President's Message

I am delighted and honoured to have been asked to serve again as President of UCC RFC for the coming season. It is a great testament to our club that we continue to perform at the highest levels of rugby in Ireland in Division 1A.

It is both mine and the wider clubs fervent wish that we will maintain our standing at this level into the future. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute and thank my predecessor Mr. Rory Bevan for all his continuing support and commitment over the past year and also for his dedication to club matters.

In terms of rugby, it has been a very strange time over the past 18 months. The whole of the last season was a nonevent owing to the continued Covid crisis in Ireland and around the world. However, had we been able to play, I am confident that we would have retained our position in Division 1A if it had run its natural course.

The 2021/2022 season is upon us with the AIL due to kick off on the weekend of 2nd October next. It plans to be a full season with home and away matches as well as promotion and relegation. It is also planned to allow spectators attend and it is my personal hope that we will be able to have pre and post-match functions as well in line with public health guidelines. We will keep you up to date with what is happening here as time goes on.

I would also like thank Charlie Haly and his team on the rugby committee for their continued efforts and would also like to wish our Head Coach Neil Lucey and his excellent team well for the coming year. In addition, best wishes to this year’s teams club captains and coaches for the year ahead. I am conscious that some teams may not yet be able to hit the ground running as per normal times but hopefully that situation will change during the year.

In terms of events this year we are actively planning to have both a corporate lunch and colours lunch later on next year – this of course will be very dependent on prevailing health advice. We are well served by our club doctor Dr. Larrie Martin in this regard.

I would hope that you would all continue to support the club where possible and would welcome any ideas or suggestions on how things can be improved – UCC RFC aims to be both welcoming and inclusive to all.

Yours in Rugby
Vivian E. Nathan
President UCC RFC


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

My name is Robert Hedderman and I am captain of the UCC Senior Rugby Squad for 2021/22,

I am a Masters Student in Law. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all visiting teams in what has been a difficult start to the season.

We’ve had a bit of a slow start to this season with the stop-start nature of games and training but we feel we are finding our gears as we are getting used to each other as we have a lot of new players in the squad this season.

Restrictions has given players the opportunity to work on their individual game and get their bodies right for the games ahead. We will use this period as an opportunity for our development.

Safety procedures have been in place for us, players and management understand the seriousness of covid-19 and we are acting accordingly.

We are very excited as a squad for the games ahead and showing our full potential as a team on the pitch.

We appreciate all the support we have been getting from our families, supporters and coaches through this time and we hope we will show our full potential as a team once games start up again.

Kind Regards

Robert Hedderman 

Women's Captains Message

Hi All

Welcome to the UCC Rugby website,

My name is Annie and I am the captain of the UCC Women’s Rugby Team for 2020/21.

I am a 3rd year Chemistry Student who has been playing rugby for almost 8 years now. I joined the UCC Women’s Rugby Team in my first year in UCC and I 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 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.

If anyone would like more information about training or if you have any questions, please contact us at womensrugby@uccclubs.ie”




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

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