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Community News

Updated 01/06/2023

Our title is our glory. So goes the opening lines of a very familiar parish song and the following piece on their website puts is in the picture of their humble beginnings and how far they have come in the seven plus decades they have been inexistence. “St. Marys Rugby Football Club was founded in 1943 in the shadow of St. Mary’s Cathedral in the heart of St. Francis Abbey when a group of sporting enthusiasts that included Harry Bedford, Paddy Mc Sweeney, Michael Bourke, Michael Kelly, Paddy Casey, Tommy Carr and Michael Doran decided to form a new rugby club to cater for the many young men of the area. The club applied for membership of the Munster Branch in April 1943 and on the proposal of Peter Galbraith (Garryowen) and seconded by Charlie St. George (Young Munster) they were accepted.
The first meeting of the club was held in St. Mary’s Hall (Todsies) and a committee was formed. Michael Kelly was elected President, Paddy Casey as Secretary and Tom Joe Finnan as Treasurer. Tom Joe was replaced by Michael Doran after a short period due to work commitments. The committee comprised of Tommy Carr, Harry Bedford, Tawdy Clancy, Sean Keogh, Peter Mc Namara, Paddy Mc Sweeney and Joe Hanrahan. In the early 1940’s St. Mary’s like most junior clubs did not a playing pitch for home games and so depended on the goodwill of others to fulfil their fixtures. Most of the training was done on the Island Bank but in bad weather the forwards used St. Mary’s dance hall for scrum practice in their socks. Many playing areas were used for home matches including Scouts Field, Slattery’s Paddock, Regans Field, and Nash’s Field before they obtained their own pitch at Corbally.
In only their second competitive season St. Mary’s won their first trophy the City Cup in 1945-46 and they competed in their first Munster Junior Cup Final in 1948-49 but alas lost out to Cork Con in the final in only their fifth season in competitive rugby. It was not until 1967-68 that St. Mary’s won the Munster Junior Cup for their one and only time. They have also won the Munster Junior Challenge Cup in 1990-91 and the Munster Junior Plate on two occasions in 1985-86 and 1990-91. The Transfield Cup has been won five times plus numerous underage trophies in both boys and girls. (Continued next week as to their superb facilities)
The facilities that the club have now are second to none having come on in leaps and bounds since those early days and having completed the first phase of the re- development which included a complete new playing surface which is one of the best in the country this is to be followed by the erection of floodlights which is due to be finished by Aug-2012. There is a lovely clubhouse with a capacity of 270 people to cater for any occasion and an all weather pitch which is 40m x 20m and floodlit.  All this is complemented by three changing rooms, a referee’s room and showers, which is a long way from the days where the players used to wash themselves in the river after training and games.Now heading into our Seventy-first year it is fitting that our Junior side is now back playing in Division One of the Munster Junior league having won Division Two (Liam Fitzgerald Trophy).”
On this Thursday evening 1st June, a bio diversity walk will take place on the historic hillside of Knockfierna, which is a must for lovers of our landscape and its inhabitants. Pat O’Donovan has secured the services of two of Ireland’s leading experts in that field. The walk will leave the Rambling House at 7.30pm and will be led by well-known TG4 personality, Mr. Jim McNamara and Bird Watch Ireland’s journalist and author Mr. Albert Nolan. This is an ideal opportunity to learn, while taking part in a walk, viewing plant life, insect and birds.
On April 27th 2024 Athlunkard Street celebrates 200 years in existence. We believe it is the only street in Limerick whose precise date of creation is known. Are you interested in marking the occasion and what might we do? Please contact Fr. Richie on 087 2977500.

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