The Monkstown Story
Monkstown is one of the oldest Rugby Clubs in Ireland; founded in 1883/1884, just three years after the formation of the Irish Rugby Football Union in 1880. Originally based in the Monkstown/Dun Laoghaire area the Club moved in 1901 to new grounds in Sandymount leased from the Earl of Pembroke and has been playing Rugby at Sydney Parade for more than 100 years.
The Club has always had a connection with military men. In the early days, soldiers of the British Army were prominent in the Club – indeed, many young men who had played for Monkstown were casualties in the Boer and Great Wars. After Ireland’s Independence, the tradition continued and very many members of the Irish Defence Forces – soldiers, sailors and airmen have worn Monkstown and their province’s colours with distinction. The biennial match between the Irish Defence Forces team and the French Defence Forces team has been played regularly at Sydney Parade.
Conveniently located a short distance from Lansdowne Road, and beside the Railway/Dart, the Club’s main pitch is renowned as one of the best in Leinster, we have hosted visiting International sides for their run-outs prior to International matches at Lansdowne Road over many decades. In 1991, the Australia team which won the Rugby World Cup were our guests for the two weeks of their stay in Ireland where they defeated Ireland and New Zealand before they went on to beat England in Twickenham in the Final.
Our Club has always made a strong contribution to the promotion and administration of Rugby in Leinster and Ireland providing “alickdoos” acting as administrators and referees. H.J. Millar, Capt. J.R. Ramsey and Robert Ganly went on to become Presidents of the IRFU; Ken Mills and Brian Brady have recently served as Presidents of the Leinster Branch IRFU. A game of Rugby requires a referee; Monkstown has a proud tradition of supplying referees since it’s earliest days. Our principal founder, Herbert W. Jones, was the first President of the Leinster Association of Referees (and will be emulated in that role shortly by Jerry Counihan). Donal Courtney has recently retired after a distinguished career officiating world-wide in Rugby World Cups, Six-Nations International and Heineken Cup fixtures.
Above all, the Club has always been known as a welcoming and hospitable Club to all Rugby people, players, supporters and visitors based on the traditions “Play hard, Play fair, Enjoy your Rugby” and the camaraderie in the Clubhouse afterwards.