The 2012/2013 Ulster Bank League has given us great entertainment and a nail biting climax that we couldn’t have predicted. Now it’s the time of year again for new beginnings in clubs the country over. New members will be joining with fresh hopes, dreams and renewed tactics.
Rugbyis enjoying increasing popularity with the recent success of our national and provincial sides. However, where would Irish rugby be without the dedication shown in rugby clubs the length and breadth of the country? From underage to first-team players, hundreds of coaches pledge years to the development of players – players who week in week out, dedicate their time, their talent and their weekends to ensure that rugby continues to thrive at a local, provincial and national level.
This is Ulster Bank’s fourth season as the Official Community Rugby Partner to the IRFU, a partnership which includes title sponsorship of the All-Ireland Club League and of the Irish Club International team.
As part of our ongoing commitment to communities across Irelandand our understanding that rugby clubs are the foundations of Irish rugby, we created a club initiative called ‘Ulster Bank RugbyForce’. The programme, which coincides with our overall sponsorship, is designed to provide rugby clubs with support to renovate and upgrade their facilities as well as unite club members and local volunteers.
Over 300 clubs from all over the country have entered RugbyForce to date. Each year four lucky clubs, one from each province, are awarded €5,000 worth of goods and resources. The five winning clubs for 2012 – ‘13 (Richmond RFC, Birr RFC, Newry RFC, Midleton RFC and Westport RFC) took part in the recent Ulster Bank RugbyForce Winning Weekends, which brought entire communities together to spend the day renovating their club’s facilities. See ulsterbank.com/rugby for more details and look out for your chance to enter your club in this season’s Ulster Bank RugbyForce programme.
I speak for everyone at Ulster Bank when I say best of luck to all the teams and we are excited to see how the 2013/20014 unfolds.
Ellvena Graham, Ulster Bank.