Bad news for young Kilkenny rugby fans as Leinster cancel summer camps

Kilkenny Sport

Leinster Rugby's Summer Camps, which were hugely popular in Kilkenny, have been cancelled for 2020

Leinster Rugby's Bank of Ireland Summer Camps have been cancelled for 2020.

Over 4,600 players attended the 2019 summer programme for Leinster Rugby in what was a record year, with attendance up 8% on the previous year. Kilkenny has hosted the camp, with Foulkstown proving a popular venue for fans of the game.

"Unfortunately, we feel that we have little choice but to cancel these camps," said Leinster Rugby Head of Rugby Development Philip Lawlor. "The health and safety of our staff and of the attendees is of paramount importance and with social distancing likely to remain with us for some time in one form or another it is not practical to continue these camps this summer.

"We do however remain committed to examining other options on a reduced scale later in the summer, should the situation change and of course, in keeping with HSE guidelines. But until that change happens, we feel we must give parents, attendees, the host clubs and schools and indeed our staff the clarity so that they can plan accordingly.

"The cancellation and the loss of income will be keenly felt across the domestic rugby programme going forward. Coming on the back of the cancellation last week of our season tickets it has certainly been a difficult few weeks for us all in Leinster Rugby."

As outlined by Leinster Rugby CEO Mick Dawson last week, over €4,000,000 is invested in the domestic rugby programme annually.

This helps rugby coaching and playing programmes in 74 clubs, 445 primary and 210 secondary schools and a few of the headline figures include:

Since 2011 a 32% increase in spend on rugby development
25% increase in those playing the game to 76,000
41 Club Community Rugby Officers, 11 Community Rugby Officers, 5 Coach Development Officers, 3 Women's Development Officers, 3 Elite Player Development Officers, 2 Strength & Conditioning Coaches

"The reality is that Leinster Rugby needs our rugby officers out in our communities assisting coaches, players and volunteers in these difficult times. It will be in our communities that the future of our game will remain strong through boys and girls playing in their clubs and schools and enjoying their rugby," continued Lawlor.

"The future and what that engagement looks like right now is difficult to predict but I have been very proud of how Declan Fassbender and the Community Rugby staff have managed this situation. Regarding the camps this summer, any and all solutions were looked at and we still retain some hope of offering some Summer Camp options in late July and early August on a reduced and modified scale.

"Until then anyone that has paid for any one of our four offerings can be assured that a full refund will be made or should they wish they can pay forward to next summer’s offering when hopefully all will be back up and running as normal. Should we be in a position to offer a new Summer Camp offering we will communicate that offering in the coming weeks, as always, subject in the first instance to Government and HSE guidelines."

Leinster Rugby has confirmed that options for a full refund or to pay the credit forward to the summer 2021 programme will be communicated to attendees in the coming days.

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.