Rugby League Ireland (RLI) is today delighted to announce that we have received substantial funding from the Rugby League International Federation to aid the development of the recent under 18 project.
The grant will be allocated towards the formation of an under 18 national side as well as the expansion of the schools rugby league programme which was launched in March.
To date schools from Drogheda and Belfast have taken part in the programme with plans to expand in Leinster and Ulster followed by introducing the programme into schools in Munster and Connaught.
As part of the programme RLI have targeted a four team Origin Series to take place in 2015 with the aim to have Ulster, Leinster, Munster and Connaught taking part in the series.
At present RLI are in talks to establish two under 18 international fixtures which will take place in 2014. The squad for the international fixtures will be selected from players who took part in the 2014 Origin Series and will be the first under 18 squad to be operated fully by RLI.
Speaking about the grant RLI Director Richard Egan said, “This is a massive boost to our schools programme which was started this year. We have had a number of people working hard to get this project off the ground. So far the project has been a complete success with nearly eighty students taking part in rugby league events for the first time.”
“RLI would like to thank those who have gotten this project up and running as without them it would not have happened. Conor Kelly has been instrumental in RLI receiving this grant and with the support of Anthony McCreery and Wayne Kelly will now be in a position to push the development of underage rugby league further thanks to this support from RLIF.”
RLI will announce further details of the under 18 international fixtures once they are finalised and would like to thank all those who have contributed to the programme so far.
A previous under 18 squad was operated by the Rugby Football League making this the first under 18 set up operated by Rugby League Ireland. The squad will be selected solely from domestic based players who have taken part in the schools programme. With the implementation of an under 18 squad RLI now operates four national squads. (Under 18, Students, A Team, Senior Team)