Girls Play Rugby, Too!
4-7 (Barbarians), 2-7 (Cailíní)
In 2014, the Barbarians were joined in Division 2 (Divisions replacing Tiers in 2014) by the other veteran clubs from the area , and the new Illinois Central Rugby Conference was formed, reuniting the Barbarians with several old rivals from the former Iowa / Illinois Rugby Conference. The Barbarians finished the season with a disappointing 4-7 record, but the season was a success nevertheless. The 4th annual fundraiser to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation raised over $5000, which was close to a new record. Also, the team showed Barbarian resolve in overcoming adversity brought on by inexperience and injuries and finished on a strong note with a 41-7 victory over Sycamore to close out the season at the IYRA championship series in Rockford on Memorial Day.
A surprising development in 2014 was the appearance of the Cailíní, a girls side to join the Barbarians in the CRFC family. Arieyll Boling, sister of one of the Barbarians, asked at a club meeting about playing and was told it would only be possible as part of a girls team. Two days later 17 girls showed at an after-school meeting organized entirely by students, and they quickly asked to be allowed to register as part of CRFC. It would not be long before the Cailíní started practices and then took to the pitch.
The Cailíní showed their inexperience but made great strides throughout the year. They played their first ever games at home on March 22 when Plainfield, Palatine, and Rockford visited. The first ever Cailíní try was scored their next outing, on April 12 at Plainfield, recording two tries. The first win came on April 26 in a 10-on-10 match against visiting Waubonsie Valley. A record-setting fundraiser for JDRF on May 3 was fueled in large part by the addition of the Cailíní, who took on a combined side from Palatine, Rockford, and Waubonsie Valley on May 3 after the Quad City Barbies were forced to withdraw from the match. An appearance in the IYRA girls championship match against powerhouse Plainfield on May 26 capped off the season, and despite a 47-0 loss, the Cailíní showed impressively. In addition, several of the girls on the team were invited to participate on the Tornadoes all-state select side. Not a bad showing for season one, and with only two seniors graduating, 2014 ended with a lot of promise for future success.
0-4 (Barbarians), 3-4 (Cailíní)
The Cailíní looked forward to a promising 2015, graduating only two seniors from their debut season and losing one other to relocation. However, the year got off to a rough start when several members of the team were injured in a car accident in the winter. The injured girls recovered and joined the team, but a couple other girls had to drop out for medical reasons. The season ensued, and the ladies got off to a slow start but improved each game.
Tragedy struck mid-season, on a Wednesday night after the Cailíní finished a rare mid-week home match against Plainfield, when one of the Cailíní that had to sit the season out due to medical issues took her own life. The tragedy was one that could have destroyed a team, but it served to pull the girls together, as well as the boys. They showed the spirit of champions.
The Cailíní finished the season with the third seed in the state tournament, but plagued by injuries, they finished in fourth place after failing to avenge a season-opening loss to the second seed Rockford Ravens and then losing a heartbreaker to a Fox Valley Chiefs team they had beaten soundly a few weeks before.
The Barbarians faced uncharacteristic recruiting struggles and fielded a team of young, inexperienced players led by a handful of veterans. The inexperience and lack of depth showed on the pitch, but the boys never gave up, playing valiantly to the end of each match even when victory was not in sight.
2015 Barbarian Season Results
2015 Cailíní Season Results
0-6 (Barbarians), 4-2 (Cailíní)
In 2016, the Barbarians continued the rebuilding process, starting the season with only a handful of experienced players and many new recruits joining late in the preseason. The inexperience and lack of depth was reflected on the pitch, but the boys showed great improvement and a never-give-up attitude throughout the season. Two exciting and high scoring matches against Peoria were highlights of the season.
The Cailíní entered their third season as part of a growing girls high school league that divided into two divisions, and the ladies from Chillicothe found themselves in division 1 with other top teams. For the second straight year, the Cailíní finished the season with the third seed in the state tournament, but once again plagued by late season injuries and bringing only 12 girls to the championships, they finished in fourth place after losing in the third place match to Sycamore on Memorial Day.
2016 Barbarians Season Results
2016 Cailíní Season Results