The James G. O’Connor Memorial Cup began in 1965 when it was presented by Old Belvedere in memory of a founding member of their rugby club.
St. Mary’s College RFC has a long and distinguished history in the O’Connor Cup. The O’Connor Cup has traditionally been a J5 XV Cup Competition. In more recent times, it is the Cup that teams in Metro League Division 8 & 9 compete for.
This season (2021-2022), our J4 XV played in the Metro League Division 9, which they won. They also qualified for the O’Connor Cup Final, but unfortunately got beaten.
Over the years, St. Mary’s College RFC have been lucky enough to win the O’Connor Cup on 8 occasions – 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1992, 1993, 1994 & 2012 and unfortunately, being the losing finalists on 5 occasions – 1978, 1989, 1990, 1991 & 2022.
We tried to put together information on all of our previous finals below. This is still a work in progress and so we would be very grateful if anyone has any memories of both winning & losing finals to send in information to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be added to the below.
1976 (Frank O’Rourke) beat Wanderers 12-6:
Back Row: D. White (Coach), P. Kearney, C. Murray, D. Scanlon, D. Nevin, F. O Dea, S. O Doherty, V. O Gorman, K. Andreas, M.G. Gilsenan (President)
Front Row: G. Carroll, W. Byrne, R. O Donohue, F. O Rourke (Captain), S. Brennan, B. Spring, P. Donnelly
In 1976 the O’Connor Cup was the only trophy won by the club that season. Captain Frank O’Rourke brought home the O’Connor Cup (Junior 5) for the 1st time.
1977 (Brendan Spring) beat Blackrock 16-10:
Back Row: D. White (Coach), R. Gough, S. O Doherty, J. Fearon, P. Kearney, J. Curran, K. Conboy, D. O Sullivan, D. Hooper (Manager)
Front Row: H. Bolger, D. Coughlan, B. Spring (Captain), M.G. Gilsenan (President), D. Mooney, P. Barnwell, P. Donnelly
In 1977, the Junior 5 XV retained the O’Connor Cup which was won for the first time in the previous season. The team played some excellent football and beat the old enemies, Blackrock RFC and Terenure RFC, in winning this competition. Captained by Brendan Spring and coached by Diarmuid White, who recorded a singular achievement in retaining this trophy with only four of the team who played in previous year’s competition.
(Photos with thanks to Brian Swift)
1978 (Brian Swift) lost to Terenure
1979 (Brian Swift) beat Bective 9-0:
In 1979, the Junior Five XV beat Bective Rangers RFC in the Final to win the James O’Connor Memorial Cup for the third time in four years, having lost the Final the previous year. This was a tremendous record at the time by Captain Brian Swift and his team.
(Photos & Newspaper Report with thanks to Brian Swift)
1982 (Mick O’Leary) beat Terenure 15-3:
(Photos & Newspaper Report with thanks to Brian Swift)
1992 (Paul Glynn) beat Monkstown 11-0:
Back Row: Brendan (Reg) Foley (Manager), Alan Cooke, Paul Chew, John Boyle, Keith Jones, Peter Byrne, Conor Cooke
Front Row: Darren Walker, Andy McGovern, Paul Glynn (Captain), Liam Birkett (President), Ends O’Riordain, CJ McHenry, Jean Pierre Rieves (AKA Bobby O’Connor)
Paul O’Reilly, Paul Chew, John Boyle, Alan Cooke, Jimmy Gardiner, Andy Mc Govern, An Other, Keith Jones, Conor Cooke.
Front row: Dave Gardiner, Bobby O’connor, Enda O’Riordain, Paul Glynn, (Mascot), Darren Walker and CJ Mc Henry
In 1992, the J5s captained by Paul Glynn, coached by Johnny McCullough and C.J. McHenry and managed by Brendan Foley reached the final for the fourth successive season and, at last, brought the O’Connor Cup back to St. Mary’s College RFC.
1993 (Frank Kennedy) beat Terenure 19-6:
(Teamsheet with thanks to Frank Kennedy)
1994 (John Russell) beat Bective 16-9:
Back row: Niall Woodcock, coach, Bobby O’Connor/Jean Pierre Rieves!,John Griffin, Peter O’Sullivan, Dara Mc Cabe, Dave Donoghue, AN Other, John Boyle, Pat O’Brien, Donal Swift.
Front row: Derry O’Connor, Steve Carroll, Adrian Murphy, John Russell Captain, Kevin Conboy, Killian Flynn, Peter Gilborne, Darragh Woodcock, Shane Tracey.
The O’Connor Cup team of 1993/4 season weren’t initially expected to progress on a successful cup run.
Sandwiched between a team captained by Del Boy above and below a handy J6 team captained by Shark.
