04 Jun 2021
While it's a commonly held belief that that Birr Rugby Football Club, or Parsonstown Football Club as it was originally known, was first founded in 1887 recently unearthed newspaper archives show the clubs inaugural meeting was actually held on Thursday 25th October 1883.
A copy of the article can be read below:
Thursday 01 November 1883 - Midland Counties Advertiser
Parsonstown Football Club
The inaugural meeting of this club was held on the club grounds on the afternoon of Thursday 25th October 1883 with a strong muster of members, considering it was the first time of asking. The energetic hon sec, Mr Waring, was in his place with commendable punctuality, a virtue which, by the way, did not seem to be a primal one in the estimation of many other members, as it was a good half hour beyond the appointed time before a team could be got together. Under the supervision of Mr Crooke and Dr Ewing, both enthusiasts for the success of the club, the ground was prepared during the forenoon, goal posts erected, &c, so that little remained but to strip to the work. A couple of scratch sides were picked with Messrs Waring and Crooke as Captains pro tem, and a rattling hour's play resulted. No very high order of merit was displayed but enough was done to show that the rough material was there in abundance, only needing practice to develop into more than ordinary provincial " form." The afternoon was fine, and many spectators were attracted, and to most of them it was evident that the Rugby Game was a perfect novelty, as the scrimmages, and tackling matches, appeared to excite unbounded amusement in the gallery. The opening meet was generally voted a complete success, and there is little doubt but the game will be a most popular one in Parsonstown during the coming season.
On Monday a general meeting of members was held in Dooly's Hotel, Mr John W Drought, JP, in the chair. A representative committee was chosen Mr J P Fagan, Clerk of the Peace, was unanimously elected Captain, the club colours after a long discussion were settled on, those chosen being navy blue and amber: the practice days were named—Mondays and 'Thursdays; and an amount of business of a routine character was disposed of. The hon sec announced a large accession of new members, the finances were stated to be proportionately flourishing; and on the whole, seemed to be the characteristic of the club's progress so far.