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President's Message

I am delighted and honoured to have been asked to serve as President of UCC RFC for the coming season. UCC is the oldest rugby club in Munster and the third oldest club in Ireland. Founded in 1872 when UCC was still known as Queen’s College Cork, UCC Rugby was the first sports club in college, and has defined the look of sports in UCC through its iconic Skull & Crossbones emblem.

I would firstly like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my predecessor Finbar Dennehy who has put in a huge amount of time and hard work, especially taking the lead with our 150-year anniversary last year. I would also like to thank our dedicated committee for their continued hard work which enables us to keep the show on the road.
I would like to wish all our coaches and teams, Senior, Junior, U20, Bulldogs and all the Ladies teams the very best for the coming season. We may be young in years, but we are strong in heart and very competitive. Congratulations to Louis Bruce on re-election as Club Captain for the coming season and to Eva O’Sullivan, captain of our Ladies XV. I look forward to working with Louis, Eva, and all the other team Captains over the coming year.

We have a very busy season planned so please do visit our website to stay up to date with what is coming up. Our annual Colours Lunch will take place in the Kingsley Hotel on 18th November next, I hope to see as many of you as possible at the lunch. We will be playing Queens University, Belfast that day, which should be a great outing for all. Tickets are available via the following link:

I hope you will continue to support UCC Rugby in whatever way you can, and I look forward to seeing you all down the Mardyke during the season.
Thank you,
Charlie Haly


The Early Days

Mystery surrounds the introduction of rugby football in south Munster, but there was a strong tradition of it being first played at Midleton College in the early 1870s. Queen’s College Cork, as it was then known, opened its doors in 1849 and it must be assumed that students interested in sporting diversions engaged in some version of the modern game. It was not until 1872, however, that proof of rugby football in Queen’s College Cork was established in the form of a specially printed rulebook, which indicates that the game was firmly enshrined amongst the students who felt that it was time to set up some permanent order in the game. Rugby at UCC is probably as old as at Trinity College, Dublin, where a rulebook was also produced at that time. The book of rules became known as The Rules of Foot Ball as Played at Queen’s College Cork, 1872. Both Universities are distinguished in having been the first clubs in the country with their own rulebooks. Both sets of rules are discussed in the Centenary History of the IRFU.

In the early days during the 1870s Queens Cork played the likes of Montenotte F.C., Bandon, Waterloo, Queenstown (now Cobh) and Cork Bankers in games involving 22-a-side. At this time the teams kicker, Goulding, later came to fame as Sir William Goulding, Chairman of W.H.M. Goulding Ltd., and W.A.Cummins who became Professor Ashley Cummins, one of the greatest College rugby men of all time and the first College player to be capped for Ireland (1879) and then the Lions in South Africa (1910). Tom Harrison played fullback and went on to become one of the great Irish fullbacks (1879-82).



The origin of the distinct Skull and Crossbones emblem that adorns the UCC rugby jersey (and all UCC sports clubs to the present day) has been the cause of some dispute. Seemingly it was there from the outset when Queens College Cork was predominantly a medical school and the medical students adopted the skull and bones as an appropriate trademark when representing the college on the sporting field. To this day the UCC jersey is a much sought after garment amongst players, students- particularly International students – and alumni at home and abroad. The skull even features in the words of the ‘Ta Rax’ (College Victory Cry) “…we’ll make the old skull gasp or grin…”

UCC RFC and Ireland

Since 1879 no less than 55 UCC players have represented Ireland at full International, with 34 of these playing for Ireland while still playing with UCC RFC, most notably Tom Kiernan (’60-’63), J.C. Walsh (’60-‘65), Moss Finn (’79) and Donal Lenihan (’81-’82). All three UCC men went on to play with distinction for the Lions: Kiernan twice in South Africa ’62 and ’68, Walsh in Australia ’66 and Lenihan in Australia ’89.

The Lions connection does not stop there. Six other UCC graduates and past players of UCC RFC went on to play for the Lions: W. Ashby (S.A. 1910), W.J.Roche (S.A. 1924), M.F.Lane (Aus/N.Z. 1950), Moss Keane (Aus/NZ 1977), Paul Wallace ( S.A. 1997), Ronan O’Gara (Aus 2001 & N.Z. 2005). In all 9 UCC men have represented the Lions.


