Lisburn RFC History
Located mid way between Lisburn and Hillsborough, Lisburn Rugby Football Club, now in its 129th year, has a rich and proud history.
Formed in 1884 the Club quickly found success winning the Ulster Rugby Challenge Cup in 1888. This success seems to have been short lived with the club all but disappearing by 1890.
In 1899 a club called Lisburn ‘Wheelers Rugby Club’ was formed by ‘Lisburn Wheelers Cycling Club’ to give their members a form of winter exercise. The‘Wheelers’ continued to play on and off until 1913 and whether due to a shortage of players or the increasing threat of war the Lisburn club ceased to be.
Nearly 35 years and 2 World Wars were to pass when in 1947 the Club was ‘reborn’ as ‘Wallace Old Boys RFC’ by anenthusiastic small band of the local Schools former pupils. Recognising the importance of growth and sustainability, in 1951, membership of the club was extended to include ‘Friends School Former Pupils RFC’, the other grammar school in the Lisburn area. To reflect this new allegiance the Clubs name was changed to ‘Lisburn Academicals’.
The ‘Accies’ flourished during the fifties and sixties and included one Raymond Hunter who joined the club for a few years before going on to play Rugby for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions.
By the early 1970’s the club was open to all,with the removal of the ‘past pupil’ limitation and in 1975 LisburnRFC moved to its current location at Sprucefield. The opening of the ‘Horace Crawford’ Clubhouse and the availability of our own pitches allowed mini and youth rugby to be played for the first time at the club.
So successful was its introduction, the boys played an exhibition match before the Senior game at the official opening of the new facility.
As a result of the exhibition match an invitation was received from Skerries RFC (just outside Dublin) to play against their newly formed Mini Rugby section. This invitation sparked, what has now become a tradition of the ‘mini tour’.
For those who have never heard about Horace Crawford he was a familiar face to the rugby players who met and trained at the Barbour Playing Fields. From that time Lisburn Rugby Club took pride of place among his wide sporting interests. He was elected Vice-President of the club in the 1950′s and followed T.C.C. Adam as President in 1970. The facilities that we enjoy at Blaris today are largely the result of his vision and drive over the years.
He was reluctant to have the new club house bear his name for he felt that many others deserved this honour more. The modesty was typical of the man but his achievements tell a different story. His death in February 1975 robbed the club of not only a great friend and benefactor but also rugby in general of one of it’smost ardent enthusiasts.
Lisburn Rugby Football Club presently field 3 Senior teams with the 1st XV currently playing in the Ulster Qualifying League(Section 2), the 2nd XV in Junior League (Section 2) with the 3rd XV in Junior League (Section 5).
The Youth boys section field four teams (U19, U17, U15 & U13). The Mini Rugby section are also in a healthy state boasting over 160 mini rugby players from Under 7 to Maxi (Under 12).