Sunday 25 June 2017

Proud of their history but looking to the future

Club Focus: Bective Rangers

Bective Rangers youngsters enjoy their appearance at the RDS
Bective Rangers youngsters enjoy their appearance at the RDS
Captain Gearóid O’Grady, sponsors David Bobbett (H&K International)and president Declan Lawler

Brian Lowry

Officially founded in 1881, Bective Rangers FC can, however, confirm rugby activity before their official foundation.

Through Bective House College, which was founded in 1834, the road to bringing Bective Rangers into existence began.

Rugby in the 1800s wasn't highly organised and club and schools often played combined games, but as time rumbled on, Bective began to find their identity.

The club was originally called Bective College and then Bective FC from the 1870s, hence they are FC and not RFC as the club has origins older than the IRFU.

Exclusive

Over time, the number of members with no Bective College connection increased as the club grew.

It was deemed appropriate to amend the club's name from Bective College FC to the new style of Bective Rangers FC.

The club was open and not exclusive to the alumni of the college - and that continues to this day.

At a club meeting held in September 1903, the famous colours of Bective Rangers FC came into existence.

Having originally played in rose and green jerseys, James M Magee proposed to change to rose, green and white. This proposal was passed and the famous Bective Rangers FC colours were born.

The club moved to their current home in Donnybrook sometime around 1910. Before this, matches had been played at the RDS during the 1890s and 1900s. Evidence of this can be seen in the RDS with early team photos still present in the RDS clubhouse.

On the field, the club have collected an impressive haul of honours. Throughout their history, they have earned 70 honours, with 65 of those coming in official IRFU and Leinster Branch competitions at adult level.

The club won the Leinster Senior Cup 12 times between 1889 and 1962. Their most recent club success was their U-18s claiming cup glory in 2015.

The club also have a good bond off the field of play. They have numerous in-house cups and competitions that are played for every year both rugby and non-rugby related.

One of these is the Barniville Cup for golf which has been contested since 1932 and is one of the oldest competitions of its kind in Irish rugby.

Others include the Eddie Bryan Perpetual Trophy (ladies golf), and The Outspan's Cup, as well as interclub friendships, memorial cups and trophies.

Fifty-five Bective men have played full senior international matches for Ireland.

The first international was John Waites in 1886 and the last senior cap was earned in 1996 by New Zealand-born Kurt McQuilkin, who went on to have two stints as Leinster's defence coach.

Prominent

The club has also been prominent when it comes to supplying administrators to both Leinster Rugby and the IRFU.

Bective Rangers FC have produced five presidents of the IRFU in the shape of JH O'Conor (1911-12), WG Fallon, (1949-50), M Cuddy (1993-94), JP Lyons (2008-09) and Louis Magee (2014-15).

The first team ply their trade in the Ulster Bank League Division 2B, while the junior section in the club also continues to thrive with four teams and over 100 playing members.

Overseas tours are regularly organised and the junior section of the club is all about members putting their shoulder to the wheel in whatever way they can.

2016 also saw the revival of the U-20s in the club which will support the long-term ambitions of the club.

As a result of the work put into the U-17s and U-18s in recent years by the Kealy family along with Corry McCarthy and Johnny Vaughan, Bective Rangers are now bearing the fruit at U-20 level.

A 28-strong squad mainly comprises past students from Blackrock College, while there are also strong links to St Andrews College, Gonzaga, St Conleths and Sandford Park.

The team is captained by Mark (Moby) O'Brien and the squad includes sons of former Rangers Jack Kealy (son of Ben), Rory O'Brien (son of Willie), Jack MacNamara (son of Peter) as well as Charlie McCarthy (brother of coach Corry).

Results so far have been mixed with a great win over Clontarf, hard fought draws against both UCD and TCD while they also picked up bonus point losses against both Old Belvedere and Galwegians by two and one point losses respectively.

With eight remaining games to come in 2017, a top four play-off spot is what Corry McCarthy (backs coach) Will O'Donovan (forwards coach) and Johnny Vaughan and Fergus Flanagan (management) will be pushing for.

The club can also boast a fully equipped and spacious gym with a new 2,500-seater stand erected back in 2007. Two new 4G pitches were added in 2014 as well as a second training ground in Glenamuck.

Bective Rangers FC also have an active mini rugby scene fielding teams at all mini age grades from U-6 to U-13s.

They have helped develop numerous players over the years including Ireland and Leinster out-half Jonathan Sexton and emerging Leinster star Rory O'Loughlin.

The minis train every Sunday in Donnybrook and compete in the metro area underage groups.

The club have a philosophy that rugby at this level is not geared towards winning but instead that all players should be given the chance to compete and enjoy the game.

Bective Rangers Factfile

Founded: 1881

Grounds: Donnybrook (Dublin 4) & Glenamuck (Dublin 18).

Colours: Rose, green and white jerseys with white togs and red socks

Youths and Minis: U-7 to U-17s

U-20s: JP Fanagan League

Juniors: Metro Div 3, 4, 9 & 11

Seniors: Ulster Bank League Division 2B

Club president: Declan Lawler

Club captain: Gearóid O'Grady

Next week's club focus is on Edenderry RFC

Irish Independent

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