Black Tie dinner dance to mark 50th anniversary
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 Har- ry 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.