Malahide RFC: Current crop continuing club's proud traditionBack-to-back Leinster League triumphs in Division 1B and 1A heralds a glory era for Malahide RFC, writes Brian Lowry
Founded in 1922, Malahide RFC took their first steps on the Leinster Rugby ladder.
Their initial patron was Lord Talbot of Malahide. During the early years Malahide RFC fielded two senior teams, playing in Leinster Branch IRFU, league and cup competitions.
The grounds of Malahide Castle were the first home to the club, with the Malahide Cricket Club keeping up the sporting tradition in the modern era at the castle.
During their first 20 years or so in existence, a lot of their players would have hailed from outside the village of Malahide and came from places like Rush, Skerries and even Dublin to play rugby.
It was customary back then to hand out an end-of-season award while an honour cap was awarded to the outstanding players during the campaign.
The award took the form of a velvet cap, black in colour and rimmed with gold tassels with the relevant year embroidered on the front.
However, on the September 27, 1944 the club's history took another twist. Like so many other clubs, the shortage of members and start of World War II took its toll.
On that date, an Extraordinary General Meeting was held in the pavilion. It was presided over by Dr H Micheal with only 11 members in attendance.
With little option available to them, the decision was taken to disband the club.
Those 22 glorious years had become part of the heritage of Malahide and many of the personalities associated with the early club still had connections with Malahide.
As time wore on a reunion was held in the Grove Hotel with some of the early contributors to the club. Attended also by some younger and prospective future Malahide RFC members, steps towards change were taken and Malahide RFC was reformed in 1978.
Two pitches were rented in Malahide Castle grounds, now under the control of Fingal County Council, as Lord Talbot had bequeathed the castle and demesne to the Irish Government.
In 1989, the club purchased their own land on the Back Road, opposite Malahide Castle. In March 1992 the clubhouse and pitch were officially opened.
Malahide are currently a thriving club. Only last weekend they claimed the top prize in Leinster Junior Rugby by winning the Leinster League Division 1A title, 12 months after winning Division 1B. It was a momentous day for the club as they travelled to Enniscorthy to seal the deal after a superb season in the top flight.
They will now go on and try to make the step up to the AIL as they prepare for the round robin series with the Ulster, Connacht and Munster winners in the next few weeks.
Their first outing will be on April 1 as they travel to Omagh before playing hosts to Clonmel, and heading west to take on Ballina. Should they come out the best of that trio, they will face the second from bottom side in lowest tier of the AIL for a chance to move up to senior rugby.
Success wasn't confined to the first team with the seconds also winning the Leinster Division 1A seconds league. Two seasons ago, they claimed their first Spencer Cup and Jim Byrne Cup, while since 2011 five metro titles have come into the club through the seconds (four) and thirds (one) teams.
Success was also frequent in the '90s and after the turn of the millennium. Malahide won the Leinster League Division 3 in the '96/'97 season as well as in the '10/'11.
Leinster League Division 4 honours arrived in '95/'96 while they also landed the Leinster J4 League Section C title in '09/'10.
Having the facilities off the field that many clubs would yearn for, they currently field three senior teams in various Leinster League and Metropolitan competitions. With the firsts winning the Leinster League Division 1A title and the seconds winning the 1A seconds title, the "Thirsty Thirds" line out in Division 9 of the Metro league.
A state-of-the-art, new 13,500 square foot clubhouse and two state-of-the-art rugby pitches at Estuary Road (moved in 2006) are pride of place.
The new clubhouse and grounds contain all the necessary facilities for a modern rugby club - including four changing rooms and a plunge pool, a weights room and a physio room.
The clubhouse also has a rugby bar and function room suitable for seating more than 120 people, plus kitchen facilities to cater for all types of functions.
At youth level, teams are fielded at Under-13, 14, 15, 17 and 19 in Dublin Metropolitan Leagues while at mini level teams are fielded at Under-6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12, also competing in Dublin Metropolitan competitions.
The youth system in the club has been very successful in recent years with many players going on to represent the Leinster Metro team.
The club also has a strong association with Malahide Community School and many past and present pupils have gone on to represent the club at senior and youth levels.
Malahide RFC has enjoyed success at many levels and is considered to be one of the most progressive clubs in the Leinster Branch.
New members are very welcome, whether they be experienced or inexperienced players, coaches, team managers, touchline supporters or those seeking to enjoy the hospitality in the clubhouse bar.
Grounds: Estuary Road, Malahide, Dublin
Colours: Black and amber
Youths and Minis: Under-6 to Under-19.
Division: Leinster League Division 1A (Champions)
President: Donal Brophy
Captain: John Shine