posted on May 23rd, 2024

Two Belfast-based CIYMS Mini Rugby U11 Teams Win Top Standings

Young athletes from East Belfast’s CIYMS (Church of Ireland Young Men’s Society) Rugby Club’s mini section recently showcased their prowess at the renowned Tiger’s Challenge Rugby Festival, held in Minehead, West Somerset, taking home top honours in the U11 competition.

The tournament, which hosted 44 under 11 teams from across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, saw CIYMS emerge victorious with not one, but both of their teams, the CIYMS Sharks and CIYMS Bulls, winning top spot in their ‘winner’s groups’.

The journey to victory was marked by outstanding teamwork, determination and the support of the players’ families. A total of 25 boys, accompanied by their fathers, many of whom serves as coaches throughout their rugby journey, were part of the memorable final P7 rugby club tour.

Among the 44 teams vying for the top spots were four other mini sections in clubs from Northern Ireland: Ballyclare, Coleraine, Ballymena and Rainey (Magherafelt) Rugby Clubs.

Remarkably, Rainey and Coleraine shared top spot in the third winners group alongside the two CIYMS teams, a huge statement as to the quality of mini rugby in the province.

The tournament unfolded with both CIYMS teams navigating separate group stages, each facing three intense matches on the first day. Playing teams from South Weals, Warwickshire, Oxford, West Midlands and Gloucester, both squads advanced to the group made up of only first places, on the final day. Unfazed, they each then secured victories in all three of their final games.

On the final evening, a celebrity presentation ceremony was one of the highlights for the boys, who were cheered on by their NI peers with a resounding chorus of “Stand Up for the Ulster Men”.

Renowned rugby figure Martin Johnson CBE, a legend in the sport with a distinguished career representing England and Leicester, present the medals to the triumphant CIYMS teams.

Reflecting on the historic win, CIYMS U11 coach, Andrew Campbell, expressed immense pride. He said: “This is a phenomenal accomplishment for the boys in their primary seven year. Many of the players began their rugby journey at CIYMS in P1, turning up week in and week out to training and showing true dedication to reach this pinnacle.”

Andrew added: “The invaluable support from parents and sponsors, must be recognised in this victory. Their contributions played a vital role in the teams’ success.”

Among the sponsors are DCS, Lonsdale Capital Partners, ASAP, PDK Partners, Lowe Refrigeration, Hutchison White Ltd and Bywater Properties.

The Tiger’s Challenge Rugby Festival, hailed as the ultimate UK rugby tour, provides a platform for young athletes to showcase their talent and sportsmanship. Staged exclusively at Butlin’s Bognor Regis (West Sussex) and Butlin’s Minehead (Somerset), over 5000 future stars of the game participated in the 2024 edition.

Fellow coach Gareth Rea, added: “CIYMS Rugby Club extends its gratitude to the tournament organisers, sponsors and supporters for their unwavering encouragement and commitment to mini rugby development. The triumph at the Tiger’s Challenge Rugby Festival is the conclusion of a lot of hard work and support from many parties. Congratulations to our teams for putting the hard work in.”

East Belfast CIYMS Mini Rugby U11 players.

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