President’s Message Season 2016/17
Welcome one and all to Dublin University Football Club (D.U.F.C.). This Football Club, neatly nestled among the trees and historic buildings of the University of Dublin, has been accurately chronicled as the cradle of Irish rugby and was founded in the year of 1854. The Club is the oldest continuous Rugby Club in the world.
In 1854 rugby matches were played internally between student teams, such as Freshmen vs The Rest and `English` educated vs `Irish` educated. As the students eventually graduated and moved on, the game spread to other areas of Dublin with teams such as Wanderers F.C, Lansdowne F.C, Engineers and Bray plus others. Also the game went northwards with the foundation of N.I.F.C (now Belfast Harlequins,), Dungannon, Portora and other clubs.
There were no formalised laws of the game in those early bygone days and some far sighted Trinity students, notably led by Charles Barrington, drew up a set of 23 laws in “rooms` at no. 16 Botany Bay, Trinity College in January 1868. These rules were circulated to all other clubs and so it all began.
The past 3 seasons at Trinity saw the building of a very fine squad of players both at 1st XV and under 20s levels. This exceptional talent was so ably led by Club captains, Paddy Lavelle and Nick McCarthy and so brilliantly coached by Tony Smeeth, Hugh Maguire and many others including the often unsung strength and conditioning coaches. The Club wishes the new Club captain, Brian Slater, and the coaching crew every piece of good fortune and success in Division 1A, AIL (All Ireland League).
Last season`s rugby was a joy to watch and be part of. The 1st XV gained promotion to the top flight of Irish Club rugby by winning the `play offs` of Div.1A/1B at Ballynahinch in fine style at the end of April. We played 18 League games, scoring more tries and points than any other club, racking up 516 points at an average of 29 points per game including 11 (4 tries per game) bonus points. It was fantastic rugby.
A winning 1st XV can never be achieved without committed and successful teams coming up behind them. The Club fielded two under 20s teams. The `Premier` side were the winners of the J.P.Fanagan League for the first time and they reached the final of the McCorry Cup. The `Pennant` side also contested the final of their section – the Purcell Cup. It is also to be celebrated that the 3rds and 4th XV are flourishing both in numbers and in again achieving cup success while the first year of a 3 year development program for Womens’ rugby achieved so much in terms of enhancing the program and participation levels. In this our special year as hosts of the World Cup I am looking forward to our Womens’ rugby program becoming competitive in our entry for the first time in the Leinster leagues.
At university competition levels, DUFC had a wonderfully successful season. The Colours match and Trophy was won in some style against our arch-rivals U.C.D. A cracker of a game played in front of a packed College Park under lights. We went down in the final of the World Universities Rugby Cup in Oxford to a very strong Univ. of Cape Town side. The Dudley Cup (Irish Universities Series) was won and also we chalked up significant victories against Oxford Univ. (twice) plus a good win over a very strong and highly rated Durham University side. We are unique among Irish Universities in maintaining these University rugby relationships and value them highly – roll on Cambridge Univ. at Grange Road Cambridge in October and Durham Univ. and Oxford Univ. in College Park in January and March respectively.
Success is not just the players and coaches. The Club has wonderful support and input from our medical team of doctors led by Gerry Kearns and a superb group of physios. Well done and thanks to all.
The Club Executive Management Committee is to be thanked, congratulated and recognised by all for their unstinting efforts so freely given over the year. They are so ably led by the Chairman, John Boyd and supported with such continuing passion and commitment by Kay Bowen. Many thanks indeed are extended to the Trinity Department of Sport and DUCAC for their financial and other support.
Supporting Parents of all players: Everybody in the Club conveys to you a big and sincere thank you for your attendance at home and away games, especially at away games in the most forlorn fixtures on bleak Sundays and in mid-week. You merry band of followers certainly add colour to the Club and we extend the warmest of invitations to you to join us in becoming full members of D.U.F.C.
The super support of our main sponsor, the Bank of Ireland has been out of this world not just financially but also on the ground. To see Richie Boucher, Brian Wickham, Padraig Brennan and of course Ronan McCoy at a great many of our matches and functions both home and away is simply marvellous. Gentlemen, thank you indeed.
Also thanks to all our other sponsors plus Club patrons, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Without your continued support matters financial at DUFC would be very difficult indeed. We at DUFC would appeal to all our past players and Trinity alumni for your support. We urgently need help from all Trinity generations, current, past, old and not so old. Please, please take up or re-new your membership and come out and join us in College Park and other rugby venues – “a Pint in the Pav” awaits you.
Tommy Burns, last year`s President, will be a hard act to follow. We have lost a number of senior players to the professional ranks, senior clubs, Oxford and Cambridge Universities plus other overseas Universities. We thank them for their Trojan efforts and, while D.U.F.C. is a “Club for Life”, we wish them well in their new clubs.
D.U.F.C. is a high performance Div.1A. All Ireland League club, remains a “unique university rugby experience” and is alive and well. You are all most welcome to join us in College Park and the “Pav” for some quality rugby and a touch of good friendship and fun.
President, D.U.F.C. 2016/17