New boys carrying on strong traditions
An all-inclusive club, Coolmine RFC have a foundation in place that is sure to stand the test of time, writes Brian Lowry
Based in north-west Dublin, Coolmine RFC are a relatively new club compared to some of their local counterparts. Founded in 1980, the club have built on solid footing and still carry on a proud tradition of rugby in the Castleknock area.
First affiliated to the Leinster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union in 1980, they set out upon their journey the following year when they entered the junior leagues.
The mini rugby and youths section of the club was founded in 1980 and has prospered ever since in the Dublin 15 suburb.
Founded by Mr Eugene Cadogan and Dr Bill Linehan, the club originally played matches on pitches rented from the local council and used Coolmine Sports Complex as its main facility.
The first mini rugby at Coolmine was played in 1981.
The club won the Dowling Cup for the first time in 1984 while in 1985, after a number of successful years on the playing fields, new lands were purchased at nearby Ashbrook, Castleknock which remains their current home.
The grounds were officially opened in 1987 and it wasn't long before the club began to make more strides between the white lines.
They were promoted to the first division of the Leinster Junior League in 1991 while work also began on a new clubhouse.
The fruits of this were to be seen two years later when the new clubhouse was officially opened by then President of Ireland, Mary Robinson.
Along with the fine facility, the club can also boast two floodlit pitches and a training area to keep them up with the best of them in terms of amenities.
On the playing front, Coolmine have continued to prosper and the first and second XV currently compete in the Leinster League Division 1B and the youths, from U-7 to U-18, have their own Metropolitan League and Cup competitions.
The club are also proud of the fact that they are one of the few junior clubs in the province who field four adult teams - with the first and seconds in the Leinster League and thirds and fourths applying their trade in the Metro leagues.
Widely regarded as having one of the most efficient and prosperous youths and minis systems, the club are building to the future and if they can manage to hold on to their players, a breakthrough at adult level is not too far away.
The club is a hive of activity on Saturday mornings between training, blitzes and matches for the youths and minis. The club are indebted to their many coaches and volunteers who are giving their time for the good of the club.
This season has proved to be a tough one so far for the first team. After 11 games, they sit third from bottom, one point ahead of Portlaoise and Clondalkin, with only three games to play.
They are immersed in a relegation battle and they face a massive game on February 18 against Portlaoise to Ashbrook.
Coolmine beat Portlaoise in the away fixture and a win on Saturday week would go a long way to ensuring their safety in the division before their final two games against Tullow and North Kildare.
A selection of cups and pennants from the various sections down through the years adorn the upstairs bar area and while concentrating on the playing front, Coolmine have also not forgotten about the social side of things.
In 2006, Coolmine completed an ambitious clubhouse renovation project which added two new changing rooms, shower areas and toilets, as well as an entrance atrium, committee room and viewing balcony over the main pitch.
The modern two-storey clubhouse, which is wheelchair accessible and has extensive free parking, is available for hire. It has a large function room with capacity for 120 people while also having full bar and on-site kitchen facilities.
The addition of all-weather pitches has also been a step in the right direction for the club. While they get plenty of use from rugby circles, they are also available to hire to other sports and the general public. With easy access from the M50 and from Ashtown rail station on the Maynooth commuter rail line to Connolly station, Coolmine RFC is perfectly located for many events.
Another big aspect to the club is their standing on the tag rugby circuit. For those looking to get involved, minus the physical aspects, tag rugby is an ideal way to get involved for men and women.
Tag rugby takes place every Monday night while they also run the most recognised summer leagues in the province.
Another social element of the club is their world-first 'Longest Pass Competition' which commenced three years ago at their annual club day in May.
A player must make a proper rugby spin pass to another player with the current record standing at 37.5 metres.
Women's Rugby is also starting to gain traction within the club. The growth of the women's game in the country has been huge in recent years and having begun the process last year of bringing the women's game into Coolmine RFC, it has grown in popularity this season.
Saturday afternoons at 1.30pm now sees the club awash with girls of different ages coming to learn the skills.
The club also have an outlet for those with disabilities in the form of the Coolmine Pumas while those that have served the club well in past are also not forgotten with the veterans team.
Grounds: Ashbrook, Castleknock, Dublin 15
Division: Leinster League Division 1B
Youths and minis: U-7 to U-18
Club captain: David Howard
Club president: Sean Lee
Next week's club focus is on Enniscorthy RFC