Tuesday 25 September 2018

Railway stay on track to win more silverware

Club Focus: Railway Union

Railway Union senior men’s team. Photo: Cian Ryan
Railway Union senior men’s team. Photo: Cian Ryan

Brian Lowry

One of the many rugby clubs in the capital, Railway is one of Ireland's oldest and serves the communities of Sandymount, Ringsend, Irishtown and surrounding areas.

With strong values at the core of the club, Railway is a fit for everyone - male or female - with rugby for all levels. Railway's vision is to be an inclusive, community-based rugby club and to cater for players of all abilities, backgrounds, nationalities and gender.

The club pride themselves on the fact that all players are equal, regardless of which team they play on or their ability.

They are one of a few clubs in this day and age that have five adult sides crossing the white lines every weekend and they are a club that provide games for a huge number of players.

Railway Union women’s side after winning the AIL cup. Photo: Cian Ryan
Railway Union women’s side after winning the AIL cup. Photo: Cian Ryan

With three men's sides and two women's sides, they have been one of the most successful clubs in Leinster in the last five seasons, capturing 30 trophies.

In a hugely successful period for the club, they have won All-Ireland titles, Sevens honours, as well as a host of cups and leagues - with every team in the club making a contribution and a minimum of three trophies per team in the last five seasons.

With no shortage of youths lining out for Railway, the future looks bright on all fronts, with more silverware still up for grabs this season as the club look to finish off the 2017/2018 campaign on a high.

The men's first team play in Division 2A of the Leinster League, where they have a big promotion play-off game against Clondalkin this Sunday, with a place in Division 1B next season as the prize.

After finishing second in the league, they now have a chance to push up a division at the expense of their fellow Dublin men, who finished second bottom in 1B.

It has been a steady season for the Railway men with 11 wins, one draw and only two defeats in the league. Promotion would cap of a really progressive year on the field of play.

Adverse

The season has been prolonged because of the adverse weather and they also have a Byrne Cup final next Friday to look forward to.

The men's seconds won their Leinster league this year, while the men's thirds just missed out on the league play-off.

Sunday is going to be a busy day for supporters as along with the men's promotion tie, the women's seconds are in the Leinster League Division 1 final against St Mary's, while a quarter-final of the Paul Flood Cup against Wicklow is also on the horizon.

The women's firsts won the All-Ireland Cup last weekend, beating UL Bohemians in the final while they also have eyes on the double as they are in the semi-final of the All-Ireland league.

When a club has so much activity coming towards the end of the season, you know they are doing something right.

While they are doing the business on the field, there is also a hard-working committee behind the scenes.

Railway's Women's programme is one of the strongest in the country and they had 10 players in this year's Six Nations squad, have 12 players contracted with the Ireland Sevens team, and have had a player on the Ireland Schools Sevens team for the last five years in succession.

Much of this success comes from their strong culture of equality, excellent coaching, and their schools Sevens programme that they've been running in their local schools since 2013 and who feed to their girls U-14, U-16 and U-18 teams.

Railway are investing significantly in their infrastructure, with a new 1,100 square foot strength and conditioning facility and a video analysis room due to come on stream to go with their fully floodlit pitch.

Railway's social scene is also renowned, with scheduled events every month and ad hoc nights out as befits such a young and vibrant club.

It's all well publicised with a PR & Marketing function that was set up by former Leinster PRO of the Year winner Kirstin Smith and carried on by Josh Fallon-Doran, a member of the club since early childhood.

Railway have been a big contributor to Leinster and Irish rugby off the field too.

Albert O'Connell was their first president of the Leinster Branch and his name adorns a perpetual Leinster cup trophy.

Similarly, Harry Gale was a huge contributor to Leinster Rugby and many a player in the province has played as an under 20 in the Harry Gale Cup.

Adrian Leddy is a recent president of Connacht Rugby and is on the IRFU Committee.

The club are also proud of the fact that Eimear Flannery is the Ireland Women's Programme Manager and is responsible for the Ireland Sevens team, while Elaine Ryan is the Ireland 15s manager.

Professor John Ryan, who is Railway's head of player welfare, is a familiar sight on the sidelines of Leinster and Ireland games in the RDS, the Aviva and afar in his role as Leinster team doctor and Ireland match-day doctor.

On the refereeing front, Railway has had provided two past presidents of the Leinster Association of Referees in Desmond Flanagan and Ciarán O'Brien, with David Robb set to become Railway's third president in three years' time.

They also buck the trend when it comes to their club captain.

Male club captains are the norm across rugby clubs but Aoife Maher has the distinction of being the Railway club captain this year and the first female club captain of any club in Ireland.

Railway Union RFC

Founded: 1905

Grounds: Sandymount

Divisions: AIL Division 1 (Women's), Leinster League Division 2A (Men's)

Youths & Minis: Girls U-14/U-16/U-18

President: Shirley Corcoran

Club Captain: Aoife Maher

Irish Independent

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