There will be thrilling rugby on show in Cork this Saturday when UCC host the 28th edition of the Conroy Cup, an Under-20 Championship for Irish Universities – sponsored by Maxol.
Six sides will be competing for the prestigious title – holders Dublin University (seeking their fifth straight victory), Maynooth University, NUI Galway, Queen’s University, UCD and hosts UCC.
Given the youth and attacking instincts of the participating players, the Conroy Cup has a long tradition of showcasing exciting, running rugby and entertaining viewing is guaranteed at the Farm in Bishopstown, where pool games get underway at noon, and in the Mardyke when the play-off fixtures kick off at 4pm.
The Conroy Cup was presented to the Irish Universities Rugby Union (IURU) in 1989 by UCD RFC as an Under-19 competition, in honour of the late Justice Charles Conroy, and his son Paddy.
Judge Conroy was a hugely influential figure in UCD rugby, having played for the club in the 1920s and serving as president in 1953/54. ‘The Judge’ served as Joint Honorary Secretary of the IURU and was active in establishing the annual colours match between the two Dublin universities.
From 1961 to 1972, he was Honorary Secretary of the Leinster Branch and was instrumental in introducing the McCorry Cup in 1970/71, initially as an U-19 competition, although the Judge argued that it should be for Under-20s, as is now the case. Justice Conroy was elected President of the IRFU for the 1972/73 season. He died, aged 79, in 1985.
Paddy Conroy, a barrister in the civil service, was also active in UCD RFC and provided important leadership to the club. He was Honorary Secretary of the Leinster Branch from 1978 to 1985 and was one of the best-known rugby officials in the country and served the game in a distinguished manner.
He was a popular, effective and well-respected President of UCD RFC in 1987/88, but he died suddenly during his year of office.
In 1988/89 the first Conroy Cup was played and, appropriately, won by UCD, who dominated for many years, winning 16 times.
UCC, boosted by their senior team making Division 1A of the All-Ireland League for the first time, will be desperate to claim the title on home turf and Saturday promises to be an exciting addition to the Conroy Cup’’s proud and distinguished history.
CONROY CUP – IRISH UNIVERSITIES UNDER-20 CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS:
1989 UCD; 1990 UCD; 1991 UCD; 1992 UCD; 1993 UCD; 1994 UCD; 1994 UCD; 1995 UCD; 1996 Queen’s; 1997 UCC; 1998 No competition (weather); 1999 UCD; 2000 UCD; 2001 No competition (foot and mouth); 2002 UCD; 2003 UCD; 2004 UCD; 2005 UCD; 2006 UCD/DU; 2007 DU; 2008 UCC; 2009 UCC/UL; 2010 UCD; 2011 UCD; 2012 UCD; 2013 UCD; 2014 DU; 2015 DU; 2016 DU: 2017 No competition; 2018 DU.