Let’s just say selection meetings on Monday were interesting!
Captained by John Russell, coached by Pat O’Brien and Woody and managed by Donal Swift the team developed into a useful outfit by the time we reached the semifinals against a strong Greystones team, played up in Kilternan.
A tight hard fought win led to a final in Donnybrook against a fancied Bective Rangers team (captained by Junius Horne (ex Mary’s man).
A three in a row win was at stake for Mary’s and early into the first half Bobby O’Connor (our very own Jean Pierre Rieves) crossed the line for an ultimately decisive try (as he likes to tell you himself!).
Mary’s had some great experienced cup players in Derry O’Connor (RIP) at scrum half, Boyler at prop, John Griffin in the second row and a dream back row of Kevin Conboy, Bobby O’Connor and the one and only, Dave Donoghue.
Younger talent in the form of Peter Gilbourne at our half, Darragh Woodcock (15) Adrian Murphy (14) Stephen Carroll and Killian Flynn in the centre and Darragh and Derek McCabe in the front row with Boyler.
Derry O’Connor came off injured in the first half and was replaced by Shane Tracey at scrum half and Shane played a blinder.
A player that contributed hugely to the campaign but was unavailable for the semi final against Greystones and subsequently missed out on the final was Barney Kennedy.
His replacement was the one and only Sully, Peter O ‘Sullivan who also played a blinder that day.
The final score 16 to 9 for Mary’s and a very rare 3 in a row was achieved.
2012 (Gareth Lloyd) beat Clontarf 21-13 (AET):
Back row: Gareth Lloyd (J5 Captain), Joseph Morrin, Ronan Foley, Daniel Hegarty, Tahar Horchani, David Neville, James Hynes and Bobby O’Connor (Coach)
Middle row: Ian Kelly, Adrian Malone, David Browne, Keith McCarthy, Jody Brooks, Vincent Murray, Eamonn Walsh, Chris Boylan, Padraig Fox, Karl Waine, Keith Gavaghan, Stephen Walkin and Lorcan Byrne
Front row: Andrew Doran, James Nolan, Darragh Coffey, Conor O’Beirne, John Gilsenan (President), Maurice Davin (Manager) and Sam Brennan
On the Ground: Shane Levins, David Daly and Owen Clery
Match Report from the Final:
Everyone involved, playing and supporting the (wonderful) J5 Team on Tuesday night witnessed quite an incredible night of Junior Cup Rugby …. an amazing advertisement for Junior Rugby which will stay in the memory for a long, long time to come. A truly gripping match which had everything …. Skill, drama, heart break and eventually, after extra time and a highly contested 100 minutes of rugby, elation! As Rynner said just before full time on Tuesday night, “Carlsberg don’t do J5 O’Connor Cup finals, but if they did…!”
We started nervously against a good Clontarf side (with an especially strong and wise, old pack). We took a long time to settle into the match and during that first 30 minutes, we still had the resolve to defend manfully and only allow Clontarf one penalty. 0 3. Our repeated attempts to get the ball wide eventually paid off … with the simplest of back moves. 9 to 10 to 12 to 15 to 11…as simple as it gets and as beautiful a passing move as you will see … which saw Caolan Smith break the line at great pace and deliver a perfect pass to Jack Ebbs who sprinted along the sideline for 40 meters and score in the corner! 5 3 to St Marys at half time and Jack Ebbs on the score sheet again! The try was somewhat against the run of play but St Marys were worthy leaders at half time due to the skill shown in the execution of that try alone. Following up on Hugh Hogan’s inspirational words in the dressing room before kick off, we started the second half in a more relaxed and focused fashion. All pressure by St Marys yet Clontarf broke away and won another kickable penalty. 5 6. 10 minutes later, the inspirational Sam Brennan had to go off injured. (A word on Sam Brennan if I may…who won his first J5 O’Connor Cup medal in 1976…in black and white!…and a full 36 years ago and well before most of his team mates on Tuesday night were even born! That’s the benchmark lads!)) Soon after, our scrum half, Ryan Barnes had to go off injured also. As we tried to re shuffle the team with replacements, Clontarf caught us napping and scored an opportunist try under the posts. They converted to leave it 5 13. Although St Marys looked the more accomplished side, the clever Clontarf forward unit played the game to their strength up front and ate up the clock with rolling mauls from every lineout. With 5 minutes to go, St Marys were on the attack again. This time through our pick and drive. On 5th phase ball, one half of our famous ‘boys from Brazil’ duo Rodrigo, took a lovely pop pass and then, with only 6 Clontarf guys on his back, barrelled over for a try with 3 minutes to go. Our missed conversion left it 10 13 with only 2 minutes to go. (‘Clear’ came the shout from our medic, Vincent Murray, as the team defibrillator was applied (for the first time in this match) to Bobby, Ado and Ian on the sideline!”) The Tarf pack was tiring and the incredible spirit and belief, which has marked this team all year, now appeared to be bursting through the veins of each of the men in Blue. Our pick and drive, one of the best defensive tackles you will ever see by our centre Sean Gilheaney and a hugely important block down by Captain Gareth Lloyd, all ensured that Tarf were pressurised for every second of those 2 minutes. Under this pressure, Tarf then went offside at a ruck, 30 meters out. Penalty to St Marys and all of the time in the second half gone. Sean Gilheaney, socks around his ankles, steps up to take it…..hard to tell if Seanie was striking a penalty or a 45! ….who cares…..between the posts! 13 13 and the referee blows for full time. What drama! 10 minutes per half extra time to come.
