Ambitious students are making a mark on and off the field
Club Focus: Dublin City University
Impressive Sevens success seen as stepping stone for club on rise, writes Brian Lowry
College rugby is a big part of the game in the province and Dublin City University are up there leading the way.
With men's and women's rugby prominent sports within the university, they continue to provide the platform for players of all skill levels to continue their participation.
Men's rugby caters for players from beginners to senior level and the club is well known for being a strong sporting group with a great social spirit.
The club compete in the Student Sport Ireland/IRFU Leagues, IURU Dudley Cup, Conroy Cup and Maughan-Scally Cup along with Sevens competitions.
For the more skilled players there is a chance to play for the Irish Universities Colleges team against other International University teams and this is seen as a big honour in the third-level rugby scene.
The last decade has seen women's rugby really take off in Ireland and the colleges have had a big part to play in that.
If you're interested in playing competitive rugby or just up for enjoying the social aspect of the club, DCU women's rugby is for you.
They club compete in the Student Sport Ireland/IRFU Leagues, IURU Kay Bowen Cup and Sevens competitions.
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When it comes to success, the club are in a good place as the current European Sevens champions after coming out on top in a tournament hosted in Lille, France.
They have also been awarded the university's most promising society gong as they continue to go from strength to strength.
With new coaches on board this year, hopes are again high for silverware.
For any prospective players, the club train on Mondays and play matches on Wednesday.
With new coaches on board this year, training is fresh, enjoyable and full of variety.
Like any sports club, sponsorship is vital. The club have three main sponsors that they are indebted too.
Hazelwood Student Village are the main sponsors for this year and will take pride of place on the front of the jersey while Firehouse Pizza, who provide the team with pizza after games, are also providing a huge boost to the club.
Select PR are also on board as the third main sponsor.
From a committee point of view, all members of the committee are players and students.
Their rugby development officer is Robert Mullen.
Their chairman is fourth-year business student Sam Murphy, vice-chair Steven Cawley, secretary Luke O'Callaghan, treasurer Evan Palmer, sponsorship Richie O'Connor, gear manager is Daniel O'Reilly and the PRO is David Molloy.
Also on the committee are events manager Cian Browne and team manager Adam Swan.
Together, they all worked very hard over the summer on their individual roles and that work continues throughout the year in terms of organising matches, buses, social events, tickets, referees and fundraising.
Last season brought mixed fortunes to the club as the men won the European Sevens cup while the women slipped to a narrow defeat against the University of Limerick in their Division 1 cup final.
The women's team have had a bit of a manic year. After they lost their coach and Ireland international Sophie Spence at the start of the season, the search was on to find her replacement.
When the dust settled, Eddie Fallon emerged as the new coach and they went on to have an excellent season and were unlucky not to end it with silverware.
Under his guidance, they made the cup final and lost just one game in their league campaign, finishing top of the table in the regular season.
While they fell just short to a strong University of Limerick side in the final, their season has to be judged as a positive when you factor in everything.
With plenty of demons to put to rest this year, they will be out to go one better and bring some silverware back to the club.
Continuing a recent trend, the men's arm of the club found more success on the Sevens circuit rather than the traditional 15-a-side game.
JJ O'Dea and Patrick Thornton won caps with the Irish students' side, but victory in the European Rugby Sevens Cup in France was the clear highlight of the season, and a testament to how far DCU Force have progressed.
Transforming the club from a social club to a club who took things seriously, while not forgetting the fun side of things, has been a success - typified by that European win.
Fifteen-a-side success is now their next project.
They were defeated at the quarter-final stage last year by IT Carlow against but this season will see them eager to make strides in this discipline of the game.
Grounds: DCU, Dublin
Division: SSI Men's Division 1
Secretary: Luke O'Callaghan
Chairman: Sam Murphy