The MRC Lions - Mullingar’s special needs rugby team - is to play its first ever game next week against the world-famous Garryowen RFC.
Weather permitting, the game is scheduled for the rugby club on Monday February 24 at 12.30pm, with the all-weather pitch at St Loman’s GAA standing by just in case.
The MRC Lions started last May with the support of the Mullingar Resource Centre for adults with disabilities and Barry Coade, youth development officer at Mullingar RFC.
The men and women of the Lions returned to training following their Christmas break on Wednesday at 11.30am at the new sports centre in Columb Barracks.
“In May there were very few teams and no organisational structure from the rugby bodies, and Mullingar was the first centre to start this nationally. Previously, it had only been club-based, underage teams,” said Martin Nunan, one of the driving forces behind the Lions, and an instructor at the resource centre.
“Since then hoops have been jumped through and the IRFU have engaged with the structure and support of the game that we expect will grow exponentially,” he added.
Players on the Mullingar team range in age from 19 to 55, and come from Delvin, Castlepollard, Tyrellspass, as well as from the town.
The seven-a-side team is mixed gender, and the rules are very similar to tag rugby.
“All support is welcome for the first game of disability rugby to be played in the Midlands,” said Martin.