Midleton Rugby Football Club was initially founded in the 1927/28 season. The first match played by the Club, Captained by Jerry Coffey, was against neighbours and rivals Youghal. Although the Club was disbanded in 1934, a separate team called the Midletonettes was founded that same year. It was that Club team that was the direct predecessor of the current Club. The team was coached, for a time, by the late Tim West, Head Master of Midleton College and President of the Munster Branch, I.R.F.U. (Season 1962/63). Mr. West was the father of ex-international Referee John and Senator Trevor.
Other ‘greats’ from that time included the late Willie McCarthy who was the Honorary Secretary of the Midletonettes; his brother Ray, father of current Committee member Noel; John Williams (Dolphin, Muster and Irish Panelist); and Dais Moore of Sundays Well, father of current team Secretary Charlie. Councilor Con Carey is probably the last surviving member of this team.
The Midletonettes began the Club’s long history of County Cup wins claiming it for the first time in the 1930′s.
On 4th March 1967, Midleton RFC was reformed following a discussion on an ‘All-in’ train en route to an International match in Dublin. The four founding members on that train were Bill Hume (1st Hon. Sec.), Mr. Dais Moore (1st Chairman), Dr. Con Cunneen (1st President), and Jimmy McCarthy (1st Captain). The Club Sponsors were Sundays Well and Cork Constitution. For the rest of that season Midleton had to prove itself before being allowed into any competitions for the 1967/68 season. Our first league match (J3) was played against Bandon on 1st October 1967 and we won 12-5.
During the 1968/69 season the Club won the O’Neill Cup, the inaugural McCarthy Cup and a Tug-of-war trophy. The following season the Muster Branch deemed Midleton too strong for Minor rugby and forcibly upgraded the Club to Junior Status.
1970 saw the Club travel on the first of it’s many Tours, that year to Aberyswyth, Wales. Subsequent trips have sent the Club to Jersey, Brixham, High Wycombe, Penarth and Edinburgh.
Midleton’s finest year of that decade was undoubtedly 1977/78 when we were defeated in the final of the Munster Junior Cup by Garryowen (17-15). The fixtures were so backed up by the end of the season that the Junior team had to play five matches in seven days. On the last day of the season Midleton defeated Old Christians in the final of the County Cup by 7-0. This was a superb victory considering the two teams had met the previous evening in the final of the O’Neill Cup, with Old Christians claiming the spoils.
1988 saw Midleton capture the County Cup for the first of three consecutive years. Other highlights in the 1980′s saw the team reach the final of the Munster Junior Plate.
The 1990s have been years of tremendous success for the Club. With the only blip coming in 1993 when the team was relegated to Division 2 of the Junior League. Stung by this indignity the Club won every league match in that division and went straight back up to Division 1 the following year. Since that year the Club has never looked back, finishing in the top three every year. Great success came in 1996/97 when coached by Denis Kelliher and captained by Graham Eady, the team won the Junior League, the Junior Cup, the Junior Challenge Cup and the O’Neill Cup. This achievement had never previously been enjoyed by any Junior Club.
That success was built on in 1997/98 with a great belief throughout the Club that the team could achieve promotion to the Senior ranks. Mr. Damon Urlich was appointed Head Coach for the season and with Mr. Tom Mulcahy assisting him they set about developing a strategy to fulfil the goals established by the Committee: to defend the Munster Junior Division 1 title and to gain promotion to Division 4 of the All Ireland League. Achieving these goals would mean playing over 30 games throughout the season. The first objective then based on lessons learned from the previous year was to strengthen the squad to ensure bodies were kept healthy and available. The second objective was to improve the individual skills of players, necessary for the positions they played, while increasing their awareness of the overall game. The third objective was to improve fitness to a Senior level. And finally, the fourth objective was to change the attitudes of players to a more Senior outlook – improving confidence and belief.
Bringing the squad together in mid-July, the Coaches went about setting standards for fitness, ball handling skills, game strategy and attitude. This was translated into impressive performances on the field throughout the season.
In capturing four major trophies in the 1997/98 season, including the League title and the Junior Cup for a second successive season, along with achieving promotion, the team amassed a total of 997 points in 32 matches from 145 tries. Forty players participated in winning the O’Neill Cup, the Munster Junior Division 1 League title, the Cork County Cup, and the Munster Junior Cup.
1997/98 highlighted a new chapter in the history of the Club – becoming a Senior team.
In this past season, Midleton RFC has once again rewritten the history books and attained promotion from Division 3 to Division 3 on the very first attempt.