If the ideal Junior rugby team has a mix of youth, experience, skill, heart, determination and spirit, then we saw an ideal Junior Rugby team play the 20 minutes of extra time on Tuesday night. With superior fitness levels and the well conditioned U21’s running around the park like, eh, young fellas (!), St Marys owned extra time. Seanie slotted another in the first half of extra time to make it 16 13 and then, half way through the second half of extra time, a great counter attack from a poor clearing kick by Tarf went through 4 simple passes (again) and sent the impressive Cormac Tracey sprinting through a bewildered defensive line for a touchdown to the left of the posts. Seanie converted again to leave it 21 13. We had 2 or 3 more chances to score as Tarf tired and leg cramp was evident everywhere. 100 minutes after kick off and about 8 dog years later, the referee finally blew the final whistle! The St Marys College RFC J5 O’Connor Cup Team are …. Champions!
I can’t let this match report finish without mentioning some of the hidden and incredible stories of the night which, for me, epitomise this team, our own fine Club and ‘real’ Junior rugby. Our brave and tough Captain, Gareth Lloyd, never played rugby before this year. Padraig Fox, second row, never played rugby before this year either. Steve Walkin, prop, only his 5th year of playing rugby. The injured scrum half, Ryan Barnes, begged to be allowed re take the field even though he played the rest of the game with torn ligaments in his ankle. Sam Brennan was there when William Webb Ellis picked up the ball for the very first time…and he togged out again last Tuesday night…what a career…not enough words to describe Sam I’m afraid. The (quiet and retiring) Daniel Lyons at hooker and Jack Ebbs (Tommy Bowe?!) were both asked to play out of position. Not a bother to either of them. Mossy Davin…the heart and soul of this team…played the full 100 minutes of rugby as loose head prop….only his second match ever playing as prop in contested scrums.
15 Caolan Smith
14 Conor O’Beirne
13 Sean Gilheaney
12 Olan Cleary
11 Jack Ebbs
10 Conor Smith
9 Ryan Barnes
8 David Owen Mahon
7 Gareth Lloyd (C)
6 Daniel Hegarty
5 David O’Connell
4 Rodrigo Pucci
3 Maurice Davin
2 Daniel Lyons
1 Sammy Brennan
16 Chris Boylan
17 Stephen Walkin
18 Cormac Treacey
19 Padraig Fox
20 David Balfour
Round 1: 31.03.2012 – Normans 0-41 St. Mary’s (Sacred Heart)
Semi Final: 14.04.2012 – Bective 8-10 St. Mary’s (Glenamuck)
Final: 24.04.2012 – Clontarf 13-21 St. Mary’s (Energia Park, Donnybrook) – After Extra Time
2022 (Aaron Doherty) lost to Greystones 44-10:
Round 1: Bye
Round 2: 02.04.2022 – Bective 15-27 St. Mary’s (Energia Park, Donnybrook)
On Saturday the 2nd of April our J4 team played Bective on the back pitch in Donnybrook in the quarterfinal of the O’Connor Cup.
This was our first time to play Bective as they had played in the Metro Division 8 league. A league above us. We put the loss of our league final against Malahide behind us and began afresh.
The possession was totally with Bective, but our superb defence held them out time after time. We scored against the run of play to lead 15-8 at half time.
Our J4 team is a total mixture of youth and experience, the combination needed to win silverware.
We dug deep in the second half to keep them from scoring and broke away again to secure the win 27-15.
We now face DLSP away next Saturday in the semi-final. Please do come up and support this team, they are the giving it their all.
Semi Final: 09.04.2022 – DLSP 7-10 St. Mary’s (Kirwan Park)
On Saturday the 9th of April our J4XV played DLSP in Kirwan Park in the O’Connor Cup semi-final.
