Clontarf FC

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Clontarf Rugby Club
Clontarf FC Crest.svg
Full name Clontarf Rugby Football Club
Union IRFU
Nickname(s) Tarf, The Bulls
Founded 1876
Region County Dublin
Ground(s) Castle Avenue (Capacity: 3,200)
Chairman Geoff Curran
President Blayney Russell
Captain(s) Ben Reilly
League(s) All-Ireland League, 1A
Team kit
Official website

Clontarf Football Club is an Ireland rugby union club based in Clontarf, Dublin and playing in Division 1A of the All-Ireland League.


Having played firstly in a field at the bottom of Vernon Avenue, then on a site currently used by Dublin Bus as a Depot., the club moved to its present location in 1896 and celebrated 100 years at Castle Avenue in 1996. The Bull Emblem used in the logo is that of the district - Cluain Tarbh, translates, The Field of the Bull. The Red and Blue colours are used by most sporting clubs in the Parish.

The minutes of early club meetings show that the members used the Boat Club premises as changing rooms and that goal posts were erected each Saturday morning and taken down after the match. The Club was also approached by a local group who wished to play Gaelic Football on Sundays and it was agreed to make the pitch available provided the footballers dismantled the goalposts after their matches.

In 1902-03 Clontarf was admitted to Senior Ranks - Leinster League - and in the following year reached the final of the Leinster Club Senior Cup but were beaten by Landsdowne one goal (5 points) to one try (3 points).

Since 1896 the grounds at Castle Avenue have been jointly occupied by the Clontarf Cricket Club and Football Club. Until 1947 both games were played on the same ground, the wicket was fenced off in the winter. In 1982 following a disastrous fire which destroyed the bar and lounge an agreement was reached between both clubs to go their separate ways, each club was provided with separate premises and the use of a common main bar and hall for each clubs season.

The official Club title is Clontarf Football Club rather than Clontarf Rugby Football Club. The explanation for this gives an insight into the rich history of the club - the club was formed before the establishment of the Irish Rugby Union. One of the clubs finest hours was the defeat of Athletic Rugby Football Club from New Zealand in 1966. It was the only defeat during their world tour. Among the teams played were Blackheath from England and Cardiff of Wales. Athletic was captained by I.N. McEwan. This win is still regarded as one of Clontarf's greatest rugby feats.

Other highlights of the Club's history include the winning of the Leinster Club Senior Cup in 1936 a feat which was to elude Clontarf teams for another 63 years until the much sought after cup was returned to Castle Avenue in April 1999. However, the intervening years were not without success as various teams representing the Club won leagues and cups in the 1940s, 1950's, 1960's and 1970s. But it has been the last two decades of the Millennium that have witnessed some of Clontarf's proudest moments with the winning of the Leinster Floodlight Competition in 1989, 1990,1997 and 1998, the All Ireland Floodlight Competition in 1990 and the All Ireland League Division II in 1996/97. Since attaining Division 1status in 1997, Clontarf has maintained its position as one of the top twelve Clubs in Ireland. It has reached three All Ireland League division one finals, two of them to record winners Shannon. The club has produced many professional rugby players such as Cian Healy, Emile Prior and Brian O'Driscoll.

In 2014, Clontarf won the All-Ireland League for the first time in the club's history, topping the table by a point, after a nail niting finish which saw Clontarf beat Ballynahinch in Castle Avenue, but Old Belvedere lose to Garryowen, giving Clontarf the title.

Four days after this victory, the same Clontarf side faced the world-famous Barbarians F.C. to mark the 1000 year anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf. Clontarf were winners on the day, running out 43-42.

In the community[edit]

On a local level the club runs a " Mini" rugby team and Youth Rugby is of large importance to the Clontarf Club who have invested a lot of time and energy in this section. The club has swept the boards of Mini Rugby over recent seasons in home and international competitions.

The club has had a close association with the local St. Paul's Raheny, Mount Temple Comprehensive School, and Blackrock Colleges for many years. The Clontarf club also has a strong active social committee, with theme nights, awards balls, golf outings and Tag Rugby runs during the summer months.


Clontarf have teams from senior level down as young as under-8. At senior level there are five teams, the firsts play in the AIL Division 1, while the rest of the senior teams play in the Leinster Metropolitan Leagues. In 2007/2008 the first team won the Leinster League cup beating St Mary's College in the final. They were also a runner-up in the J1 Section A league, and runners-up in the J4 league. The J2 team won the J2 section B gaining promotion to J2 section A. In 2014/2015, the J4 team won the Leinster Branch Metro League Division 6 title and won promotion to division 5.

2013/14 Squad[edit]

  • Full-backs: Darragh Fitzpatrick, Timmy McCoy
  • Wings: Mick McGrath, Max McFarland, Ciaran Butler
  • Centres: Evan Ryan, Conor Keegan, Killian Lett,Colm O'Shea, Dan Hanratty
  • Out-halves: David Joyce, Noel Reid
  • Scrum-halves: Sam Cronin, Peter Du Toit
  • Front-rows: Ian Hirst, Tadhg Furlong, Royce Burke-Flynn, David Hegarty, Keith Donoghue Cian Healy
  • Hookers: Bryan Byrne, Cian Culleton, Cathal O'Flynn,
  • Second-rows: Ben Reilly, Conor O'Keefe, Eoghan Browne, Tom Byrne, Mick Kearney
  • Wing-forwards: Simon Crawford, Adrian D'arcy, Karl Moran,
  • Number 8s: Martin Garvey, Tony Ryan,


Notable players[edit]

External links[edit]