Background to Ireland Police Rugby
In 1966 An Garda Slochana and the Royal Ulster Constabulary first played rugby against each other at the then RUC Training Centre in Enniskillen. The organisers of the game were Sergeant Pa O'Shea (retired) of An Garda Slochana and Sergeant Dave Davidson (retired) of the R.U.C. Both men still maintain contact with the game and
regularly attend the annual Garda Slochana/ PSNI games. (Pa O'Shea is pictured
here, (Grey Suit), attending the reception at Aras an Uachtarain following the fixture
with the British Police in 2009)
The games between the two services were suspended during the troubles from 1972
to 1993 when the annual fixture re-commenced.
Sadly during that time the teams could not play against each other on the island of
Ireland, but for a number of years in the mid-1980s the teams encountered each other
in the Lothian & Borders Police Seven-a-side tournament. Through those years
lasting friendships between players and officials from both sides were cemented
and the dream of playing rugby against each other in Ireland never died.
With the establishment of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in 2001 a new trophy was commissioned and named the O'Shea/Davidson Cup in honour of the two men who started the games between the services in 1966. Over the years there were many discussions between true rugby enthusiasts from both organisations about forming a combined team but this was not met with universal until the early part of the 21st Century.
The Ireland Police Rugby team was established in 2003 and is made up of serving police officers from both organisations. Detective Superintendent Eamon O'Grady, (Retired - Pictured on Right Hand side of image above), of An Garda Siochana and Superintendent Alan Mains (retired) of the PSN I were the leading figures in the establishment of the team, with the Chief Constable of the PSN I and the Garda Commissioner becoming joint patrons.