Irish Universities Rugby Union

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Combined Universities of Ireland
Union Irish Universities Rugby Union, affiliated to the Irish Rugby Football Union
Emblem(s) The Shamrock on the cross of Saint Patrick with white background
Ground(s) Aviva Stadium
President Derek McGrath
Coach(es) Dan Van Zyl
1st kit
2nd kit

The Irish Universities Rugby Union (IURU) is the representative body for university rugby union in Ireland. The union was established in 1904 and currently consists of the following members; University College Dublin RFC, Dublin University FC, Queen's University RFC, University College Cork RFC, NUI Galway R.F.C., NUI Maynoooth R.F.C.. University of Ulster Coleraine RFC. In addition University of Limerick have in the recent past competed in IURU competitions.

The IURU organizes the Combined Universities Representative Rugby Team which competes annually. While the Irish Universities side had played games against other Irish & English representative sides since the 1930s the first game against International opposition was played against the Scottish Universities side in 1954. In the past the Combined Universities played against all the major southern hemisphere full international touring sides, e.g. playing and beating the Springboks in 1965 in Thomond Park therefore making them the first Irish side to beat an international touring team. The Combined Universities have also played against Australia in 1968 and New Zealand in 1974. The Combined Universities have toured overseas on 4 occasions, to New Zealand in 1978, to Japan & South Korea in 1987, to South Africa in 1994 and to Australia in 1997. Uniquely the Combined Universities team players wear their respective universities clubs socks with the green international jersey.

Since the advent of professional rugby, matches against full senior international sides have become a thing of the past, however the IURU has continued to arrange annual international fixtures against other National University and Student sides from France, England, Wales and Scotland and against IRFU developmental sides. The most recent Combined University fixture was held on 09 April 2015 against the English Students side in College Park, Trinity College Dublin with the English students coming out on top on a 57:30 scoreline in what all present agreed was a feast of open attacking rugby. This fixture was preceded by a lunch to honour the surviving members of the 1965 Combined Universities team who defeated the full South African test side by 12 points to 10 in Thomond Park, Limerick.

The IURU also organizes four domestic tournaments across the full spectrum of performance and participation grades on an annual basis. In recent years all four competitions have been competed for within a " University Festival of Rugby" tournament. The inaugural tournament was hosted in 2014 by UCD, The 2015-2016 University Festival of Rugby was held in Terenure College RFC grounds in Dublin on 24 October 2015. 8 universities were represented putting 22 sides onto the field and over 550 players participating making it the largest 3rd level rugby event in Ireland. The following four competitions were held;

The Dudley Cup is the senior inter university competition and is named after Lord Dudley, former Viceroy of Ireland who donated the trophy following a visit by King Edward VII to what became UCC in August 1903. The first Dudley Cup final was held in March 1904 with Queens University Belfast the inaugural winners. The Dudley Cup has been competed for on 62 occasions and to date University College Cork have taken the most titles with 22 successes followed by UCD with 21 . In recent years it has been competed for by the 4 clubs in the IURU with senior club (AIL) status. The final of the Dudley Cup for season 2012-2013 was fought out between QUB and TCD with Queens coming out on top on a 16:13 score line. The 2013-2014 final was played between UCD and UCC with UCD winning on a 42:07 scoreline. The 2014-2015 Dudley Cup was played between the four university clubs currently playing in UBAIL in a round robin format with Queens University Belfast ably led by Captain and number 8 Ryan Clarke winning all three of their games and therefore the competition.The 2015-2016 competition was won by Dublin University FC beating UCC RFC in a closely fought final.

The Conroy Cup is the U-20s level inter-varsity rugby tournament. It was inaugurated in 1988 and it is named in honour of father and son " Judge" Conroy & Paddy Conroy both past Presidents of UCD RFC. Unlike the Dudley Cup, both NUIG and NUIM take part in this competition. The Conroy Cup for season 2013-2014 was held for the first time in the National University of Ireland, Maynooth campus with 6 Universities competing, TCD pipped UCD in a closely fought final on a 13:8 scoreline. The 2014-2015 Conroy Cup final was won by DUFC who defeated UCD 19 points to 03 points. DUFC retained the Conroy in the 2015-2016 season once again defeating UCD RFC in a hard fought encounter.

The Maughan-Scally Cup is the junior inter-varsity rugby tournament. It was inaugurated in 2010 and is named after two stalwarts of UCD RFC and university rugby in Ireland. The Maughan-Scally is considered to be the most social, enjoyable and "old school" of the inter-varsity competitions. The 2013-2014 competition was held in Cork with 4 sides competing and NUIG RFC emerginig victorious. The winner of the 2014-2015 Maughan-Scally final was NUIG who defeated UCD by 07 points to 03 points. The 2015-2016 competition was won by UCD RFC who turned the tables on NUIG in a comprehensive win for the Dublin side. The 2016-2017 winners of the cup, Ulster University, Coleraine (UUCRFC) beat NUIG RFC 14-15 and UCD RFC 43-24 in a high paced fast tempo game.

The Kay Bowen Trophy is the ladies inter-varsity rugby tournament. It was inaugurated in 2012 and is named after Kay Bowen past President of Dublin University Rugby Club. The competition is played over a weekend and is hosted in turn by one of the member clubs. It was held in 2013-2014 in the UCD grounds in Belfield with 4 sides competing. A strong NUIG side saw off 2012-2013 winners Trinity in the final. The 2014-2015 season saw increased participation with DUFC (Trinity), NUIG, UCC, UCD, QUB all entering teams. NUIG retained the title beating UCC 29-5 in the final. The 2015-2016 competition was once again won by NUIG making it three wins in a row for the westerners.

References[edit]

  • UCD RFC website, UCC RFC website, QUB RFC website, DUFC website