President's Message

I am delighted and honoured to have been asked to serve as President of UCC RFC for the coming season. This season UCC Rugby is celebrating its 150th Anniversary. It is the oldest rugby club in Munster and the third oldest 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. Finbarr Dennehy, Rugby President 2022-23

I would firstly like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my predecessor Viv Nathan. Viv has put in a tremendous amount of time and hard work over last two difficult seasons. I think they will be remembered as the Covid seasons. I am also glad that Viv has accepted the important position of Chairman of the Management Committee for the coming season, and I am looking forward to working with Viv and all the other hard-working members on all the committees.

I am very excited about our new coaching structure, which is headed up by Michael Bradley, who will work with our Senior, Under 20, J1, J2 and Women’s Rugby teams. Michael will be assisted for the Senior team by Ken O' Connell (forwards coach), Scott Deasy (backs coach) and Paul McCarthy (scrum coach), in what I think is a very strong coaching team. I wish them and the coaches/managers of ALL our teams the very best of luck and enjoyment for the coming season.

I would also like to congratulate Louis Bruce on being elected as Club Captain for the coming season and Clare Beasley on being elected Women’s Rugby Captain.  I look forward to working with Louis, Clare and all the other team Captains for this, our 150th Anniversary year.

We have a very busy season planned for all our teams and several events to celebrate our 150th Anniversary, too many to mention in this letter. So please visit our website to keep up to date with what is happening.

Our AIL campaign starts with an away fixture to Malone on Saturday 1st October 2022 and our first home AIL match is against City of Armagh on the 8th of October. We will continue with our pre-match lunches for all home games. Our Annual Colours match will be played on the 26th of November against Old Wesley and we look forward to seeing many of you at the Colours Lunch that day.

This year, I am asking for the “Officer of the Day” to do two match days against the same opposition i.e., home, and away match.  Anyone willing to be “Officer of the Day” please contact Sinead O'Callaghan at sinead.ocallaghan@robertsnathan.com.

I hope that you will all continue to support UCC Rugby in whatever way you can, particularly in this 150th Anniversary year and I look forward to seeing you all down the Mardyke during the season.

Thank you,




Finbar Dennehy

President, UCC


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 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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