Clondalkin RFC were last week announced as the Leinster junior club of the year when the awards for the 2013/14 season were communicated to the winners by the Irish Rugby Football Union.
In their 40th anniversary year, this is a considerable achievement for Clondalkin RFC after a successful season on and off the field.
The announcement was made by club president Tom Duffy on Facebook last week, after IRFU Leinster Branch president Paul Deering contacted Duffy to inform him that the club had won the prestigious award.
Duffy spoke to GazetteSport last week and explained why the club had been selected for the honour.
“It’s very humbling and we are absolutely thrilled. The award is in recognition of all things we are doing on and off the pitch as a club. Former winners would have been Skerries, Boyne and Tullamore, so we are in illustrious company.
“Three or four years ago, we were the only junior clubs in Ireland to be picked for a club excellence award, and in just the last week, the women’s team won the Leinster title, the Paul Flood Cup,” said Duffy.
“There’s a lot of things happening – The Under-19s are in the Division 2 final, the Under-17s are in the Leinster Plate semi-final, and the fourth team were in the Division 11 final. We are ticking all the right boxes across the board. We have a lot of development going on as well, applying for Lottery funding to improve the facilities at the club.”
The club has become a firm fixture in the Clondalkin community and membership and attendance at Gordon Park has steadily grown through the year as the club have stuck to their core values, explained Duffy.
“Our ethos is an open-door policy; we accept all-comers, whether people have played before or not. Because we had that policy, we have been picking up players who have been at the end of their GAA careers at 28 or 29, and because of their natural fitness, make excellent rugby players. But that applies at all levels of the club, and has been in place since the club was founded 40 years ago.
“Our investment into our underage set-up has also helped put us where we are and is a foundation for the future. We have people actively involved in the schools throughout the local area, which creates an interest.
“Clondalkin is not necessarily a rugby heartland in terms of the sports played and supported here, but we are making inroads into that.”
The presentation of the honour will be made at the annual Leinster Rugby Ball at the Mansion house in Dublin on May 3.