Black Tie din­ner dance to mark 50th an­niver­sary

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

Ex­cite­ment is build­ing for mem­bers of the Gorey Rugby Club who will celebrate their 50th an­niver­sary this com­ing sea­son.

To mark this mo­men­tous achieve­ment, the club will be hold­ing a very spe­cial black tie din­ner dance on Satur­day, May 19, from 7 p.m., in the Ash­down Park Ho­tel, and in at­ten­dance will be Pres­i­dent of the Ir­ish Rugby Foot­ball Union Philip Orr, Le­in­ster Pres­i­dent Niall Rynne and Le­in­ster Vice-Pres­i­dent Robert Dea­con. For tick­ets call Trysh Sul­li­van on 0872485379.

The first meet­ing was held on May 1, 1968 in Red­mond’s Ho­tel, now the Loch Gor­man Arms Ho­tel, which was or­gan­ised by Eric Dea­con. The first prob­lem the com­mit­tee had to deal with was the club had no grounds. The cap­tain, Gerry Slat­tery was an auc­tion­eer work­ing with War­ren Es­tates in Gorey. Gerry con­tacted Eric Dea­con who thought the land was suit­able for a rugby pitch and he then con­tacted the IRFU. Three peo­ple from the IRFU came to Gorey, looked at the field and said we will not lend you the money but we will buy the field and you can play rugby as long as there is a vi­able club in Gorey. A to­tal of seven acres was pur­chased which is what the club use to­day.

Eric Dea­con or­gan­ised a match for the club on Au­gust 31, 1968 so the pitch had to be ready, grass cut, posts put up, pitch marked, and jer­seys got for the team. Their first op­po­nents were the Sut­tuoins from North Dublin who were on tour in Wex­ford and the match ended in a draw.

In 1970 a tim­ber build­ing was pur­chased in Dublin where it was dis­man­tled by Harry Hal­ford, Willie Wil­loughby, and Ai­dan Gran­nells and brought to Gorey. This would act as a func­tion room with a kitchen and two dress­ing rooms. By the end of 1974, they had a small club house and bar. Gorey was one of the first clubs in Wex­ford to have a club house.

In the year 1976, Gorey Rugby Club got a new sec­re­tary, Ms Sheila Stephens, the wife of Tony Stephens, one of the play­ers. Sheila was the first lady sec­re­tary of a rugby club in Ire­land.

Dur­ing the late 1970s, as more play­ers were join­ing the club and other clubs in the South East, com­pet­i­tive leagues for J1 and J2 started. A big year in the club was 1985 when they won the J2 town’s cup fi­nal.

In 2007 Gorey J1s got back to win­ning ways when they lifted the SE Tro­phy for the first time since 1994 when they de­feated Wick­low.

From the late 2000s num­bers started to in­crease, Gorey RFC had a rapidly grow­ing and well or­gan­ised mini sec­tion which even­tu­ally moved into the youths sec­tions with teams com­pet­ing at all age grades.

In the last eight years the youth sec­tion has seen ev­ery age grade win a Premier Le­in­ster ti­tle, while in 2011 the U17s reached the All Ire­land Fi­nal. Also the re­mark­able achieve­ment, in both 2015 and 2017, with the U14 teams go­ing un­de­feated win­ning the South East Cup and Premier Le­in­ster Cup. Not to be out done, the U15 girls went on to win Le­in­ster plate com­pe­ti­tions

In 2010 the club took a chance on a young coach who had just com­pleted his coach­ing course. At the young age of 23, Phil Ho­ran was ap­pointed head coach.

The ar­rival of Phil Ho­ran has trans­formed the club and dur­ing the last seven years the club has risen from the depths of 2B to the pin­na­cle of ju­nior rugby to now play their trade in Divi­sion 1A where they have re­mained for the past three sea­sons.

The fact our J1 & J2’s are now com­pet­ing at the high­est level in all com­pe­ti­tions is a tes­ta­ment to the hard work from our se­nior coaches and back room staff.

In 2012 the first se­nior ladies team got up and run­ning with ap­prox­i­mately 1520 ladies. The de­vel­op­ment of the se­nior women’s team is now see­ing the re­wards from the youth sec­tion with a num­ber of play­ers feed­ing into the se­nior side.

Some no­table play­ers who have gone on to get se­nior caps for Ire­land, Provin­cial Teams and English Clubs that played minis and youths rugby for Gorey RFC are Nick Pop­plewell (Lions, Ire­land , Le­in­ster), Roger Boyd (Le­in­ster), Robin Copeland (Ire­land , Mun­ster), Fos­ter Ho­ran (Ire­land 7’s), Daisy Earle (Ire­land 7’s), Roisin Mur­phy (Ire­land 7’s) Paul Boyle (Con­nacht), Eoin Sher­riff (Sara­cens) Caoimhe Mol­loy (Le­in­ster). Their cur­rent men’s cap­tain Stephen Gar­diner rep­re­sented Ire­land U20’s in the world cup.

Gorey RFC has come a long way in the last 50 years both on and off the field. This has taken in­cred­i­ble ded­i­ca­tion, work rate and fore­sight from the club of­fi­cers, coaches, co-or­di­na­tors and the many vol­un­teers in­volved in this great club from 1968 up to present day.

The fu­ture is bright for Gorey RFC.

Front (from left): Veron­ica Aliaga, Aoife Crowe, Molly Byrne, Ciara Breen, Eimear Hickey, Dawn Kin­sella, Nicola McGrath, Miriam Casey, He­lena Scan­lon, Denise Deer­ing, Caoimhe Mol­loy and Elaine Colfer. Back row: Dar­ius Fourie, Brian Allen, Anna Nolan, Maria Breen, Ciara Tomkins, Lau­ren Far­rell McCabe, Ni­amh Doran, Susie Grif­fiths, Hazel Woods, Ash­ling Maguire, Rachel Bolton, Va­lerie Con­yard, Ja­son Emery and Siob­han Boland.

Mens Team, Gorey RFC J1 Towns Cup Squad 2018. Back (fro left): A.Wal­she, D.Shan­non, K.Har­ring­ton, M.St­wart, K.Breen, E.Ho­ran, G.Ryn­hart, W.Rothwell, T.Jame­son and E.Sher­iff. Mid­dle : Hem­pen­stall,P. De Barra,L.Fur­long,D.Bel­len­ova,D.Gre­gan,C.Allen,B.Ma­son,C.Had­den,S.Stokes,P.Ho­ran. Front: S.Martinez, N.Spencer, P.O’Con­nor, S.Ho­ran, B.Wil­loughby ( Chair­man ), S.Gar­diner ( Capt ), F.Deer­ing (Pres­i­dent ), J.Nolan, S.Duke, P.Swaine and K.Dea­con.

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