International rugby star Paul O’Connell caused surprise, excitement and celebration when he called to Scoil Naomh Maodhóg, Ferns, and presented a cheque for €50,000 for the school’s sports facilities.
This was after Aldi and the IRFU announced winners of the hugely successful Aldi Play Rugby sticker competition for primary schools, which ran from January until April this year and involved 1,590 schools nationwide.
Launched by former Ireland and Munster Rugby Captain and Aldi Play Rugby Ambassador Paul O’Connell in January, the competition gave every primary school in the country the chance of winning one of two €50,000 sports facility makeovers.
Fortunately, Scoil Naomh Maodhóg from Ferns was one of the winners with the other cheque going to Scoil Naomh Treasa in Lifford, Co. Donegal.
John Halford, Principal at Ferns said; “We are beyond thankful and grateful to receive this prize. I would like to pay a special tribute to Mrs. Quinn who was the driving force behind the Aldi Play Rugby initiative in our school and without whose efforts we would not be in this extremely fortunate position. Also, thank you to all the pupils and families who brought in stickers, our deepest gratitude to the Play Rugby initiative sponsors, Aldi and finally to Paul O’ Connell he has truly left behind a lasting positive impression on the school and its pupils. Mile buíochas.”
Paul O’Connell said; “Speaking from experience, I know what a difference good quality coaching, equipment and facilities can make, especially in the early years of developing as a player. I’d like to congratulate all the schools who took part in the promotion and to the winning schools, no doubt the prizes will make a huge difference to the pupils and teachers alike.”
The Aldi Play Rugby programme has gone from strength to strength with over 100,000 children from over 1,200 primary schools across the country signed up to take part over the last 12 months – significantly, almost half of the children taking part (44%) are primary school girls aged between 7-12.
This programme forms part of Aldi’s commitment to supporting the communities it serves. Aldi recently achieved a target of donating 2 million meals to over 230 partner charities across the country through its partnership with FoodCloud, and The Aldi Community Grants programme has donated more than €250,000 since 2016 to community groups selected by each store.
As well as the winners of the two €50,000 sports facility upgrades, there were a host of additional prizes on offer. Four primary schools, one from each province, have won €2,500 worth of training equipment.