Club Focus: Loyalty key ingredient for small club with huge heart
Kilfeacle and District RFC was founded in 1981 and is located at the 'Hill' – also known as Morrissey Park – about four miles from Tipperary town on the Cashel road, in a picturesque setting looking onto the Galtee Mountains.
In naming the club, it was decided to add District to the name Kilfeacle, as players came from such an array of parishes which included Oola, Solohead, Bansha, Anacarty, Lattin, Cullen, Cappawhite, Dundrum, Golden, Galbally, Tipperary and Kilfeacle.
The club has over 300 playing and non-playing members, with teams ranging in age from U-6 to U-19, which compete in East Munster competitions.
Kilfeacle and District RFC fields two adult teams; the first XV compete in the first division of the Munster Junior League, Mansergh Cup and the Garryowen Cup, while the seconds take part in the Gleeson League Division 2, Evans League, Webb Cup and Gleeson Cup. The club also participates in the Munster Junior Cup and Munster Junior Clubs Challenge Cup.
Kilfeacle and District RFC is a hive of activity every weekend from September to May. On any given night, there are around 150 players training, from U-8s to seniors, and results speak volumes of their success.
"The support structure from volunteers through parents, coaches, selectors, patrons and supporters is immense and something we are very proud of," says club PRO Denis Wade.
"A special mention must go to all our coaches for their tireless and selfless work in developing the youngsters and the talent that permeates through the different teams that wear the blue for the 'Little Club on the Hill!"
Kilfeacle have won every competition they have entered at least once, including the coveted Munster Junior Cup in 2002. The club has been in the top division of the Munster Junior League every year since its inception.
This consistency is impressive considering the role of small clubs in modern-day rugby in Ireland.
"The likes of Kilfeacle and District have to contend with being feeder clubs, stepping stones for talented players making their way up to and down from senior clubs and hopefully the heady heights of professional rugby," says Wade.
"One of Kilfeacle and District's proudest achievements is to still be able to compete at its current level despite the challenges of player retention in today's climate, with every player that shows promise or skill being courted by numerous clubs at higher levels".
Commenting on the club's success, Wade said the secret is the loyalty shown by players and supporters alike down through the years.
"Fortunately in Kilfeacle and District what we may lack financially and materialistically is more than made up for in loyalty. Loyalty shown by the players to the club, club to the players, coaches to the club, parents and supporters to the club ... the list goes on," he says.
"Everyone associated with Kilfeacle, from chairperson to tea lady and from first team captain to U-6 sub, is a loyal supporter and would follow the club to the ends of the earth and even further to support the 'Boys in Blue'.
"We are now 33 years young. We are still a small club, but in many ways that's our greatest asset. We are a community-based club and a tightly-knit family. It is this sense of family and community, a sense of belonging, a sense of being an integral part of something, a sense of loyalty that has kept this club in existence in the past and hopefully in the future too."
Officers 1981\82 (club formation)
President: Fr Lavell
Chairman: John Cooney
Hon secretary: John Heney
Treasurer: Tom Cross
Fixtures secretary: Billy Godfrey
PRO: Jimmy Sharkey
President: Tony Lowry
Chairman: Danny Hallissey
Hon secretary: Michelle Noonan
Treasurer: Norrie O'Sullivan
Fixtures secretary: Curry Hanley
PRO: Denis Wade