Last Sunday was an historic and long-awaited day in the history of Scariff RFC. The Clare club’s senior team won their first ever silverware when they beat Waterford City 18-6 in the Gleeson Cup final in Thurles. IrishRugby.ie takes a closer look at Scariff’s history, the people involved and its development in recent seasons.
President: Donal Molloy
Vice President: Tom Corry
Treasurer: Michael Madde
Assistant Treasurer: Michael Vaughan
Honorary Secretary: Jennifer Skelly
Assistant Secretary/PRO: Ger Maguire
Fixtures Secretary/Youth Officer: Barry Gibbons
Coach: Nick Grisewood
Manager: Gearoid Devanney
Captain: Robbie Madden
Vice Captain: Mike Vaughan
Scariff RFC was formed in 1963 and since that date, last Sunday’s Gleeson Cup success has been the first silverware the club’s senior team has won.
In 1993 the club won the local Clare-based Cullican Cup but this recent win is their first in an official Munster-based competition.
Scariff RFC is the home of East Clare rugby with players coming from most of the surrounding areas to don the Scariff team colours.
During its formative years, the club’s facilities were evidently primitive. With no permanent home, the playing pitch was a transient entity, moving from location to location until it found its long-term and current home in Fossabeg on the Scariff ‘Bog’ Road.
It was purchased in 1991 and officially opened five years later after back-breaking local voluntary work and fundraising.
By then, however, Scariff RFC was already creating its own folklore, with many of the townsfolk today still recalling tales of water hoses being dragged after matches from a local backyard to wash down muddy players and the like.
The purchase of Fossabeg was a direct result of a huge revival of interest in the club in the 1980s. By 1994, the first game was held there and the club finally, in 1996, officially opened their clubhouse complete with two changing rooms, shower facilities, storage room, referee’s changing room and a gym room.
Scarriff have succeeded in attracting unprecedented numbers of young players over the past five to six years.
Whereas in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s there was just one adult team in the club, Scariff now have Under-8, Under-10, Under-12, Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 teams, whose numbers are guaranteeing the existence of the club long into the future.
The club is building for success with emphasis on developing the underage structures, encouraging local community sporting activity and building links with other local sporting organisations and even small country rugby clubs in France, Wales and England.
Current Scariff RFC players hail from Ballina, Bodyke, Feakle, Flagmount, Killaloe, Mount Shannon, O’Briens Bridge, Ogonnelloe, Scariff, Tuam Graney and Whitegate.
Two years ago, the club committee appointed Gearoid Devanney as team manager and Nick Grisewood as team coach.
With the help of forwards coach Colm Burke, they have built up the squad as part of their three-year plan to raise the competitive levels within the senior set-up and also to instil the confidence and belief within the club to allow it to compete in all competitions and levels.
Scariff’s assistant secretary and PRO Ger Maguire said: “The 2007/08 season has shown great promise for the club with six straight wins in the Gleeson League and narrowly missing out on a quarter-final final place.
“There were great Junior Cup performances against Division 3 teams. Beating Killarney and hard fought games against last years winner’s Kinsale have given the bite and missing resolve within the team which played a large part in the clash against the unknown entity of Waterford City in the Gleeson Cup final.
“Scariff will be playing in the Evans League quarter-finals finals against Cashel tonight (Wednesday) and have high hopes of progressing and claiming further silverware this year.”
He added: “While the Gleeson Cup victory may be a small step compared to the larger clubs, it is of huge benefit to the Scariff club boosting confidence within the team and also helping to promote and attract new players and support within the local community.
“Based in the heartland of hurling and GAA supporters, Scariff RFC stands proud of its rugby history and are avid players and supporters alike.”
“We’ve a strong underage structure which bodes well for the future and they regularly compete with and beat the bigger Limerick-based teams with the Under-12s winning the shield competition last year.
“Combined with Ballina/Killaloe, Scariff has about 200 underage registered players across all the different age groups.
“The club has an ambitious facilities development programme, approved under National Lottery funding, to support the growth ambitions for the club at both senior and underage levels.”
For a match report on Scariff’s Gleeson Cup final win over Waterford City, please click here.
For match photos from the historic day, please click here.