Coleraine Rugby Club is celebrating as yet another international player rises from its ranks.
Last week Cameron Fulton played for the victorious Ireland Under-18 club team in Italy, earning his first international cap in the process. Already an established figure in the Ulster Under-19 setup, Cameron made the step up to Irish colours in his favoured scrum-half position.
Seventeen-year-old Cameron, a sports and exercise science student, was still excited when he turned up for training at the club last week. He said: “It was a really fantastic experience and it was great honour to represent my club and the country.
“It is such a brilliant, professional setup to join. Everything is taken so seriously and there is no room for mistakes – it is just so good.
“I went to two training camps in Dublin and made the final selection, on the bench, for the Italy international. It was fantastic news – I could hardly believe it.
“We got all the kit and flew together to Italy from Dublin and the match was played at Colorno Rugby Club near Milan. We were there for three days.
“In the game Ireland won, 9-26, the first time an Irish youth team has ever won away to Italy. I got on for the last period and it was great to get into the action. The entire panel got on – that was 23 new caps for Ireland.”
Now Cameron has to wait to see if he makes the panel for the Irish side again for a two-day competition in France which would see the side face the England and France. First there are two training camps, then potential selection.
Cameron said: “First I have to get picked for the camps and then it is up to me to perform for selection to the team. I will be working hard and putting everything into it to try and make the squad.
“To do that I will be playing for Coleraine every week and training with the Ulster Under-19 squad at Ballymena every week as well. I will be putting everything into my rugby.”
Cameron started his rugby career with the Mini Rugby section at Coleraine Rugby Club. He progressed to Coleraine Inst, playing in teams up to the Firsts but came back to the club scene when he moved to Northern Regional College to study. He also played for Ulster Under-16 and Under-18 Schools as well as moving on to Under-18 Ulster Clubs and now the full Ulster Under-19 squad.
At Coleraine, youth coaches Dessie Smith and Glen McKnight are full of praise for Cameron.
Glen said: “He has been a big influence on the squad since his return to the club. His energy and commitment at the back of the scrum lifts the entire team every game.
“He has a long pass and the ability to mix options which works very well for us, and in training he always listens and puts things into practice.”
Dessie said: “I see a great future for Cameron. He has a lot of talent, he is willing to work and he has the skill level to go all the way.
“He has the respect of his fellow players on the field. They all want him there, his enthusiasm and commitment rubs off on them and he has helped develop a lot of his teammate’s skills.
“The club are fully behind Cameron – we are there to support his development. Glen and I are looking forward to watching Cameron in full representative games in the future.”
For now Cameron will be training and playing hard – and keeping a watchful eye to the letterbox for the arrival of that hard-earned first Ireland cap.