A Newbridge XV will play an invitational XV from the Defence Forces Training Centre for the Dobey Cup in what will be the first floodlit match at the newly revamped Rosetown on Friday night (KO: 7.30pm)…

Commandant Barney Dobey (1931-1981) was President of the Curragh RFC for two years between 1977-79.

It was an exciting time for the club. Barney had a drive and enthusiasm for the Curragh which was infectious.

Gerry McMahon was Chairman for the same two years and they were both involved in building a club house extension and laying a new pitch on the Green Road.

Barney was a strong advocate of a community based club and knew that Army was just one important element of the greater rugby community. Civilians were playing for the club for the first time during this era, Barry O’Sullivan, Mick Walsh, Steve Kinneavy, Sean Hayes (nephew of Joan and Barney Dobey) to name a few. Some years later Barney’s son Brian played No 8 for the first team, this would have given Barney great joy.

In that first year as president, Barney helped recruit a Welsh coach Bob Cole who brought a whole new dimension to the Curragh team in that famous 1977/78 season. The team reached the final of the Towns Cup; won their section of the J1 league and qualified for the first round of the Leinster Senior Cup. They also played in the J1 league final – victory could have meant senior status, but it wasn’t to be.

Barney resigned as president in 1979 when he was posted to the Middle East for 18 months. After his untimely death in August 1981, aged only 49, Barney’s wife Joan donated a trophy in memory of Barney.

The Curragh RFC in conjunction with the North Midlands area ran an underage competition for a number of years up until the early nineties. For many young players in the North Midlands clubs in the eighties and nineties this was their first piece of silverware.

The Dobey family (Martin, Sheila, Paul, Brian, Greg and Kevin) wish for the trophy to be played for again. They believe that a fixture between an Army XV and a Newbridge XV is an appropriate remembrance of their father Barney and of his views and aspirations for rugby. The family hopes that new bonds of friendship can be built between Civvy and Army and that rugby in Newbridge benefits.

Barney was born in Roscommon but lived in Newbridge for almost half his life. If he were alive at the time of the merger, he would have been a strong supporter of the foundation of Newbridge RFC. It is appropriate that the inaugural fixture coincides with the turning on of the new floodlights at the Newbridge RFC grounds.

The Dobey family are thrilled to have Barney’s love of rugby, Newbridge and the Army remembered and celebrated in an annual fixture. It is a fine trophy – and any team should be proud to have it in their cabinet.

Visit www.newbridgerugby.com for details and directions.