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Club Focus: Shannon RFC

6th September 2013 By Munster Rugby

Club Focus:  Shannon RFC

Founded back in 1884, Shannon RFC is one of Munster’s oldest rugby clubs. It was first captained by one of its founder members Paddy Lynch with Stephen Hanrahan assuming the role of Club President in the first two years of its existence.

Founded back in 1884, Shannon RFC is one of Munster’s oldest rugby clubs. It was first captained by one of its founder members Paddy Lynch with Stephen Hanrahan assuming the role of Club President in the first two years of its existence.

Shannon RFC was a Junior club for the best part of 70 years winning its first of many Munster Junior Cup titles in 1914. The club won its first Transfield Cup title in 1938, and in 1940 in a unique treble, claimed the Charity Cup, the Transfield Cup and the Munster Junior Cup.

The club’s continued and consistent success as a Junior Club eventually led to the club attaining Senior status in season 1953-54. In 1960 Shannon won their first Munster Senior Cup title, defeating UCC in a pulsating replay at Thomond Park, having drawn 8-8 the previous week at Musgrave Park in Cork.

Over the years, since the club's inception, Shannon have had numerous temporary grounds throughout North Munster, among them the field at the Island Bank, Gilligan's Field, Johnny Cusack's field and Egan's Field on the Mill Road in Corbally.

Shannon’s first purchased grounds were 14 acres of land at Fir Hill, Gortatogher, (better known as Athlunkard) just two miles from Limerick city however, a few years ago, it was determined that this was not big enough, so it was sold to Corbally United, in favour of the club’s current more spacious grounds at Coonagh off the Ennis Road.

Shannon now have three training pitches with floodlights and newly built dressing rooms, with two further pitches currently being developed.

While still a Junior Club, Shannon became co-tenants with Bohemians RFC at Thomond Park and in 1967 introduced their own Club Pavilion. The Pavilion was extended in 1978 and it has been catering for fans attending Munster Rugby’s Heineken Cup and RaboDirect PRO12 home games since ever since.

One of Shannon’s greatest honours was the achievement of four-in-a-row All Ireland League titles in the late 1990’s and since then have won seven successive Munster Senior Cups from season 1999/2000 to 2005/2006. The club again captured the AIL in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and 2009 to bring the total to nine All Ireland titles while also "Shannonwinning the All Ireland Cup in 2008.

To date Shannon RFC continue to be a formidable club in Munster with a total of four senior mens teams, a successful youths and mini section along with a women’s first XV and girl’s side.

A total of eleven Shannon women players have worn the green jersey for Ireland including Joy Neville who recently claimed the grand slam trophy.

Twenty male Shannon players have been capped for their country including former Ireland manager Brian O'Brien, Brendan Foley, Colm Tucker, Gerry McLoughlin, Mick Moylett, Mick Galwey, Mick Fitzgibbon, Anthony Foley, Eddie Halvey, Alan Quinlan, John Hayes, Peter Stringer, Marcus Horan, Trevor Hogan, Jerry Flannery, Tony Buckley, Donnacha Ryan, Ian Dowling, Niall Ronan and Felix Jones. Of that bunch, Gerry McLoughlin, Colm Tucker and Mick Galwey have represented the Lions on tour.

Three Shannon players played on that famous Munster side that defeated the touring All Blacks (12-0) on 31st October 1978 in Thomond Park. They are, Brendan Foley, Colm Tucker and Gerry McLoughlin. Mick Galwey captained the Munster side that lost so narrowly in the European Cup Finals of 2000 and 2002 (going out at the semi-final stage in 2001).

Anthony Foley, along with his father Brendan and sister Rosie represented Shannon, Munster and Ireland with distinction. Foley topped it all off in May of 2006 when he led Munster to that wonderful European Cup final victory in Cardiff over Biarritz.

A notable long running club member is Stephen Fitzgerald who at 98 is the oldest member of Shannon RFC and maybe one of the oldest members of a rugby club in the country. He played with Shannon RFC in the late 30’s and early 40’s as well as being the club president in the 40’s.

A great milestone in the history of the club was the celebration of their Centenary in 1984. In a long and illustrious history Shannon has won everything that has to be won in the game however, that does not diminish the hunger for success that is the hallmark of Shannon teams at every level.

Having recently appointed former Munster Academy Manager Ian Sherwin as the club’s Director of Rugby, Shannon RFC will be putting the disappointment of last season behind them and are confident they can add to their illustrious trophy cabinet in season 2013/14.

Club Officers
President: Vinny McMahon
Vice President: Jack Bourke
Junior Vice President: Tim O’Donoghue
Chairman: John Leahy
Hon. Secretary: Tadhg Crowe
Hon. Treasurer: Gerry O’Neill

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