Schools: CCB 125 Rugby Tournament

Schools: CCB 125 Rugby Tournament

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Campbell College Belfast held a medallion level Rugby Tournament on 18th and 19th October as part of their 125th anniversary celebrations.

Ten schools sides from all over Ireland took part as well as Spanish side Alcobendas RFC and Scottish school Merchiston Castle, Edinburgh.  The twelve teams were split into four groups of three for the day one round robin stages.

The fixtures and results from day one are shown below.

The fixtures were on a tight schedule but we managed to catch three of the games and you can view the photos from Bob Given Photography below.

Campbell College 12 Terenure College 7 (CCB125)

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St Michael’s College 15 Alcobendas RFC 0 (CCB125)

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Gonzaga College 26 Methodist College 10 (CCB125)

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Host’s Campbell College and local rivals Royal Belfast Academical Institution together with Dublin Schools Gonzaga College and St Michael’s College all progressed through Day 1 unbeaten, the group standings after the round robin fixtures as follows.

On Day 2 the schools played knock out games across three separate cup competitions. The Pool winners battled it out for the WHB Baird Cup, the runners up competed in the John McKinney Cup and the third placed sides went head to head for the Henry James Campbell Bowl.

The WHB Baird Cup

The W.H.B. Baird Cup is named in remembrance of Old Campbellian William ‘Bill’ Baird. The Baird family connection with Campbell College goes back 120 years, when W.F.B. Baird (William’s Grandfather) was the Colleges, ‘Bursar and Commercial Master’.

Bill was a proud Campbellian; a Head Prefect and a talented rugby player who played on the Schools’ Cup winning sides of 1959/60 and 1960/61. He was described as an “ubiquitous full-back to be seen in Senior Football of the best class. His fielding and kicking were remarkably calm and accurate; his falling and tackling quite fearless (Ravenhill). His thorough knowledge of the game was frequently seen in attack whether handling the ball or creating a diversion, and the side was better for having behind them someone they knew to be so utterly reliable.”


The semi final draw pitched Belfast sides Campbell and Inst against each other in the first semi final leaving the much fancied Gonzaga against Dublin rivals St Michael’s in the other.

The boys from Campbell managed to overcome Inst in their match setting up a final against St Michael’s who squeezed past Day 1 favourites Gonzaga.

In terrible playing conditions the home team went on to claim the trophy with a narrow win against a strong St Michael’s side.

RBAI and Gonzaga met in a 3rd place play off with the Dublin side recording a one try win.

The John McKinney Cup

John McKinney has been synonymous with Campbell College and Irish schoolboy rugby for the last 42 years. Since his arrival at the College he has been involved with the Campbell 1st XV as Assistant Coach, Coach, Manager and Mentor. John’s influence has grown both Provincially and Nationally over the last decade, coaching CIYMS in the Ulster Leagues, North Rugby Football Club in the All-Ireland League and the Ulster U21s.

After coaching, John added his experience and organisational skills in a managerial role by managing successful Ulster and Ireland underage programmes, positively influencing a number of present Internationals.

Campbell College Rugby will forever be indebted to Mr McKinney for setting the highest of standards for young men through rugby football. It is only fitting that we celebrate his commitment during this special Anniversary Festival.


The Day 1 results pitched Belfast Royal Academy into the same play offs as Dublin Colleges Terenure and Blackrock alongside, the Co Kildare College, Clongowes Wood.

In difficult conditions, Blackrock squeezed past Terenure to set up a meeting in the final with Clongowes who overcame the BRA resistance in the other semi final.

The Kildare side came out on top in a tight final to claim the John McKinney Cup.

The Henry James Campbell Bowl

In 1889, aged 76, Henry James Campbell died unmarried and with no heirs. He bequeathed his estate to erecting, founding and endowing a College in Belfast to be called Campbell College or a hospital to be called Campbell Hospital.

His Trustees purchased the Belmont Road site in 1890; four years later, on 3rd September 1894, Campbell College opened its doors and has been educating boys all over the world ever since.

This bowl commemorates the legacy of philanthropist Henry James Campbell and 125 years of Campbell College.


Coleraine Grammar made it two from three for the Ulster schools after they came out on top in a tight final against Methodist College Belfast.

The two Ulster schools defeated Edinburgh’s Merchiston Castle and Spain’s Alcobendas, respectively, in the semi finals. The visiting sides met in a play off with Spain’s Alcobendas winning 10 – 5.

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