Irish rugby stars Donnacha Ryan, Andrew Trimble and Sean Cronin teamed up with Ulster Bank’s Stephen Cruise (Head of Branch Banking, Private and Financial Planning NI) to highlight the return of Ulster Bank RugbyForce, a community initiative which provides rugby clubs with the opportunity to win support packages to renovate their clubs and upgrade facilities.
New for this year, in addition to the four provincial winners, will be one winner selected by public vote and all five clubs will receive a £5,000/€5,000 prize plus a special training session from an IRFU coach and two Irish Rugby stars. Donaghadee RFC were the Ulster provincial winners in 2012 and Ballymoney RFC were the 2011 Ulster provincial winners.
The closing date for entries is Friday April 12 2013. Those clubs who are shortlisted but not selected by the judges as winners will take part in a public vote between April 22 and April 26 when club members and their local community supporters can vote for the club of their choice.
Now in its third year, Ulster Bank continues to actively support grassroots rugby through their partnership with the IRFU as the ‘Official Community Partner’. Last year Ulster Bank RugbyForce received entries from almost 100 clubs across the island of Ireland with 54 clubs receiving funding and hundreds of volunteers from the clubs and communities taking part in the designated Ulster Bank RugbyForce Day.
Ulster Bank RugbyForce encourages rugby supporters, their friends and families to give something back to their local community and rugby club by volunteering to undertake renovations to clubhouses and grounds. The first 50 clubs to register will £250/€250 towards their RugbyForce event. Clubs must register for Ulster Bank RugbyForce online by Friday April 12 2013.
The initiative is part of RBS Group’s, Ulster Bank’s parent company, wider RugbyForce programme that is delivered with their retail divisions partners across the UK. In partnership with the respective rugby unions and underpinned by their sponsorship of the RBS 6 Nations, the initiative helps clubs at the grassroots of the game to improve their facilities.
The four winners of the 2012 Ulster Bank RugbyForce were Ballyhaunis RFC in Mayo, Killarney RFC in Kerry, Newbridge RFC in Kildare and Donaghadee RFC in Down. Renovations and refurbishments in these clubs included upgrading changing rooms, replacement of essential training equipment and development of underage structures.
Rugby fans can now get the latest club and international rugby content on the go, with the Ulster Bank Rugby iPhone app. Ulster Bank League fixtures, results, news and analysis can be accessed on Ulster Bank’s rugby Facebook and Twitter pages. Rugby clubs can enter RugbyForce on Ulster Bank’s dedicated rugby website – www.ulsterbank.com/rugby - where extensive analysis and information on previous RugbyForce winners can also be found.