Club History 3 of 3

3. Seasons 2001-2012

2001 - Crawford Cup Final
The 2nd XV, captained by Davy Brown, reached to final of the Crawford Cup in 2001, only to beaten by our closest rival, Ballyclare.

2001 - Youth Development and falling player numbers

With playing numbers falling the club decided to appoint a full-time paid Rugby and Commercial Manager, Chris Galway in 2001 His brief was to encourage and coach students in local schools primary and secondary schools and contribute to fund raising. He also had a significant role in the development of mini and youth rugby. One of the players, John Workman, went on to represent Ulster at the under 18 level.

The early “noughties” saw the continue progress with the minis and youth sections although the club still struggled to put out 4 teams. A number of Larne Youth players made representative appearances for various County Sides, Ulster and of course David McIlwaine, who played for Ireland Under 18’s in their European Campaign in France, where they finished runners up after the game finished in a draw. David. Of course ,went on to represent Ulster at senior level.

2005 - Perfect Season

The club now under the guidance of coach Graeme Cloke, manager Mark Gilbert and club captain Michael Scullion went through the season unbeaten. A total of 19 matches were played that season. This unbeaten run lead to winning Qualifying 3 and winning the final of the Gordon West Cup at Ravenhill against Letterkenny.

2011 - Club wins the double again

The Qualifying league 3 and Gordon West Cup double was again achieved in 2010-11. Larne again played Letterkenny in the final in another tight encounter.

Larne 1ST XV huddle at Ravenhill

Reece going over for a try in the final

2011/2012 - Carrick Sevens Bowl Success

The club has enjoyed recent success at Carrick 7s. Winning the bowl competition two years in a row. In 2011 they beat Carrick on the home turf in front of a very large crowd on the main pitch. In 2012 they beat Carrick twice on their way to collecting the bowl trophy.

2012 - Centenary Year

New club logo designed and created thanks to Ivan Cooke and Marion Cooke

To help celebrate this momentous occasion the club organized a couple of events.

The first was the inter-provisional match of Ulster Juniors v Leinster Juniors on May 12th this year. It was a very proud day for the club and large crowd made the day very special indeed. It was also a proud day for ex-player and Larne man Stephen McReynolds as he captained the Ulster team out in his own town. Ulster unfortunately lost the game but the branch we very happy with the way the game was hosted.

Stephen McReynolds providing Ulster with instruction in the Junior Inter-pro at Larne RFC, as captain

The second was the Centenary Ball - held in the Clarion Hotel, Carrickfergus.

"On Saturday 15th September 2012, the skirl of bagpipes greeted the great and the good of Larne Rugby Football Club as they arrived at the doors of the Clarion Hotel Carrickfergus on a beautiful sunny evening, to celebrate 100 years of sporting history in some style.

Invited guests including Mr Billy Glynn, IRFU President, and his wife; Mr John Robinson, Senior Vice President Ulster Branch IRFU, and his wife and the Deputy Mayor of Larne; mingled with various luminaries of the Club's more recent past at a complimentary Champagne reception in the Glendun Suite.

Players, ex players, spouses, partners and friends were treated to a backdrop slideshow put together by Club President Paul Montgomery which traced the history of Larne RFC over the past century, right up to the present day.

8pm saw the Master of Ceremonies call all the guests through to the Causeway Suite for the main event and everyone took their seats and settled down to hear the welcoming speech from the Club President and the presentation of bouquets to the partners of the invited guests and a limited edition LRFC Centenary tie to the gentlemen in question (ties still available for purchase) from Willie Nelson on request)
IRFU President, Mr Billy Glynn, responded and praised the Club as a whole for their endeavours on and off the pitch in the past and wished every success in the continuing story of Larne RFC going forward into the next 100 years

The night continued into the early hours and proved to be a fun night for all!

Enjoying the night at the Centenary Ball

Caption from the IRFU President 'Billy Glynn' in his blogg

There was truly an ambience of camaraderie and good fellowship at the Clarion Hotel in Carrickfergus for the black tie dinner marking the Larne RFC Centenary Year Ball, hosted by genial club President Paul Montgomery.

I gladly took the opportunity to congratulate the club and thank them for the - coincidental - fact that they named their grounds in my name, the Glynn!

Credit to Larne, its reputation is well respected beyond the confines of Antrim and Ulster. It has an enviable standing as a vibrant community-based club.

This kinship is precisely what the IRFU and the provincial Branches want to see developed in the future in order to ensure the welfare of the club and grassroots game going forward.

Just as Larne Rugby Club has demonstrated to good effect (they also have facilities for archery, darts and squash), I believe clubs must become more multi-faceted and engrossed in their local community.

Rugby clubs must open their doors so that the clubs becomes a mecca for everyone in the locality, with activities, be they sporting or social, not confined to the oval ball! Well done Larne and best wishes for your next 100 years.

The future

At the end of the 2012 season the club finds itself in a difficult place. The 1st XV battled hard and retained their place in Qualifying league 2. Despite the investment in time and money in the mini and youth sections of the club there do not seem to large numbers transferring to the senior club on which the club can build on in the future. It looks like we may well struggle to field a third XV in future years.

Also, in these recessionary times it is difficult to attract the income necessary required to meet its financial responsibilities. The Committee is trying to look at ways to attract more players and past players to assist with administration and fund raising. However over the recent year things have improved.

The club now has an U19s team who are currently top of their league and going well. Last season they go to the final of their cup competition only to be beaten by Inst 27-20 at Cookstown. At the start of the 2012 season they won the Ophir 7s tournament.

U19s cup final team 2011/2012

U19s Ophir 7s winning team 2012

An u15s side have also played a number of games this season and an U13s is being looked at.

U15s winning team at Carrick 2012

Also Mini Rugby is attracting 50 kids every Saturday morning at the club.

P3 minis at an Ulster Rugby Festival meeting Ulster star 'Craig Gilroy'

With hard work and imagination there is no doubt the club will look forward to its next 100 years with optimism and anticipation

“Mary had a little lamb……………”

See Also:

Larne RFC - History and the making of a Club

Larne RFC 2013-2014 Season