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The Leprechauns are coming to Town!

Updated: Feb 21

Every year in Kilkee if you happen to be around on the right date, you may be surprised to see an audience gather on the beach when the tide is right out.

On further inspection, you realise the crowd is gathered around a large rectangle and that for a few hours a year, the beach has been turned into a rugby pitch! Two full teams of brave (or foolish!) men and more recently women are charging around in the sand with grim determination and a strong desire to beat the other team.

It’s quite a spectacle and as you delve deeper into the history and rivalry between the two sides a great story too.

“The Beach Rugby Match” goes back to 1994, when a few players and rugby veterans were enjoying some pints in the Old Barrel pub ( next to Hickeys in the square and no longer there) in Kilkee one day and came up with the idea. The big idea was to play a game in the sand to include current and past players and raise some funds for local charities at the same time.

There are two teams “The Leprechauns” and “The Fallen Stars” both fierce rivals in their previous rugby clubs, coming together to raise money for charity and be reminded why they don’t play anymore!

The star on the “The Fallen Stars” Jersey represents the five parishes of Limerick City and “The Leprechauns” multi-colored rugby jerseys represent each of the rugby clubs in the region.

The game opens with “The Humpty Dumpty Haka” choreographed with precision to the nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

Early games played were over robust and more suited to the Leicester Tigers and Stad Francais rules, however, due to rather too many broken noses, sand rashes, and general damage inflicted during scrums in the sand, the rules later developed into tag rugby which is enjoyed to this day.

The game is played in 3 halves! Three twenty-minute sections are more than enough under beach conditions!

One year when the chosen charity was the local “Search and rescue fund” the giant ball that is always used to mark the beginning of the game was dropped onto the pitch by the rescue helicopter!

Everyone is welcome on the day, and you never know who you might see on the pitch, Ireland team players, international players, famous referees, touch judges, or IRFU committee members still having a go in their 80s!

The players get so wrapped up in the game it has been known for the tide to come up and cover the pitch before they even noticed it.

As the final whistle blows the referee is dunked into the sea as a sign of appreciation and everyone retreats to Scott’s Bar to relive their moments of glory on the pitch.

The Ken Rennison Memorial trophy is duly presented to the winning team.

Since the Limerick Leprechauns Veterans rugby club was established over €1 million has been raised by the matches for local charities including Barnardos, St Vincents Lisnagry, CARI, Pieta House, and The Ukranian Fund, to name a few.

This year the match is on Saturday, August 19th don’t miss out, where else in the world are you going to have the chance to see an event like this?

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