CLUB HISTORY

 

The Long Island Rugby Football Club (LIRFC) was founded in 1972 as the Smithtown Rugby Club, by St. Anthony and
Chaminade alumni. The club continued as the Long Island Rugby Rhinos until 1998 when it merged with the Rockville Centre
Rogues. The Rockville Centre Rugby Club was founded in the spring of 1992 through the efforts of Fred Hunt and Johnny
Profitlich. After competing with local rival, Long Island, on the field and with recruiting, it was decided that it would be best for
both clubs to join forces to put forth one strong, unified Rugby Club in the region. RVC and Long Island merged in the spring of
1998 to form the Long Island Rugby Football Club. LIRFC has now become the focus of rugby on Long Island in Nassau
and western Suffolk Counties, competing in Divisions I, II, and III. They are coached by New Zealand expatriate Derek "Mack"
McDonald and Jerry Mirro, who is also the head rugby coach at Stony Brook University.


The club travels extensively outside the New York area, playing in tournaments in Washington, Georgia, Alabama, New Orleans,
Connecticut, Saranac Lake, Florida, Rhode Island, Maine, and Pennsylvania. They have appeared in all the major New York area
tournaments over the years, as well as Hibernian 7's. The 7's side is a regular Northeast contender as well, earning a trip to the
Nationals in 2001. In addition, several Long Island players have been named to the Northeast Select Side to compete for the Na-
tional All-Star 7's Championship in the past few years. The club is proud to call John J. Burns Park in Massapequa Park, NY
home to training two days a week, and their home pitch at Centre Island Bay Beach.


Over the years, many foreign nationals have made this club their choice during their stays in the U.S. Among the countries
represented have been England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Uruguay, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan,
Tonga, Samoa, Belarus, Trinidad, and Jamaica. The club has also shown a commitment to international touring, traveling abroad
every third year. Recent stops have included England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Cayman Islands. The club has
reciprocated by hosting English clubs several times over the years.


The Men's Adult club has played extremely competitively in the Metropolitan Division II in recent years, earning trips to the
Northeast playoffs in 2000 and 2002. In 2004, the club went undefeated, capturing the Metropolitan Division II title, earning a
promotion to Division I and a chance to compete for the National Division II Championship in the spring of 2005.


2010-2016 was a time of rebuilding and reflection for Long Island men's club as they battled competitively in Empire GU
DII but could not succeed in playoff runs. Over the winter of 2016/17 the men's side reset practice strategy, team culture,
marketing and recruitment and immediately saw success coming into the Spring with a 6-0 record by winning their last two
league matches of the spring, and defeating four other DII sides and a Canadian D1 side. However it was not enough to reset the
W/L record of the past few seasons and they were to relegated down to DIII for the 2017/18 season.


In 2016, LIRFC was joined by Long Island Women's Rugby (LIWRFC). Founded by Nicole Montanino, Danielle Weisbord and Rebecca Torns, LIWRFC provides the women of Nassau County, Western Suffolk County, and Eastern
Queens the opportunity to play rugby on Long Island. Competing in Division II and coached by Timothy Stanson, the club is also
proud to call John J Burns Park in Massapequa Park, NY their training home and Centre Island Bay Beach their home pitch.
LIWRFC became a recognized club in 2017 and continues to grow alongside LIRFC in both numbers and skill providing both 15's and 7's sides!


2017/18 season turned out to be the most successful year for the Men's Club since it's founding. That season they won the
Empire GU DIII Championship going undefeated and having the highest points differential in the Eastern US. Then they went
on to Providence, Rhode Island and defeated the Boston Maccabi RFC to win the 2018 North East US Rugby Championship and
earned a spot in the Elite 8. Two weeks later, they traveled to Fortress Obetz, Ohio and won a tough match over Ft Wayne RFC,
to make it into the Final 4 and then defeated the Palm Beach Panthers RFC in a double overtime match, clinching the 2018 East
US Club Championship and earning a spot in the National Final. The National Championships held in Glendale, Colorado was
an incredible experience yet the men came up just short losing to a phenomenally experienced Austin Blacks side and earning the tile of USA Club Rugby DIII National Runners Up.

 

© 2019 by LIRFC