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History

Bangor Rugby Football Club fields three Senior teams, the 1st XV in Ulster Qualifying League 2, the 2nd XV in Ulster Junior League 3 and the 3rd XV in Ulster Minor League East 1. The club also has an U-19 XV in the new Ulster U-19 league. Youth Rugby at the new U-17, U-15 and U-13 age group levels is a developing section within the Club, while Mini and Maxi rugby has been thriving over the last decade, with over 180 children participating at all age groups in the season just passed. Ladies rugby is at an embryonic stage.


The Club was founded in 1885 and rose through the ranks of Ulster Junior rugby to attain Senior League status in 1924. Following World War 2, the Club re-emerged in Junior rugby, enjoying considerable success in the 1960s. It was during this time, when the Club leased its two pitches and pavilion at Ward Park from Bangor Borough Council, that the Club's first submission for Senior status in the 1965/66 season was rejected by the Ulster Branch (IRFU). This was to prove the catalyst for a new beginning. In the summer of 1966, an enthusiastic Committee, headed by Chairman Joe Upritchard and Vice-Chairman Ronnie Boston, drew up the blueprint for a Club Development Plan in preparation for a re-application for Senior status in 1968. A massive fundraising appeal, the generosity of the people of Bangor, the procurement of substantial grant aid, and a lot of hard work brought this vision to reality. Eleven acres of ground were purchased at the Primacy on the southern outskirts of Bangor and site work began in the summer of 1968. Upritchard Park, named in honour of Joe Upritchard, was officially opened in September 1969, coinciding with Bangor regaining Senior status. During this time, Bangor Grammar School was also emerging as a successful rugby school, winning the Ulster Schools Cup for the first time in 1969. And so a new era for rugby football in Bangor began.


Over the next 20 years, Bangor rose to eminence as one of the top Senior Clubs in Ulster and Ireland. At its peak, the Club fielded seven adult teams in the late 1970's. The highlights of this period were the winning of the treble of Ulster Senior League, the Ulster Senior Cup and Bangor's own Floodlight Rugby Trophy, the Boston Cup, in 1982. The Club's success was also recognized by the selection of several Bangor players for Ulster and Ireland. The greatest single international representation was in 1975, when Roger Clegg, Billy McCombe and Dick Milliken, the Club's only British Lion, represented Ireland in the then Five Nations tournament. When the All Ireland League began in 1989, Bangor competed very well in Division 2. However, with the onset of the professional game in the mid-1990s, the Club's ability to compete at the highest level declined. In 2002, Bangor slipped back into Junior rugby. Despite enjoying mixed success since, when several Bangor players have represented Junior Ulster, this vibrant Club now has the structures, resources and ambition to enable it to achieve its short-term goal of becoming a major force in Junior rugby over the next few years. In the 2010/11 season, the Club celebrated its 125th Anniversary, with the 1st XV turning out in a modern version of the original Bangor hooped strip of 1885. However, this strip didn't prove to be successful, and the 1sts slipped back to Qualifying League 2. However, a steady period of rebuilding and the return of many 'prodigal' players saw the club's fortunes improve and, having quickly returned to Qualifying League 1, brought it all together in the 2015/16 season when they completed a clean sweep by winning the Junior Cup, the Towns Cup, the qualifying league, the conference league, and the All Ireland round-robin competition to return to the ranks of senior rugby once again. They now compete in the Ulster Bank All Ireland League Division 2C.


Bangor Rugby Football Club merged with Bangor Cricket Club to form Bangor Rugby Football and Cricket Club in 1972. However, it was not until after the redevelopment of Upritchard Park in the early 1980s that 1st XI cricket was played here for the first time, a year after the Rugby Club's centenary year in the summer of 1987. Each section has its own Committee to manage the playing interests of rugby and cricket respectively. The Chairmen of Rugby and Cricket are members of the Club Management Committee which has overall responsibility for the running of the Club.

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