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Ireland and Ulster Rugby star, Craig Gilroy, joined almost 400 minis in Armagh RFC for the first of five festivals



Last Saturday, over 390 mini rugby players from 25 rugby clubs across Ulster descended on Armagh RFC to take part in the opening Aviva Mini Rugby Festival. There, they met Ireland and Ulster Rugby player, Craig Gilroy, who shared his knowledge with the enthusiastic young hopefuls of Irish rugby.

The Festival gave teams a chance to develop their skills as they played each other learning new ways to play in a non-competitive and fun environment. Each of the minis received a special medal, and a certificate signed by Ireland rugby stars, Rory Best, Jamie Heaslip and Robbie Henshaw.

The event was the first of five festivals that will take place across the country throughout the season.  Each province will host a festival with hundreds of young players taking part, before the National Aviva Mini Rugby Festival takes place at the Aviva Stadium in  May 2018.

The next provincial festival takes place in Leinster (Tullamore RFC) on the 21st October, followed the next day by Munster (UL Bohs RFC) and a week later, by Connacht (Galway Corinthians RFC) on the 28th October. Each team taking part in the provincial Festivals will be in with a chance to play at the National Aviva Mini Rugby Festival at the Aviva Stadium in 2018.

As an enthusiastic supporter of grassroots sports, Aviva will be running a host of activities this season in conjunction with the hugely popular Mini Rugby Festivals. This will include a Pop-Up Festival and competitions on social media for clubs to win training equipment. In addition, Aviva will be giving two clubs a once in a lifetime opportunity to play at half time during the Ireland v Fiji game which takes place in November at Aviva Stadium. To see how your club can get involved go to


Craig Gilroy, Ulster & Ireland player, said;

‘It was fantastic to see so many kids out playing. I still remember my time playing in Bangor minis and I loved being out in all weathers. The kids were having so much fun and it is what rugby is all about at their age. Having Aviva involved is great as it really shows their commitment to every level of the game from mini rugby right up to the Aviva Stadium.’

Mark Russell, Aviva Sponsorship Manager, said; “We’re delighted to have kicked off this season’s Aviva Mini Rugby Festivals with a fantastic event in Armagh RFC. It was wonderful to bring so many teams together from across Ulster, who might not get the opportunity to play each other very often. These Festivals have gone from strength to strength in recent years which shows the continued growth of rugby at a young age and we look forward to another successful season with the Leinster, Munster, Connacht and National Festivals all to come.”

For more information on the Aviva Mini Rugby Provincial Festivals then log on to or email


For further information:

Lydia Tierney, FleishmanHillard:​​          085 713 8810 /

Paul Cahill, FleishmanHillard:               087 766 5000 /


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