Garryowen Football Club
|Full name||Garryowen Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||'Boys in Blue'|
|Ground(s)||Dooradoyle, Limerick (Capacity: ~1500)|
Garryowen Football Club (Irish: Cumann Rugbaí Gharraí Eoin), usually referred to as Garryowen, is a rugby union club from Limerick, Ireland. Historically it has been one of the most successful clubs in Irish rugby union leagues.
The club was formed in 1884. The founding members of the club were:
- President W.L. Stokes
- Secretary J. Gogarty
- Treasurer M. L. Joyce
- Captain J.O'Sullivan
- Messrs, Stapleton, Prendergast, J.O'Connor, J.G.O'Brien, Roche, Riordan, Pender, Gilligan and Dick
Founding member of the club, W.L.Stokes, had a huge influence on the game in Limerick during the 1880s. He made sure Garryowen received Union recognition in 1884. If not for his tireless work promoting rugby, Garryowen might never have begun.
Another great family linked to Garryowen were the O'Connors who won 49 senior cup medals beginning in the 1890s. Born in Athlunkard Street, Limerick, the seven brothers - Mick, Charlie, Jack, Thade, Joe, Bryan and Jim - set an impressive record with 47 medals between them. Jack with 11 had the most. His son, Mick, won 2 making the total: 49.
The club has had two fixed homes. The Markets Field until 1958 then the club moved to Dooradoyle. After the club moved, Garryowen which had won the Senior cup in 1954 did not achieve success again for 15 years. This was the longest period in the clubs history without a cup win. It was not till 1969 that another led to a glorious period for the club with probably the finest collection of players since the great nine in row team. With 5 senior cups coming in the next 10 years. There was also great success on the international scene with 6 players getting capped for Ireland in this time.
After winning the Cup in 1979 the club did not achieve Cup success again until 1993, not the largest gap between wins but this was the 1st time that they had failed to win at least one cup in each decade. Back-to-back Munster Senior League successes in 1982 and 1983 were the highlights of the 80's. The foundations were laid for the great success that was achieved in the 90's. The advent of the All Ireland League would give the club game in Limerick the platform it had long sought.
Having won the league title in its second and fourth year (1992, 1994), Garryowen reached two finals and a number of semi-finals only to fall just short. However, 2007 proved a spectacular year for the Limerick side, seeing them finally re-take the AIL crown after their years of disappointment and also the Munster Senior and AIL cups in what is an unprecedented clean sweep of all domestic competitions in Irish club rugby.
In total Garryowen have won the Munster Senior Cup 38 times, more times than any other club. Garryowen won the trophy nine times in a row between 1889 and 1898 and have the distinction of having played in the first final in 1886 and the 100th final in 1986. Garryowen are also the only club in Ireland to have played at the top level of competition since competitive rugby began in Ireland (i.e. (Provincial)/Munster Senior Cup, AIL Division 1, AIL Division 1A).
The garryowen kick
In playing terms a garryowen is a very high up and under kick (named after the rugby club) designed to put the opposing team under pressure, by allowing the kicking team time to arrive under and compete for the high ball. It is thought to have come part of the modern lexicon in the early 1920s as one of the great Garryowen teams that won three Senior cups from 1924 to 1926 used this tactic to the utmost.
- AIB League
- Winners: 1992, 1994, 2007: 3
- AIB Cup
- Winners: 2007, 2012
- Munster Senior Cup
- Winners: 1889-92, 1893–96, 1898–99, 1902–04, 1908–09, 1911, 1914, 1920, 1924–26, 1932, 1934, 1940, 1947, 1952, 1954, 1969, 1971, 1974–75, 1979, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2007, 2012: 38
- Munster Senior League
- Winners: 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1925, 1936, 1946, 1954, 1982, 1983, 2001: 17
- Munster Junior Cup
- Winners: 1910, 1955, 1970, 1976, 1978, 1993, 2007: 7
The following Garryowen players have represented Ireland at full international level, 56 players in total. The club is honoured to have had players represent Ireland at every position.
British and Irish Lions
- Conor Murray: 2013, played in 2 tests.
- Gordon Wood: 1959, played in 2 tests.
- Keith Wood: 1997, 2001, played in 5 tests.
- Noel Murphy: 1959, 1966, played in 8 tests.
- Tony Ward: 1980, played in 1 test.
- David Wallace: 2001, 2009, played in 3 tests.
- Richard Wallace, 1993 British&Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, played in 0 tests
- Tom Reid, 1955 British&Irish Lions tour to South Africa, played in 2 tests.
- Rob Henderson, 2001 British&Irish Lions tour to Australia, played in 3 tests.
- Mick Doyle, 1968 British&Irish Lions tour to South Africa, played in 1 test.
Captains of Ireland
- Keith Wood,
- Philip Danaher
Former presidents of the IRFU
- Full-backs: Lorcan Bourke, Derry O'Connor
- Wings: Ian Hanly,Diarmuid McCarthy, Ronan O'Mahony
- Centres: Conan Doyle (captain), Kevin Hartigan, Corey Hircock, Cian O'Shea
- Out-halves: Declan Cusack
- Scrum-halves: Conor Murray, Aaron Healy
- Front-rows: Jason Harney, Declan Lavery, Barry McNamara, JP Cooney
- Hookers: Robert Meyer, James Rael, Mike Sherry, Damien Varley
- Second-rows: Aaron McCloskey, Frank McKenna, Mark Melbourne
- Wing-forwards: Conor Hartigan, Anthony Kavanagh, Conor Fitzgerald, Paul Neville, Barry Sheehan,
- Number 8s: Darren Mulcair, David Sherry