Stillorgan RFC: Club in Focus…
January 9, 2015 12:00 am client
In 1973, a group of past pupils students from Salesian Colleges got together with the aim of establishing a rugby club – 41 years later Stillorgan RFC continues to go from strength to strength…
The Stillorgan locality is a well-known GAA stronghold, with Kilmacud Crokes and St. Olaf’s regularly capturing local and national attention. It may come as a surprise to some that Stillorgan RFC is also an active sports club in the area.
Stillorgan RFC had humble beginnings and was established when a group of past pupils from Salesian Colleges at Salesian Colleges at Pallaskenry in Limerick, Warranstown in Meath and Ballinakill in County Laois came together with the intention of setting up a rugby club. Many of the founder members were new to the Dublin area and set out with the intention of establishing a ‘home-from-home’ for ex-Salesian pupils who were now living and working in the Dublin region.
The new club was named Salesians RFC and registered with the IRFU Leinster branch in 1973. The team entered the J3 league for season 1973-74 and played home games from Maynooth. Such was the buy-in to the newly founded club that Salesians RFC soon had sufficient numbers to field a 2nd XV. Initially, club colours were red jerseys with black collars and cuffs and black shorts. The club strip was changed in 1978 to reflect the school colours of the new Salesian college which opened in nearby Celbridge.
In the early 1980s the club moved its home ground from Maynooth to the Royal Hospital at Kilmainham. The strong growth of the club in its early years was reversed and the club suffered as a result of the retirement of founder-member players with no batch of new blood forthcoming to take their places. The early 1980s was an uncertain time for the club with many questioning its ability to survive and grow.
In the 1986-87 season the club again moved ground to CUS Sportsground at Bird Avenue, Clonskeagh, a location where the club continues to call home. The move to south Dublin opened the club up to a much wider potential player base, and a steady stream of new players aboard allowed for the re-introduction of a 2nd XV team. In order to align the club to the local area, a name change from Salesians RFC to Stillorgan RFC was ratified in advance of the 1994-95 season.
The 2000s has been the most successful period in the history of Stillorgan RFC. A steady stream of new players to the club has resulted in stronger squads and increased playing numbers. Further to this, the Stillorgan RFC 1st XV and 2nd XV teams reached both the J3 and J5 cup finals in 2007 claiming some significant scalps en route. In 2008 the Stillorgan1st XV reached the semi-final in both the league and cup competitions. A Mens 3rd XV was added to the club in 2009.
In 2008 the 1st XV team won the Spencer Pennant, beating Guinness RFC in the final. The winning didn’t stop there with the club going on to go undefeated to win the J3 league for the first time in their history. The club retained the Spencer Pennant title in 2009 and went on to win promotion to division J2A – the highest division the club ever played in.
Stillorgan RFC continues to compete against more established clubs, demonstrated by the 1st XV reaching the Spencer Cup Final in 2011. In the 2012-13 season Stillorgan RFC 1st XV reached the Albert O’Connell J2 Cup Final, losing out to a St. Mary’s College RFC.
From humble beginnings Stillorgan RFC has established itself as a tough competitor on the field and as an inclusive, friendly and welcoming club in the community. The club holds high standards and strives to be the club of choice for new players in the South Dublin area.
Stillorgan RFC has demonstrated its commitment to future growth and progression through investment in training facilities and in coaching – in 2014 signing an agreement with St. Benildus College to hold training sessions on the new all weather pitches in the college. The club also initiated a new coaching structure, which has led to the attraction of many new players to the club.
All in all, the future looks bright for Stillorgan RFC, From humble beginnings the club has grown to an established club of three Mens teams and a Minis section. Plans are afoot for future development, which is hoped will continue to attract new players to the club, and continue Stillorgan RFC’s ascent on the rugby ladder in Dublin.
Grounds: CUS Sportsground, Bird Avenue (Home Matches), St. Benildus College, Kilmacud (Training)
Club Colours: Maroon, Navy and White
Division: 1st XV – Metro Division 3, 2nd XV – Metro Division 8, 3rd XV – Metro Division 11
Minis: Boys and Girls from age 5.
Club Chairman: Daniel Shanahan