Navan RFC was founded in September 1925 (the first two season’s minutes were unearthed by Mr. Paddy Tehan).

It played first in the Showgrounds (now Pairc Taiteann).  Later it depended on friendly landowners, and several sporting farmers let fields out for winter Sundays.

Among the Founder Members were W.M.Kirk, (sometime Headmaster of the Preston School), Nat Lacy, Matt and Charlie Crinion (Central Hotel Navan & Neptune Bettystown) Jack Finegan, J. Gibney and Bobby Byrne.

Few played rugby in those days.  In country towns it was sometimes taken as a symbol of

class distinction.  Despite this, Navan won the Midland Cup in 1928.

rugby midland cup


Back Row: l-r N.Campbell, Jack Davis, Nat Lacy,  Fred Hodgett,   William Maxwell Kirk,

Jim Gibney("The Sledger"), Charlie Crinion,  Jack Finegan.

Middle Row: l-r   Bobby Byrne, Bob Branagan,  P.J. ("Pappy") Russell (captain),

J.J. Dorris, John Duffy,

Front Row:  l-r    Matty Crinion  and Paddy McNally.

1925 to 1941 : The pitch in the Navan Showgrounds was rented from the Meath Agricultural Society (it was also rented by Navan O Mahonys GFC – as well as Navan Cricket Club ; Cricket was a bigger game than rugby for years -Richie Healy’s father played it during his escapades in 1920/21).

Sept 1929 : ‘ Boys ‘ team established (sub was 2 shillings). Problems with youngsters climbing over the Showgrounds walls without paying, and damaging the shed roofs (the Secretary’s red brick office features in early rugby and football team photos).

rugby c1930

 

May 1930 : With the ‘ splitting ‘ of the Leinster Junior Cup in 1924/25 into the Metropolitan Cup (for clubs within 18 miles of the GPO) and Provincial Towns Cup (the Towns trophy is the original Junior Cup which started in 1883) . The Towns Cup was run in ‘ zones ‘ (for travelling purposes apparently) . Navan was in the ‘ Midlands ‘ Zone (there was a Zone Cup called the Midland Ryan Cup) . They beat Cavan and Longford in the preliminary rounds, and beat Balbriggan in the Final (staged in Mullingar) . This was the first Senior trophy won by Navan RFC .

Sept 1935 : Schoolboy sub was 5 shillings (Seniors was 10 shillings).

November 1936 : North East and North West Areas trial games for Leinster Juniors played in Navan (Showgrounds) in December 1936 . The ‘ North Leinster ‘ Zone trial was held in Athlone (because of the paucity of rugby teams in Connaught at the time , Athlone – playing as Shannon Buccaneers – won the Towns Cup in 1934/5 and 1935/36).

June 1940 : The Navan Showgounds was rented jointly with Navan Town Association (Soccer) club.

May 1954 : Offer by Joe Carolan to sell a pitch on ‘ Moat Road ‘(at £ 125 per acre).

Oct 1955 : CYMS hall used for indoor training on Tuesday . InterCounty game between Meath and Westmeath.

Jan 1956 : Ambrose Cassells proposed a Meath Rugby Football Association (there were 3 Co Meath games in 1956/57).

1957/58 : Navan won the North Leinster League.

July 1961 : purchase of 4 acres 2 roods at Balreask Old (for £660 – development costs were £1500) . Trustee Tom Marsh subscribes £ 25 towards the cost. Navan Pitch and Putt apply for use of grounds.

September 1963 : Architect Joe O Daly engaged for clubhouse – cost £ 10,570.

rugby team 1967

Back Row: (l-r)  Paddy Tehan (Secretary), Eamonn Curley, Dave Petrie, Tommy Farrell,

Karl Bormann,  Mick Foley and Chris Barry.

Middle Row:(l-r)  Radley Searle, Mick Chamberlain,  Bernard Reilly,  Robert Dier,  James Lacy

Front Row: (l-r)  Dick Brady,  Pete Hogan,  Frank Crinion and Ernie Jameson.


July 1974 : application for use of pitch and tennis courts (they were then on the car park) by Miss Gibney (Balreask Montessori School).

Sept 1976 : request from Simonstown GFC for use on tennis courts.

~~~

Three men singled out for special mention in the 1969 Commemorative Programme are:

Dr. Dermot Dorgan

Dr Dorgan was a devotee of rugby football and a pillar of the Navan Club. The following tribute is paid to him by Barry O'Reilly.

When Navan Rugby Club lost its President last year, it lost its staunchest supporter. For over 30 years his familiar figure in dark top coat and Homburg Hat was to be seen like a Meath Sherlock Holmes haunting the touch lines in good weather and bad.  In our early days when it was hard to raise a dozen players, he never missed a game.

The old lady of 90 who remarked of him "Ye needn't be looking for him on saturdays; he's away to the rugby" had a valid point.

Like the great but modest gentleman he was, Dr Dorgan did  good by sealth. He treated rugby injuries with expert diagnosis. When Life's attack, mental or physical had penetrated your defences, he was right behind you, a good full back, never hurried, never flurried, full of confidence, ready to dispatch your trouble straight into touch.

 

Ambrose Cassells

Ambrose , an outstanding Provincial player, missed more  representative honours through his fanatical devotion to Provincial Rugby. He captained, coached, held together  and encouraged the Navan sides of the 1950s and early1960s . One remembers his influence on young players, his spartan coaching schemes (at a time when coaching was almost derided in provincial rugby- sure farmers are naturally fit!) and his great hearted enjoyment of sport.


Paddy Tehan

Paddy has been Secretary of the Rugby Club for the past 10 years. Many would ascribe most of our progress today to his ability, his energy, his talent for organisation.  Suffice it to say that the Club owes him a great debt of gratitude for all he has given it.

 

