Railway Union Rugby – Railway’s Fourteen Trophies in Two Seasons

Railway's Fourteen Trophies in Two Seasons

There were big celebrations at Railway Union’s Annual Ball on May 10th when 170 people gathered in the Davenport Hotel to cap a fantastic season.

Railway have won an amazing 14 trophies in two seasons, 10 of them Leinster Pennants. Even more amazingly, every single team in the club has won at least one trophy.

“It’s a record we’re very proud of,” said outgoing President Francis Roche, “every team – the Men’s 1sts, 2nds, 3rds, 4ths & U20s, the Women’s 1sts & 2nds, and the Girls’ U18s – have won their leagues, cups or both in the last two seasons.”

“One of our core values is that all players in Railway are equal, regardless of which team they play on, their ability, their background or their gender,” Roche continued. “There is no hierarchy, all teams and players mix together freely, and all teams get equal support from the club to achieve their goals.”

It’s been a remarkable turnaround for the Sandymount-based club, which now boasts seven senior sides, an age-grade set-up, a match-standard floodlit pitch, Leinster interprovincials and Irish internationals, a pioneering Schools 7s series, and a vibrant club scene.

“My three-year Presidency has been a wonderful journey,” said Roche. “When I started in 2011, we had barely one Men’s side and only 16 active players. Since then, our growth has been phenomenal. We’ve registered over 150 adult male players in three years, and over 100 adult female and 140 age-grade players in just 18 months. The IRFU and Leinster Branch have been hugely supportive and their guidance has been invaluable. I also had a fantastic committee and team of people behind me that have allowed us to achieve what we have.”

“Our Director of Rugby, John Cronin, has been instrumental in the turnaround,” Roche added. “He came in, set the vision for the club and went about developing the players, coaches and management teams to achieve that vision. He has installed a culture of success and belief across the whole club that we just didn’t have previously, and that’s been reflected in these club-wide results.”

“It’s not just about winning either,” Roche continued, “due to our one-club philosophy, we’ve a very vibrant social scene. We tour as a club, be it overseas or our annual trip to the Kinsale 7s, and there is generally an organised social event at least every month, in addition to the usual ad-hoc nights out.”

Roche said the club are continuing to develop and build.
“Our Player Welfare focus, led by Leinster Team Doctor Professor John Ryan, is second to none. We spend a huge amount of time working on the well-being, physical development, and functional fitness of our players. We’re moving that on a level now and are in the process of building a state-of-the-art rugby-specific gym and medical room. This will allow our players to become fitter, stronger and faster athletes and, therefore, better rugby players,” he said.

“All our teams want to kick on next year. Our Women’s 1sts are in AIL Division One next season and will be aiming to make an impression there. Our Men’s 1sts have jumped two divisions in three years in the Leinster League and want to continue their progression up the divisions. We have a number of very talented players coming out of our Men’s U20s and Girls’ U18s who’ll be looking for places in our senior sides and they’ll continue to drive success across all teams there.”

“And our doors are always open for new members,” said Roche. “We have players from almost every school in Dublin and every county in Ireland. It’s a very friendly, welcoming and open club and a great place to find your feet. If you are moving to Dublin, leaving school and looking for a club, or simply looking for a new challenge, you’ll find a home in Railway.”

By Kirstin Smith