Virtual Skills Hub. 

Speaking at the launch, Lisa Bergin, Sponsorship Manager at Aviva Ireland, said: “As proud sponsors of the IRFU and the FAI, we are delighted to offer this initiative and seek to support parents and clubs across the country in these challenging times. The Aviva Mini Rugby Virtual Skills Hub is a fantastic way for children across the country, of different ages and abilities, to improve their skills in a safe environment. Eimear, and Ronan are sharing their stories to inspire Irish children on what can be achieved when they dream big and we are looking forward to introducing additional ambassadors, more skills, and additional content over the coming months.”

Ronan O’Gara, former Irish International and Safe to Dream Team ambassador, also commented: “Growing up, it was always my dream to play for Ireland. All of my achievements in the green shirt were fuelled by the power of those dreams along with hard work and some luck. I’m delighted to play a role as part of the Safe To Dream Team in helping children to continue to enjoy a safe environment where they can play sport grow and continue to chase their sporting dreams. I’ve coached children throughout my career, and I know how vital it is to give children a platform to push their limits, and support their physical and mental wellbeing.”

Eimear Considine, UL Bohemians, Munster and Irish International Rugby Player, and Safe to Dream Team ambassador added: “I always wanted to represent Ireland in sport, but little did I know I would do so playing rugby as I was a relatively late starter. It has been a dream come true for me to play for Ireland, and it’s a dream for lots of children.  I work with children every day as a teacher, and I know very well what a challenging time it is right now for both them and their parents all over the country. I think initiatives like the Safe To Dream Team will offer a valuable support for them to keep connected to their sport, and their passions, at a time when they need it most.”

The Aviva Mini Rugby Virtual Skills Hub will offer a range of in-depth videos and walkthroughs of key rugby skills, from Throw & Clap and Pass & Place to Kick Tennis and Rats & Rabbits. With the launch of the Aviva Soccer Sisters programme soon to be announced, Aviva is ensuring parents and clubs have access to the best advice and support – creating an environment where it is safe to dream.

To take part in the Aviva Mini Rugby Virtual Skills Hub and to be in with a chance to win prizes for your family or kits for your club, and receive discounts on your car and home insurance, families and clubs across Connacht & Ireland are invited to sign up at www.aviva.ie/safetodreamteam.