The Lions connection does not stop there. Six other UCC graduates and past players of UCC RFC went on to play for the Lions: W. Ashby (S.A. 1910), W.J.Roche (S.A. 1924), M.F.Lane (Aus/N.Z. 1950), Moss Keane (Aus/NZ 1977), Paul Wallace ( S.A. 1997), Ronan O’Gara (Aus 2001 & N.Z. 2005). In all 9 UCC men have represented the Lions.

From the list of 21 College Internationals who were capped for Ireland after leaving UCC RFC are some household and some emerging names: Moss Keane, Gerry Holland, Brian Spillane, Paul Collins, Fergus Ahern, Darragh and David O’Mahony, Paul Wallace, Dominic Crotty, Peter Stringer, Ronan O’Gara, Frankie Sheehan, Mick O’Driscoll. John Kelly, and most recently, Denis Leamy who left UCC RFC in 2004. Jerry Flannery completes this list of luminaries having been called up to the Ireland squad for the 2005 autumn test against Romania .


In recent times ‘College’ have supplied countless players to the Ireland U21 and U19 teams at both six nations and World cup levels. Since 1997 alone 20 UCC men have played for the Ireland U19s while 29 have played International U21 since 1988, including the likes of Wallace, O’Driscoll, Sheehan, Stringer, Flannery. The Current Munster trio of Denis Leamy, Stephen Keogh and Frank Murphy played Ireland U21 in 2002 alongside ex Munster and UCC centre Conrad O’Sullivan. All four players were part of the UCC U20 All Ireland winning team of 2001-2002 and all four contributed hugely to UCC reaching the AIL playoffs for the first time in 2002 where they narrowly missed out on promotion to Division 1. In 2004-2005 UCC had 6 players on the Ireland U21 six nations squad and 4 on the Irish U19s. In 2005-2006 UCC had 5 players on the under 21 world cup team – a record for any Irish university.

On November 18th 2005, the revived Irish Universities played Scottish Universities in UCCs historical Mardyke grounds. The team featured four UCC players on a night when there were eight eligible UCC players taking part in an Irish U21 squad weekend in Dublin.

Captains Message


To all players, officials, members, sponsors and supporters, I would like to extend a warm welcome to the Mardyke for what should be a year to remember as UCC Rugby celebrates its 150th anniversary.

It is a huge honour for me to be elected as Club Captain for this momentous year. Having watched matches in the Mardyke for as long as I can remember, to wearing the famed ‘Skull & Crossbones’ over the past three years, it is a privilege not taken lightly and but one I look forward to immensely. I would also like to congratulate Vice-Captain Mark Bissessar who has been a great servant to UCC Rugby over the years. I am lucky to have him by my side this year.

This is an incredibly exciting time to be a part of UCC Rugby. As the Senior team aims to rebound from the lows of last season, the Rugby Committee and UCC Department of Sports & Physical Activity have worked tirelessly in securing a coaching ticket to make us successful in the AIL. Michael Bradley has come on board as Head Coach, ably assisted by Scott Deasy, Paul McCarthy and Ken O’ Connell. I speak on behalf of all the players when I say we are incredibly lucky, and equally as excited, to be working with a such a quality coaching group. I would also like to congratulate Clare Beasley who has been elected as Womens Rugby Captain. I wish Clare and her team, and all the other Men’s teams and their coaches, the very best of luck for the 2022-23 season.  Hopefully it will be an injury free and successful season.

I was first introduced to our team manager, Jack Casey, during my final year in school, and it didn’t take much persuading for me to understand what a special club UCC Rugby is. The club gives you the unique opportunity to play with University peers and friends who are at the same stage of life as you. In the short few years playing with College, friendships and memories are made to last a lifetime.

Jack forms half of a formidable duo with our kitman, Jim Crowley. Jack and Jim work selflessly all year to ensure everything runs smoothly and are invaluable to the Seniors. Brian Slater and Dave O Connell make up the rest of our Senior Team support group.  They put in huge effort all year, not unnoticed, to ensure all players are fit and match ready. Their contribution is hugely appreciated by all involved.

A special mention must go to outgoing President Vivian Nathan. Viv had to battle through a time when Covid ruled all and did a tremendous job in overseeing the club’s return to play after almost a full year out of action. Thank you Viv. I would like to congratulate and offer my full support to incoming President Finbar Dennehy. I look forward to working with Finbar this year as we strive to make it a year to remember.

