Munster rugby have announced the addition of two new clubs as members of the Munster Branch of the IRFU. Cork Hellhounds RFC and Lisdoonvarna RFC.
The Cork Hellhounds are a LGBT-inclusive rugby club based in Cork, Ireland that were established in October 2020 with the aim of encouraging and promoting rugby among the LGBT community within the Munster region. Lisdoonvarna RFC are based in Clare and will provide another option for underage players in the region.
Their memberships were ratified following a Munster branch committee meeting on June 2. The Hellhounds train at the Munster Rugby training grounds on the Ringmahon Road in Mahon, on the south side of cork city as Lisdoonvarna train on the community owned Lisdoonvarna Failte CLG.
The North Clare based club will also be hosting the Give It A Try programme on July 27 run by the IRFU. This programme will offer a welcomed opportunity for girls within the region to learn how to play rugby in a friendly, fun learning environment which will boost the growth of the sport across the county but also potentially the province as a whole.
The City of Cork is no stranger to all-inclusive sports sides as the Cork Frontrunners and Cork Rebels FC cater to athletics and football enthusiasts. However, the Hellhounds will be the first rugby team within the province to openly do so and will take part and compete in the Munster domestic league over the coming months.
Hellhounds club founder Adam O’Brien stated:
“This is a great moment for sport in Cork. As there is still a perception, despite recent years of social progress on LGBT issues, that sport in one area which can be exclusive to LGBT people. Other cities have LGBT-inclusive rugby teams, including Dublin and Belfast, and they have seen great participation from both gay players and straight friends who wish to support and get involved. Wed love to see the same experience available in cork and were already off to a good start.”
The Hellhounds also intend to become members of International Gay Rugby, which organises several league competitions, including the Bingham cup, also known as the Gay Rugby world cup.
The cork side are currently recruiting and inviting new players regardless of experience to part take in training and to sign up. The two newest members are a refreshing addition to Munster Rugby and will look to have a positive domestic season moving forward.