History of Mullingar Rugby Club
Mullingar Rugby Club was founded at a meeting in the Central Hotel, Oliver Plunkett Street (opp. Tom Birmingham’s) in 1925 when a group of enthusiasts formed the club. Founders were J. E. Wallace, J Doyle, Dr. J. O`Sullivan, J Brophy, J M Winckworth and S K Brabazon. The first matches were played at the Showground’s which was part of the racecourse at Newbrook. Fixtures were played against Cavan, Kells, Ballymahon, Kilbeggan, Trinity and Shannon Buccaneers.
In 1935/36 due to a lack of players the club languished and stopped playing. Eight years later the club was reformed in April 1944 and since that date has always gone forward, although at times there were a few hiccups.
The first major success came in March 1947 when after beating Tullamore and Birr, the club went into the Leinster Towns Cup semifinal against Curragh Command. This game was played in Donnybrook, and was one of the last times a Towns Cup was played in Dublin. Sadly Mullingar lost 3-0.
The crowning moment for the club came in 1954 when we won the Towns Cup for the first time. Wins over Dundalk away 6-0, at home Vs Navan 9-0. Next game was the semi-final Vs North Kildare, the game being played in Tullamore, with Mullingar winning 8-5. The final was back in Tullamore on April 11th against Naas. The game was won 3-0 (try was 3 pts) with a try by Lenzie O Sullivan after what was then called a foot rush. Mullingar were captained by Milo Cox.
Mullingar were to win the Towns Cup again in 1956 with Mick Nugent as Captain. This was the year that Mullingar had the services of 2 former Irish internationals, Kevin Quinn and Mick (Yak) Hillery, who were working in the town. Wins against Birr, North Kildare and Tullamore brought Mullingar back to Tullamore against Kilkenny. Milo Cox scoring 2 penalties to leave Mullingar victories again by 6-3. Mullingar got to 3 finals since but in 1989, 1993 after a replay and 1996, we were to taste defeat.
The club played in a number of venues including the Camp Field before purchasing and opening our grounds at Cullion in 1977. On the playing fields Mullingar has had success winning a number of Midland leagues and winning the Towns Seconds Cup, Thirds and Fourths Cups. The Club purchased more land in 1987 and an additional pitch was opened in 1990.
The 1990s saw Mullingar looking to broaden their coaching experiences with the introduction for the first time of outside coaches. This brought a young 25yr old New Zealander by the name of Josef Charles Schmidt who came to take up a coaching position with Mullingar. He brought his wife Kelly with him and they made a great impression on the local rugby players and on all in the club. Joe as he has become known has gone on to greater heights but has remained a frequent visitor to Mullingar and indeed it was to Mullingar that Joe came on the Monday night after winning his first Heineken Cup with Leinster to celebrate with his former teammates from Mullingar RFC.
Youth rugby started the 1978 after the move to Cullion and has grown in strength every decade since.
In the last few years Mullingar fielded Youth Girls teams for the first time and also have mini girls playing. Mullingar won the inaugural U 15s Girls Leinster League in 2012/13 season
In 2013 Mullingar started Tag rugby for people with disabilities and this group now has about 30 people playing Tag rugby and they have played a number of games including a game during the interval of a Leinster Rabo direct League game
Mullingar have had some notable successes at youth`s level, especially in the last few years winning Leinster leagues and Cups at all levels from 13s to 20s. 2011/12 season was an especially good year for our youths when, our U 13s won Midland League, Leinster League and Cup, The U 15s won the Midland league and the U 17s the Midland League and the Leinster Cup. Eleven of our Youths were part of the Midlands area squad of 22 who won the Shane Horgan Inter Area Cup in Leinster.
In 2013 Mullingar had 5 of our youths on the Leinster U 18s squad who won the Interprovincial title and 4 of these players went on to play for Ireland U 18s side, a thoroughly outstanding feat.
In the 2013/2014 season Mullingar senior men have won the Midland League, our Women the Leinster Plate , our Youths, Midland League at U 15s, Leinster Premier League and Cup double at
U 15s, U 19s the Midland League and our U 20s the Gale Cup.
In the past 8 years Mullingar have gone from fielding 2 senior men`s teams and youths at 8s, 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s to squads at 7s, 8s, 9s, 10s, 11s, 12s, 13s, 14s, 15s, 17s, 19s, U 12s Girls, U 15s girls, U 18s girls, Disability Tag Rugby squad, Senior Women and 2 senior men`s squads. In addition to the increase in the number of teams, the number in each age group has increased with our women looking to field a second team this year. The future looks bright for Mullingar RFC.