~~~

rugby 1988

 

~~~

CLUB HONOURS

  • All-Ireland Provincial League Championship Round-Robin: 2009
  • All-Ireland Junior Cup: 2008
  • Leinster League Div 1: 2001, 2009
  • Provincial Towns Cup: 1964, 1966, 1968, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2008
  • Provincial Towns Plate: 1963, 1967, 1987
  • Provincial 2nd’s League: 1963, 2008
  • Provincial 2nd’s Plate: 1999
  • Anderson 3rd’s Cup: 1985, 1987
  • Oval Cup: 1968
  • McGowan Cup: 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1981, 1988, 1991, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Ladies All-Ireland League Div 3: 2003
  • Harry Gale U20 Cup: 1980, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1996, 2007
  • McGee Cup: 1972, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1992, 1993
  • Housdon Trophy, Enniskillen: 1972
  • Jenkinson Cup: 1976, 1983, 1986, 1996, 2001
  • Kettle Cup: 1985, 1986, 1995, 1996, 2001
  • Presidents Plaque: 1988, 1991
  • Michael Dunne Cup: 1997
  • Sleepers Cup: 1997, 1999

PAST PRESIDENTS

  • 1925-27 - T.C. Crinion
  • 1927-35 - J.L. Finnegan
  • 1935-38 - Dr. D. Dorgan
  • 1938-41 - J.J. Callanan
  • 1941-42 - A.L. Wade
  • 1946-47 - Dr. D. Dorgan
  • 1947-48 - J.L. Finnegan
  • 1948-49 - A.L. Wade
  • 1949-50 - P. Lyons
  • 1950-51 - W. Kealy
  • 1951-69 - Dr. D. Dorgan
  • 1969-74 - G.C. Finnegan
  • 1974-75 - C.A. Connell
  • 1975-77 - J.T. Nugent
  • 1977-81 - E. Jameson
  • 1981-83 - P. Tehan
  • 1983-86 - J.T. Nugent
  • 1986-87 - C.A. Connell
  • 1987-89 - T. Boyle
  • 1989-91 - J. Lacy
  • 1991-93 - B. Coyle
  • 1993-95 - J. McGowan
  • 1995-97 - M. Murray
  • 1997-99 - T. Byrne
  • 1999-01 - P. Brady
  • 2001-03 - B. Faulkner
  • 2003-05 - M. Connelly
  • 2005-07 - D. O’Flynn
  • 2007-08 - M. Brecknell
  • 2008-09 - P.R. Brady
  • 2009-11 - M. Gavigan

PAST CAPTAINS

  • 1925-26 - F. Hodgett
  • 1926-28- W.M. Kirk
  • 1928-32 - P. Russell
  • 1932-34 - P. Crinion
  • 1934-36 - T. Burns
  • 1936-37 - T. Gallen
  • 1937-38 - F. Walsh
  • 1940-41 - B. Steen
  • 1946-47 - J. Meany
  • 1947-48 - N. Finnegan
  • 1948-49 - B. O’Reilly
  • 1949-51 - N. Finnegan
  • 1951-52 - T.A. Cassells
  • 1952-53 - L.J. Noonan
  • 1953-54 - C.A. Connell
  • 1954-55 - T.A. Cassells
  • 1955-56 - P. Clarke
  • 1956-57 - J. Gibney
  • 1957-58 - P. Geraghty
  • 1958-59 - G. Thompson
  • 1959-60 - G. McNamara
  • 1960-61 - A.L. Wade
  • 1961-62 - A.P. Brady
  • 1962-63 - G.J. Davis
  • 1963-64 - M.J. Fitzsimons
  • 1964-65 - E.E. Gibney
  • 1966-67 - D. Brady
  • 1967-68 - B.A.P. Reilly
  • 1968-69 - T.J. Kelly
  • 1969-70 - P.Hogan
  • 1970-71 - RVM Dier
  • 1971-72 - M. Foley
  • 1972-73 - D. Brady
  • 1973-74 - P. Hogan
  • 1974-75 - T. Hickey
  • 1975-76 - F. Kilmartin
  • 1976-77 - L. Finlay
  • 1977-78 - M. Kerr
  • 1978-79 - F. Fahy
  • 1979-80 - L. Finlay
  • 1980-81 - L. Finlay
  • 1981-82 - J. McGowan
  • 1982-84 - B. Faulkner
  • 1984-85 - J. Finnegan
  • 1985-86 - B. Farrell
  • 1986-87 - R. Kelly
  • 1987-88 - D. Healy
  • 1988-89 - G. Beggy
  • 1989-90 - J. McLarney
  • 1990-92 - P. Brady
  • 1992-93 - P. McEvoy
  • 1993-94 - J. Brady
  • 1994-95 - F. McGuirk
  • 1995-96 - L. Sherlock
  • 1996-97 - M. Gavigan
  • 1997-98 - T. Mullen
  • 1998-99 - C. Moffatt
  • 1990-00 - J. McCartan
  • 2000-01 - J. Ward
  • 2001-02 - H. Nicholson
  • 2002-03 - K. Brazzil
  • 2003-04 - O. Henry
  • 2004-05 - C. Reilly
  • 2005-06 - D. King
  • 2006-07 - B. Smyth
  • 2007-08 - B. Smyth
  • 2008-09 - S. Donnelly
  • 2009-11 - J. Duffy

Sources:

Navan Rugby Football Club - Programme to Commemorate the Formal Opening of the

Extension to the Pavilion, by Mr J.W.S. Irwin

President of the I.R.F.U. Sunday 21st December 1969

www.navanrfc.ie/about-navan-rfc.html


Meath Chronicle Centenary Book 1997