The committee of Clogher Valley RFC never had a moment’s hesitation in vowing to do everything it could to support its playing squad in pursuing their dream of playing All Ireland rugby, according to club President Mark Henderson.

The club will make history when they play their first ever All Ireland League match on Saturday, and that transition to senior rugby club comes with added financial and logistical pressures, but everyone within the club is fully committed to making the transition a success.

“There was never any doubt that if we qualified into it then we would follow on and support them any way we can,” admitted Mark.

“That is what we have continued to do, and we will try to grow the club from strength to strength.

“There is a fair bit of extra funding to find.

“We have been very lucky, and we have got a few extra sponsors on board, albeit that All Ireland rugby brought them on, which has been useful to us.

“That has been offset with the financial burden of All Ireland rugby and I suppose we will not know until the end of the season really, but it is something that the lads wanted to do and us as a club had to support them and back them in that.

“We will just have to address it when it comes along. We recently doubled the size of our car parking because our crowds have been increasing.

“Even last year, before we went to the All Ireland, they were increasing.

“It has had a really good impact around the area and we are very content with the amount of support we are getting from the public and the community.”

The league fixture list will take Clogher Valley to grounds as far afield as Cork and Tipperary, and the travel is another aspect of All Ireland rugby that they will have to adapt to.

“We had a few trips last year with the All Ireland Junior Cup and we were down the length of Limerick and had overnight stays,” recalled Mark.

“It’s just organising what night we are going to be staying. We have the likes of Midleton which is a bit of a trek, but we are looking forward to it too.

“The manager of the team, Ritchie Haire, will work with the boys and find out what they want to do and what nights they want to stay and what way they want to travel. There is a good backroom staff there that is keeping well on top of that stuff.”

The leap to the All Ireland league marks another step in the rapid rise of the club that was formed back in 1990.

Mark admits that when he was sitting around a table in the Four Ways Hotel in Fivemiletown discussing the possibility of forming a local rugby club almost 35 years ago, he never dreamed they would have the success that they have experienced in recent years.

“I know in any sport you want to go out and achieve as much as you can and play the best you can, but 35 years later we never expected to be sitting in 2C All Ireland rugby,” he admitted.

“There is a serious amount of people over the years that have all contributed to that, and are still thankfully about the club and we see on a regular basis, which is brilliant.

“I think with the All Ireland thing, and the play offs, there was people I maybe hadn’t seen for four or five years about the club and they wanted to come and say they were still supporting us, and that is very important.”