Killorglin has long had an association with the game of Rugby Football, and it is accepted that the original club was founded in as early as 1885, although an exact date cannot be confirmed.
In the early 1880’s Rugby was the game that was played all over Kerry, and Killorglin town was no exception to this. James Patrick O’ Sullivan (J.P.) was one of the primary figures in Killorglin Rugby Football Club at this time. J.P. O’ Sullivan was a Beaufort man who proved to be a well liked and admired Captain. However, despite this popularity J.P. and Killorglin Rugby Football Club were soon to change from an oval to a round ball, and to the game of Gaelic Football. According to the book “History of Killorglin” (Kieran Foley) a letter dated July 1944, written by Patsy Begley, one of the founding members of Killorglin G.A.A. Club, “Laune Rangers” tells the story of this changeover. The letter is believed to have been written to a Kerry Priest who was ministering in Florida at the time. Within the letter it is stated that ” About 1884 or 85 we had a rugby team here in Killorglin, able to hold their own against the best in Munster, captained by J.P. O’ Sullivan”
Although the parish of Killorglin saw the rise in play of Gaelic Football, Killorglin Rugby Football Club arose again in the 1930’s. This was a period of great success for the Club. We reached the final of the Munster Junior Cup in the 1932 / 1933 Season, to be beaten by Nenagh RFC. This same year saw Killorglin Rugby Football Club winning the Galway – Foley and McElligott Cups. The Club seemed to die away again after this time.
Through the 1950’s Killorglin Rugby Football Club played in an annual Home / Away fixture with Killarney RFC on St. Stephen’s Day.
In the 1960’s Killorglin still had a rugby representation, but this time it took the form of five or six players going to play for Killarney Rugby Football Club, as still we did not have a home club of our own.
In 1975 Killorglin Rugby Football Club revived, under the leadership of Joe O’ Shea as Honorary President, Teddy O’ Connor as Honorary Secretary and Jim Wyse as Honorary Treasurer. Unfortunately this revival was short lived and the 1980’s saw the great game of Rugby Union in Killorglin dissipate once more.
In 1990 / 1991 Rugby Union was introduced into the Intermediate School, Killorglin under the guidance and commitment of Tom Curtayne and John Healy. The school saw great success on the rugby pitch.
The formidable Phoenix that is Killorglin Rugby Football Club was re-established again in the 1999 / 2000 season. The Club began with a Youths Division, an Under 12’s side and competed in the West Munster League and Galwey Foley Cup. Today the Club boasts a youth’s section ranging from Under 8’s all the way up through the ages to our Senior team. The continued success and growth of Killorglin Rugby Football Club sees it today competing in the Munster Junior League. The dedication and commitment of its coaching staff and committee saw Killorglin Rugby Football Club awarded Munster Youths Club of the Year 2008 & Mini Club of the Year 2014 a hugely prestigious and fitting honour to all involved in the Club on and off of the pitch. Many of our ex players have gone on to compete at Senior AIL Level and have represented their country at schools and college levels. Many more continue to play Rugby Union abroad with great success after learning their skill with Killorglin RFC.
Killorglin Rugby Football Club boasts a wonderful band of volunteers, who are all committed to continuous development of the game of rugby union and service to our community. The fact that we have now opened up the game to females in our youth’s division is testament to our resolve. We have also witnessed in our 2010 / 2011 season the inclusion of Female Coaches for the first time.
Some of the past volunteers who held positions in Killorglin Rugby Football Club’s Committee are:
Honorary President: Joe O’ Shea, John Houlihan, Noel O’ Mahony, John Healy, Tim O’ Shea, Tom Curtayne, Leslie West.
Honorary Secretary: Teddy O’ Connor, Tom McBride, Fergus Ledwith, Helena Buckley, Madeleine Foley Rix, Mairead O’Sullivan.
Honorary Treasurer: Jim Wyse, Tom McBride, Alan Rolston, Leslie West, Brian Leslie.