Pictured at the Tower Hotel attending the Waterford City RFC 125th. Anniversary Gala Ball 2018 were John Wilson, Catherine Wilson, Damian Dixon, Isabel Dixon, Jenny and Damian Barry. Photos: John Power.
On October 21, 1892, a meeting was held at MW Greer’s, 47 Michael Street, for the purpose of forming a football club to be styled and titled “the City of Waterford Football Club”.
Roll on 1893 – Grover Cleveland is sworn in as the 24th President of the USA, a crash on the New York Stock Exchange starts a depression, and Douglas Hyde, Eoin MacNeill, Eugene O’Growney and Thomas O’Neill Russell establish the Gaelic League to encourage the preservation of Irish culture.
As well as these milestones, Waterford City Rugby Football Club was also born and played their first game against Rockwell College on February 4, 1893. City lost by one try to nil.
In 1898, City secured a field for practice. This was one of many grounds that Waterford played on. They moved from the school grounds in Grantstown to Ballinenashagh, Tycor, Newtown before eventually resting in Kilbarry, now home to top class playing facilities, large dressing rooms, a meeting hall, two full size pitches and floodlights for night games.
In the early years City played many different clubs some of whom are long gone; Kilmacthomas, Kilmacow, Waterford Bankers, Bishop Foy’s High School, Waterford Bohemiams, Shannon, Young Munster, Carlow, Lansdowne, Wexford, Mr J Brownes XV, Dublin GPO, Queens College (Cork) and UCC.
An excerpt from the annals of long ago read: “There is no reason why Waterford should not be one of the crack clubs of Munster. We have the material, energy and enthusiasm.”
Hundreds if not thousands of people have either walked the pitch or have family members involved in some way with the club. They are always striving to better themselves and constantly seek new membership and players from all walks of life. The mantra is “instead of a list of 20 or 30 members, let us boast of a membership of a few hundred”.
They recently received a package from Mr Daniel Mulhall, while he was serving as Ambassador of Ireland to the United Kingdom. Contained within are clippings from the very early years up to and including a member’s booklet. They were very fortunate to have received this information and wish to express their sincere gratitude to Mr Mulhall. They hope to get this digitised and put up on their club website in due course.
HISTORY OF THE CLUB
Rev CGR Stanley, played for City until 1923 (capt 1912 /13) and was made “Honorary Vice President of The Club for Life” on September 30, 1929. The Cap was presented to him in 1909/10 by Club Captain, JJ O’Regan. Rev Stanley donated it to the club in 1992. He passed away in 1977, age 93.
The club will always be very grateful to all the men and women who helped form and shape City to what they are today, including and never forgetting, all those during the difficult times in the early 60s, who revived the club and continued the great work of their predecessors.
Looking forward, the club will strive to honour and build itself to greater heights, not only for past players or the current generation of players, but for those who will carry the flag for many generations to come.
Waterford City RFC celebrated 125 years 1893-2018 with a gala ball in the Tower Hotel last Friday with over 200 in attendance it was a great night, Waterford City & County Mayor Pat Nugent and wife Eileen plus the presidents of Waterpark, Dungarvan and Tramore were in attendance. Special guests on the night were Munster and Ireland international player Denis Leamy and Munster Leinster and Ireland player Stephen Keogh.
Waterford City RFC president Dave O’Connor would like to thank everyone who attended and to the organisers Jemma Jacob, Paul Ryan and Ben Duggan and to the Tower hotel and all the sponsors on the night.