Midleton RFC, founded in 1967, appeared in Division Four of the AIB League in the 1998/99 season, writes Des Daly. The club had been promoted to the senior ranks with Banbridge after the 1997/98 Junior clubs' Round Robin series.
In their first league season, the east Cork club won Division Four and were promoted. The following season they finished in fifth place in Division Three and were again promoted.
At the moment, they are competing in the second division for the seventh consecutive season and on current form will be hard pushed to maintain their status at the end of the season.
Former Ireland flanker David Corkery took up the coaching reins last August after Jason Holland, capped more than 100 times by Munster, returned home to Australia.
Last Saturday Midleton travelled from Cork to College Park to play Dublin University in Division Two. On arrival, the team and officials were warmly welcomed by John West, a trustee of Dublin University FC and a former president of the student club.
Like his older brother Trevor, Johnâ00s roots are in Midleton where their father Tim was headmaster of Midleton College from 1928 until 1962. Tim West, on graduation from Trinity, taught at Mountjoy School where he coached the senior rugby XV. He played his rugby with Wanderers, whom he captained in 1925/26, and was capped three times by Leinster in the back row.
He was Honorary Secretary of the Leinster Schools committee before he returned to his native Cork to take up his appointment at Midleton College.
His playing career continued at senior level with Cork Constitution and after a time, he turned to refereeing. He attained inter-provincial status when he refereed the Connacht v Leinster game in 1939. Cork Con elected him as their President for the 1939/40 season and he went on to become President of the Munster Branch IRFU in 1962/63. That season Munster won the Inter-provincial championship outright for the fourth time.
In between times in Cork, West snr. was a founding member of the Munster Schools committee and was to remain Honorary Secretary of that organisation for 40 years.
In 1989, in memory of their father, John and Trevor presented the Tim West Cup for annual rugby competition between the Munster and Leinster Schools and usually one of them has been available to hand over the trophy in the intervening 18 years.
Trevor West, recently retired professor of Mathematics at Dublin University and a former senator in Dail Eireann, has served on the Dublin University Central Athletics Council (DUCAC) for 40 years and been chairman of that body for the past 30 years.
His main sporting involvement has been in universities sport and for eleven years he was Honorary Secretary of the Irish Universities Rugby Union.
In 1988 he handed over the position to his younger brother who was to continue the family tradition for a further six successful seasons during which time he led the IURU on tours to South Africa (1994) and Australia (1997). Trevor has written a number of books - three seasons ago, he edited the 150-year DUFC History.
John West excelled at cricket rather than rugby when at school in Midleton - he once opened the batting for Munster Schools with none other than George Hook (PBC Cork).
Having played rugby without distinction at Trinity, John took up refereeing and officiated at Leinster Branch level from 1965 on. He advanced to inter-provincial level in 1972 (Munster v Connacht) and two years later appeared on the international stage.
Johnâ00s first international appointment was to the England v Wales game at Twickenham on March 16, 1974. Ireland had already completed their Five Nations programme that season with two wins and a draw and were not involved on the final Saturday of the championship.
Late in the game with England leading 16-12, the Welsh left winger JJ Williams received the ball on the blindside from a lineout and appeared to get a touchdown in the corner. John had been patrolling the tail of the lineout and had no clear view of the incident.
Those were the days long before Television match officials so no try could be awarded. England held out and recorded their first win over Wales in eleven years. Ireland had won the championship.
A few weeks later, West received a white articulated blind manâ00s stick in the post - mailed from Wales. It remains, to this day, one of his most treasured possessions. The fallout was to give Welsh troubadour Max Boyce much ammunition in the following years with his references in song and verse to 'blind Irish referees.'
John West has blown the whistle at twenty Test games (1974-89), has officiated in 20 different countries and was the first visiting referee to be given a Test match in New Zealand (1979).
Elected DUFC President for 1999/2000, he took pride in watching his team win Division Four with a 100% success record. He was Trinityâ00s representative to the Leinster Branch for eight seasons before being elevated to the Branch presidency for 2001/02.
During his term of office, he emulated his fatherâ00s 1962/63 success when, this time, Leinster won outright the Inter-provincial championship (as well as the Celtic League).
JR has acted as liaison officer with many international rugby squads visiting Ireland and also with Australia for the duration of their 1999 World Cup triumph.
These days, having taken early retirement from teaching at The Kingâ00s Hospital, he is actively involved as either a Citing Commissioner or a Match Commissioner at international venues all over the world and is already booked for duty during this current Six Nations.
Renowned as a raconteur and fluent in French, he is in great demand as an after dinner speaker especially at rugby functions.
John West is the third member of the West family to have served Irish rugby with distinction both on and off the field. None of the family received, nor did they seek, any accolades or knighthoods - but then again, it is not every rugby family in Ireland that had a stand named after them at Lansdowne Road!
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Club: Ards RFC
Lives: Comber, County Down
Occupation: Student (UUJ)/Works At Comber Leisure Centre
Representative Honours: Ulster Colleges/Irish Colleges
League Tries This Season: 8
In The News Because: He scored five of Ards' eight tries in their 46-7 defeat of Connemara in Division Three last weekend
...St. Mary's College RFC had their former captain Trevor Brennan as their main speaker at their annual dinner last Friday...
...Fresh from officiating at Murrayfield last weekend, international referee Alan Lewis will be on AIB League duty at Thomond Park on Saturday, as Shannon take on Dungannon in their 210th league fixture...
...Last week against Old Belvedere, Paddy Maguire of Suttonians became the fourth player to score 100 points in Division Two this season...
...Blackrock College have collected the most bonus points - 10 - since the current AIB League season began back in October...
...UCD will hope to ease their relegation worries on Saturday, with their four Ireland Under-20 players back in harness for their trip to Galwegians...
...Former Ireland scrum half Brian O'Meara, who is currently with Munster, has scored in six of Highfield's ten league fixtures since October...
...Andrew Spraggon's Wanderers side have won their last eight league matches - they are at home to Ballynahinch this Saturday in a top-of-the-table clash in Division Three...
AIB LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK:
15 - Andy Dunne (Old Belvedere)
14 - Ronan Carroll (Greystones)
13 - Alan Thompson (Old Wesley)
12 - David Lombard (Clonakilty)
11 - Jordan Millar (Ards)
10 - Gary Jones (Waterpark)
9 - Michael Pyper (Queen's University)
1 - Eddie Knowles (Clonakilty)
2 - Damien Campbell (Rainey Old Boys)
3 - Lewis Johnston (Ballynahinch)
4 - Paul Ryan (Wanderers)
5 - Ian Carroll (Sunday's Well)
6 - Eoin Scannell (Clonakilty)
7 - Jon Paine (Ballynahinch)
8 - Jonny Graham (Ballynahinch)