REFLECTION ON LAST NIGHTS RONAN COSTELLO MEMORIAL FESTIVAL
Huddersfield Giants Player Welfare and Education Manager, Steve Hardisty, spoke to giantsrl.com about last night’s Ronan Costello Memorial Festival.
Hardisty reflected on the Festival which drew in hundreds of people to remember the former Giants Academy player:
“It was a brilliant evening. I thought it was bigger than last year and it was a fantastic tribute. Seeing that number of junior players playing rugby league made it a great evening.
“I felt really privileged to be able to make a speech to introduce the event. There were a lot of community coaches present that had brought their younger teams down and had worked with Ronan or known him from the community game as well. I just wanted to touch on the reasons why we have this festival and the last few days have been a time to reflect. There’s a great deal of sadness attached but at the same time this is a chance to celebrate Ronan’s life and last night was a true reflection that even after his passing Ronan’s legacy lives on.
“Certain days will always have memories of Ronan attached, regardless of whether it’s two years since his passing or twenty-two. There’s things that happen that change people’s lives, and I am changed after those events. Out of the sadness there is great pride as well that we continue to celebrate his life. As I said last night, he was an exemplary academy player, he embraced every aspect of academy life whether that’s the hard-work that’s required on the training field and in the gym but also the holistic side with his college work. He was a well-rounded individual and those things that he lived his life by; honesty, hard-work and respect, are qualities the academy prides itself on, Ronan was a really good example of that.”
Hardisty also praised the work done by Chris Cullimore (Giants Community Manager), his team of Community Development Officers and the Huddersfield Giants Community Trust to organise the event which saw over 250 children compete in small sided-games:
“The Community team did an absolutely tremendous job organising the event. It’s not easy to pull that amount of people together and organise them and make sure everything is in the right place. It was a fantastic event to the point where Ronan’s family commented on how much of a tremendous spectacle it was and it was a really proud moment for the Club.
“It’s a great advert for junior rugby league in the town. They all harbour ambitions of playing Super League one day, if we can provide that setting for them and they get an understanding of the meaning behind the tournament then that helps keep Ronan’s spirit alive. It was a very proud evening and it was brilliant to be part of it.”
The Community Clubs were joined by the Giants coaching staff, first-team and academy squads who showed their support of the event by interacting with supporters and having photos taking with the participating teams, and Hardisty was pleased to see the Club show their backing for the event:
“It’s important that the whole Club buys into it. With the nature of a rugby league Club there is a turnover of players so there were players there last night that didn’t necessarily know Ronan but it’s something they are made aware of and it’s very important they embrace that and understand he is part of the ID and culture of the Club. The young children seeing the first-team and academy players there last night mingling with everyone else, especially players like Ryan Hinchcliffe, Jake Mamo, Ukuma Ta’ai, Leroy Cudjoe, Michael Lawrence, Jermaine McGillvary deserve a big mention. Local players continue to really endorse the things that we do here, even a day before a game they found the time to come to show their support and pass on their expertise, real credit to those people.”