Donaghadee Rugby Club - A History of Rugby in the 'Dee
DONAGHADEE RFC 1938-39; Winners of Ulster’s Minor League, Harden Cup & Provincial Towns’ Cup Finalists Back Row: E. Hamilton, E. Alexander, S. Cardy, Dr. Geo. Gibson, J.P., Hon. Sec. J. Mairs, H. L. Taggart, J. J. Costella, R. C. Stuart, Jas. A. Reid. Middle Row: F. Kennedy, J. Kimm, Wm. McNarry, Captain, W. Milliken, President, Wm. Eady, Vice-Captain, H. Torney, J. Bell. Front Row: R. Foster, J. D. Montgomery Absent: J. A. Clarke, F. C. Humphreys, Geo. Bunting
Rugby was first played in Donaghadee in 1885; last season (2010-11) the club celebrated its 125th anniversary with several marquee functions marking the occasion!
The formation of a rugby club in Donaghadee in 1885 came during a period of rapid growth for the game throughout Ireland. A review of sport in the Newsletter in December of that year concluded; “Football has rapidly worked its way into the very front rank of our outdoor sports. The two codes of football – rugby and association – can claim a very large and increasing constituency in this country and the first half of the season has afforded ample evidence that, apart from the increasing numbers, our players are making remarkable strides in the science of the game.”
It was against that background that Donaghadee Rugby Club, formed by the Rev. Coote, played its first match against Bangor on November 7, 1885. The game was played in Donaghadee, possibly on the field behind the Church of Ireland Rectory – i.e. on the very same site the club uses to this day. The game ended in a draw.
Donaghadee Rugby Football Club would be delighted to hear any anecdotes, family connections or other snippets that you might have relating to the club, or the town of Donaghadee in general. Our former club Press Officer Harry Allen is a keen local historian and in particular would welcome any information on the club, or the town, that you may have. To get in touch with Harry, email email@example.com or speak to him on a Saturday - he can usually be spotted circumnavigating the field whenever a match is in progress!