STUDENTS with general learning needs attending the Catherine McAuley School in Limerick city are benefiting from a new initiative enabling them to experience tag rugby, a previously inaccessible sport for many.
The Adapted Tag Rugby programme could also be rolled out to other special needs schools throughout Limerick, as part of the recently-launched Xcessible Youth Sport Initiative.
The three-year national initiative is aimed at increasing the participation of children with disabilities in physical activity and sport.
The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) in conjunction with CARA Adapted Physical Activity Centre Ltd, Limerick Sports Partnership and Garryowen RFC are facilitating weekly sessions at the South Circular Road school.
Catherine McAuley School deputy principal Joe McCarthy described the Adapted Tag Rugby programme as an “exciting addition to the school curriculum and one that suits the physical education needs of our students”.
Euan Gee, community rugby officer for Munster Rugby commented: “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.
“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.”
Elaine Shea, Limerick Sports Inclusion disability officer said: “We are delighted to support the Adapted Tag Rugby programme, which aims to give a fun introduction to the game of Tag Rugby using modified games and activities, suitable to both indoor and outdoor use.”
“It gives access to tag rugby equipment and resources materials, as well as upskilling for teachers, who may use the programme as a support to the PE curriculum or as an afterschool programme. 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.”