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Wicklow RFC - A Brief History

Friday 11th October 1963 - The Wicklow People describes the beginnings of Wicklow Rugby Club as follows:

"A meeting was held in Wicklow on Friday night for the purpose of forming a rugby club. There was an excellent attendance. The club has applied to the IRFU for membership and it is hoped to participate in the Provincial Towns cup this year." The first match was played in Bray against a selected side known as "The Gorillas". Ten minutes after the start the first ever Wicklow score was recorded - a drop goal from the boot of Billy Clarke. This was quickly followed by Wicklow's first try scored by Michael Sloan. Wicklow won 11 - 6.

That day's team contained many well known faces such as Tony Delahunt, Billy Clarke, Pat Clarke, Tom Porter, Ned Flannery, Malachy Stone, Paschal Bermingham, Basil Phelan, Mike Sloan & Tommy Staunton to name a few.

In the early years one of the problems encountered was to find a home for its games. In the mid 1970's the club settled at Ashtown lane after having played at Ballygonnel, Kilpoole, Tinakilly, Newrath, Killoughter, The Beehive, Coolbeg, Rosannagh, Ballybla & Glenealy. In those early years the players could best be described as a pretty mixed bunch but the club was lucky however in have very good players in key positions. Although the backbone of the team was formed by players familiar to the game, the club is deeply indebted to those players whose rugby careers began with Wicklow. Many of those inexperienced players were liable to do almost anything when confronted with a new situation. One incident which has become part of folklore in WRFC concerns a player who on his debut was faced with the prospect of fielding a high ball with the opposition pack converging on him. In this instance the player decided on safety and in a flash of quick thinking headed the ball into touch. Wicklow RFC is built on moments like these.

From these humble beginnings Wicklow RFC are now celebrating the most successful period in the history of the club, and can look back with pride on the commitment and energy which has seen the club develop from a single team relying on the generosity of local landowners for playing facilities to a club fielding two senior teams, 10 juvenile teams and two girls teams.

Wicklow Wicklow Rugby Club was established in 1963 and the Clubhouse was built in 1976. In 2000 the Clubhouse was extended to accommodate the club's growth. The club opened its superb top pitch, capable of being played in almost all weathers, in 1994 and hosted several international fixtures including Ireland v Wales U21 in 1995 and 2002. In 2008 the club completed an ambitious scheme to improve the two remaining pitches and develop a training area. A major floodlighting scheme has just been completed with the aid of funding from the National Lottery. As of 2010, planning and committee approval has been granted for the development of a gym and fundraising is already underway.

 

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