Finally, I would like to thank you all for your continued support of UCC RFC. We hope that we can offer our fantastic supporters, whom we cannot do without, lots to cheer about. We cannot wait to get the AIL season going, and we look forward to seeing you all at the ‘Dyke on matchdays.

Yours in Rugby,
Louis Bruce
Club Captain 2022 / 2023

Women's Captains Message

Hi All

Welcome to the UCC Rugby website,

My name is Eva O’Sullivan and I am the captain of the UCC Women’s Rugby Team for 2023/24.

I am a 4th year Commerce Student who has been playing rugby for around 5 years now. Starting off my career with Skibbereen RFC and now playing dual status with Ballincollig RFC. I joined the UCC Women’s Rugby Team in my first year in UCC and although I joined during covid-19 and only had my first training in 2nd year I have never looked back!

UCC Women’s Rugby is the most welcoming, inclusive and friendly team and I would encourage everyone with an interest to join us. I believe college rugby is hugely important especially for women, as there are not many sports you could comfortably pick up and play for the first time at the age of 18 or 19 or even older. However, every year we welcome so many new players, some who have never played before coming to college. These girls always thrive and it is so positive for the existing players to see new blood coming through the ranks. I also believe rugby is one of the few sports where there is a position on the field for everybody- no matter your height, build or body type.

Besides all the physical advantages such as getting fit and exercising regularly, one of the best parts about UCC Women’s Rugby is the friendships made within the team. This group of girls are consistently encouraging each other, supporting each other, and making each other laugh. The friends we make through rugby, are friends we will have for life. I can vouch for that and say I have definitely made friends for life.

If anyone would like more information about training or if you have any questions, please contact us at

Warmest welcomes,


Bulldog's Captains Message

Hello all!

My name is Ben McEnery and I am captain of the UCC Bulldogs team for the 23/24season. I would like to start, by extending you all a warm welcome to UCC RFC website.

I am a final year Financial Mathematics & Actuarial Science student here at UCC. I’m 21 years old, and I’m from Limerick. I first started playing rugby when I was 5 years old with Garryowen RFC. I am both truly honoured and excited to be picked as captain for the upcoming season. It is a privilege I don’t take lightly, and I’m looking forward to what promises to be an exciting year of rugby. I would also like to congratulate Vice-Captain Adam O’Brien; it is great to have him by my side.

I joined the Bulldogs at the start of last season, and it is without a doubt one of the most welcoming, inclusive, and friendly group I have been a part of. We welcome players of all ability, new and experienced. Coming from Limerick, playing for the College has been a great way for me to settle into my newfound home and make friends and memories for life. Everyone part of the squad does their best to welcome new members, and we are always happy to see another new face at training.

This year, we as a team wish to build on the remarkable success of recent years, and to take our team to even greater heights, both in the SSI and the J2 league.

A special mention must also go to our coaching setup. Sean Ryan and Fergus O’Donoghue form a head coach duo who have been overseeing the Bulldogs for a number of years now and have both put in a countless number of hours to ensure to success of our team. I also can’t forget the remarkable work that Liam Ormond and Peter O’Connor do behind the scenes to ensure our team has everything it needs to be successful. Denis O’Leary acts as our first aid for matches, the work he does to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our squad does not go unnoticed, and we thank him for it. I speak on behalf of the whole Bulldogs squad when I say that we are incredibly lucky to have them overseeing our team.

Finally, I want to take a moment to thank each of you, our coaches, and our supporters for your continued support of our team and, the wider club as a whole. I would also like to wish all other teams apart of the club the best of luck for the season ahead, we will be supporting you all the way.


As we look forward to the upcoming season I am filled with excitement and

anticipation. Let’s embrace the challenges that come our way and emerge stronger

each time.


Yours sincerely,

Ben McEnery

Bulldogs Captain 2023/2024

UCC Clubs Code of Conduct

This policy provides the guidelines to recognising unacceptable behaviour, to creating an inclusive and friendly environment, and to the complaints and disciplinary procedure relating to bullying and harrassment.

UCC RFC Code of Conduct

Department of Sport & Physical Activity

Spórt UCC

Ferry Lodge, Mardyke Walk, T12 P282