The St. Columba’s College rugby teams have enjoyed some good success over the years, despite our small numbers, and it remains a popular sport amongst the pupils. All boys in the junior forms (Forms I, II & III) play rugby - training or competing every Monday, Thursday and Saturday and on alternate Wednesdays, during the Michaelmas and Hilary Terms. Our Form I boys, affectionately called ‘The Ducks’, play a series of friendly games over the season and are coached this year by Will Gibbs and Paul Delany. Our Form II boys, called ‘The Leps’, also compete in friendly matches against local schools. Many of our stronger Form II boys join the Form III boys in the JCT (Junior Cup Team). The JCT compete in two competitive leagues over the season, as well as the coveted cup campaign (and a potential shield). The JCT play in Division 1A (confusingly, the third division) during the first league and their final position in that competition dictates what cup competition they compete in. This will either be the third division Duff Cup or the second division Fr. Godfrey Cup. Last year the JCT finished third in their section of the league campaign thus qualifying for the Fr. Godfrey Cup, although they narrowly lost their opening game. In the Hilary Term, the JCT participate in the ‘Junior Seconds League’, competing with the second XV from top tier schools. This year’s JCT is coached by Aoife Thompson & Andy Mitchell and assisted by Barry Finn.
Rugby is optional in the senior forms (although all boys must play either hockey or rugby) and there are three teams. The seconds and thirds play in friendly games throughout the season and generally consist of players in Form IV or older boys new to rugby. The seconds will play in the “Seniors Fourths League’ in the Hilary Term. The coaches, Ronan Swift and Eunan McDonald, make sure that there is an element of fun involved while the boys gain the necessary skills and fitness throughout the season. The first XV or SCT (Senior Cup Team) play in similar divisions to the junior boys. They compete in Division 1A in the first term with their league position dictating their cup status. Last year, the SCT finished second in their section of the league and qualified for the Vinnie Murray Cup (second division) and would target a similar result this year. The SCT are coached by Peter O’Donnell and Kieran Hurrell.
All of the rugby coaches are assisted by Graham Dean, the strength and conditioning coach, as well as Paul Cron, the Head of Rugby.
Despite our small size, around 160 boys, St. Columba’s has a proud tradition of rugby and punches well above their weight. There has been league and cup success over the years but, more importantly than that, the boys leave St. Columba’s with the discipline, respect, team principles and work ethic that rugby instils.