Our team started off with intent and pounded the DLSP line until they gave up a penalty on the 22 for being offside at the ruck. Our outhalf Dan McManus stood up and slotted the ball between the posts to give us a 3-0 lead. Dan has been the player coach for the J3/4 squad for the last couple of years. He has been such an asset to the squad with his team training sessions, squad selections and team moral. We thank Dan for all his work and wish him well in the future as he has decided to retire as backs coach at the end of the season.
We were missing our captain Aaron Doherty who had a pre booked weekend to Aintree for the Grand National. We hope he won on the horses. He was missed today for his accurate lineouts and ball carries. Good news is that he will be back for the final.
The DLSP team who were more mature than us in age and physique kept the ball for the next 15 minutes. Stretching our defence from touch line to touch line. We held them up over the line. Goal line drop out. We kicked to their classy outhalf, who ran it back. With some forward play they ploughed their way over our line. Conversion a success DLSP lead 7-3. It was during this play that we lost our player of the match last game Cody Dwyer with a head injury. He is fine now and is ready to return for the final. We then lost our strong ball carrying centre Rob Dunleavy with a back injury.
Half time whistle blows after injury time.
Our lineout was not firing without Aaron. So, a call was made that if we got a penalty, we either tip and go or take a scrum. This was a decisive decision. We got a penalty on halfway. We called a scrum. From that our No 8 Richie Fagan picked and drove, then passed to Conor Quinn our scrum half who passed to Matty Coughlan who sprinted down the line where he had the DLSP fullback covering. He passed inside to the following player who was our second row Max Grace. Max stepped the fullback and sprinted under the posts. Dan converted. We now lead 10-7. We missed the coolness of James Casey our No 8 who had a wedding to attend but had Richie Fagan who led by example by driving into the DLSP pack and by clearing out rucks.
We welcomed back Conor Whelan and Locky McDonnell who had moved to Galway to live and work. We were delighted to have them back with us fighting for the blue again. Our centre Jack O’Neill came off with a knee injury. We wish him well in his recovery.
Our defence was solid today with some try saving tackles from Chris O’Connor keeping DLSP out. The DLSP team did not give up and put pressure on us for the remainder of the half. It was clenched cheeks for the supporters. We held out and won a hard-fought victory. We will meet the winners of the Greystones v Railway Union game on Saturday 23rd of April at a neutral venue. Please do make the effort to support this team who have now achieved a league and Cup final. Your support would be very welcome.
Thank you to the DLSP President and Director of Rugby for their kind words in defeat and for wishing us success in the final. This was truly an epic Junior Rugby game and both sides made it a sporting occasion for all who came to support.
Final: 23.04.2022 – St. Mary’s 10-44 Greystones (Templeville Road)
Roll of honour:
1965 Blackrock, 1966 Clontarf, 1967 UCD, 1968 UCD, 1969 Garda, 1970 Clontarf, 1971 UCD, 1972 Terenure, 1973 UCD, 1974 Terenure, 1975 UCD, 1976 St. Mary’s College RFC, 1977 St. Mary’s College RFC, 1978 Terenure, 1979 St. Mary’s College RFC, 1980 Monkstown, 1981 Lansdowne, 1982 St. Mary’s College RFC, 1983 Old Belvedere, 1984 Monkstown, 1985 Old Belvedere, 1986 Monkstown, 1987 Old Belvedere, 1988 Blackrock, 1989 Old Wesley, 1990 Terenure, 1991 Blackrock, 1992 St. Mary’s College RFC, 1993 St. Mary’s College RFC, 1994 St. Mary’s College RFC, 1995 Greystones , 1996 ????????????, 1997 Stillorgan, 1998 ????????????, 1999 Monkstown, 2000 Naas, 2001 Clontarf, 2002 Lansdowne, 2003 Old Belvedere, 2004 Barnhall, 2005 ????????????, 2006 Bective Rangers, 2007 DLSP, 2008 Blackrock, 2009 Old Belvedere, 2010 Terenure, 2011 Terenure, 2012 St. Mary’s College RFC, 2013 Terenure, 2014 Void??, 2015 Dublin University, 2016 Suttonians, 2017 Old Wesley, 2018 Old Wesley, 2019 Bective Rangers, 2020 Not played due to Covid, 2021 Not played due to Covid, 2022 Greystones
Summary of Wins:
8 – St. Mary’s College RFC
7 – Terenure
5 – UCD, Old Belvdere
4 – Blackrock, Monskstown
3 – Old Wesley, Clontarf
2 – Greystones, Bective Rangers, Lansdowne
1 – DLSP, Garda, MU Barnhall, Suttonians, Dublin University, Naas, Stillorgan-Rathfarnham