Each week thescore.ie will give you the low-down, interesting facts and fascinating anecdotes on an Irish rugby club.
We start off with Clontarf and tales of controversial cup final decisions, the winger that almost broke the All Blacks’ spell and the O’Driscoll family legacy.
- Founded: 1876
- Home grounds: Castle Avenue
- Club colours: Blue and Red hoops, white shorts, blue and red hooped socks
- Club Captain: Ben Reilly [Ireland Clubs and Colleges]
- Honours: Leinster League in [2007/08], A.I.L Division Two [96/97], Smithwicks Floodlit Tropy [x3]
- Notable Internationals: Cian Healy [40 caps], Paddy Lawlor [12 caps], Fergus Dunlea [3 caps], JJ Fortune [2 caps], James Downey (1 Cap).
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClontarfRugby
- Twitter: @ClontarfRugby
John Dinan — Former player and club president
I joined the club in 1961 and played alongside a great winger called Johnny Fortune. In 1963, Johnny was called up for Ireland and made his debut against New Zealand at Lansdowne Road. He scored a great, diving try that put Ireland ahead — Pat Casey with the pass to set him up — but the All Blacks scored a try and penalty and won 6-5 in the end.
Clontarf played Wellington Athletic — a team that would go on to beat the Lions in a midweek match — in 1966. They were captained by the great All Black Nev MacEwan and featured a lot of great talents. There was a huge crowd there and ‘Tarf beat them 19-16. It was the first time a team from New Zealand were beaten on Irish soil.
Frank and Bill O’Driscoll, Brian’s father and grandfather, played for Clontarf at centre and scrum-half respectively. Frank was a fine player, who captained Clontarf in 1976 and played for Ireland against Argentina. Unfortunately, back then Argentina were not listed as a Test nation.
Brian played under-age rugby with us so that’s three generations with the club. We can’t really claim him as he made a name for himself with Blackrock College before Leinster snapped him up.
Cian Healy in action for Clontarf in 2007. INPHO/Cathal Noonan
We won three floodlit cups in Leinster during the 1980s and won the All-Ireland title in 1990. They went close again the following year when they had 19-year-old Gary Teichmann [Springbok legend] in their team. We came close to A.I.L success in 2003, 06, 09 and 2012. It seems to go in three-year cycles for us.
In 2009 we lost out on the league title when we drew 19-19 with Shannon. The score was still 19-19 after extra time so it went to tries scored. Both teams had scored two apiece so the fourth stipulation was whoever scored the first try won the game, and league. It was a heartbreaking way to lose out.
We are playing the Barbarians next April and are hopeful of getting former players such as James Downey, Ian Keatley, Cian Healy and James Hart involved.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Cian Healy
- James Downey
- the All Blacks