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Portadown Rugby Football Club were one of the early rugby clubs setup in Ireland. Their home at Chambers Park was the vision of men like James Chambers, WA Mullen, Ken Irwin and many more.
They buildings and grounds are some of the best in rugby in Ulster.
The club has 4 pitches, an all-weather cinder pitch, and cricket area.
As well there is the Goal line Youth facility of which all mini, panther and youth rugby players are members.
One Fitness Gym also operates in the grounds and the club has the excellent Scrumee Restaurant within the club.
The Coaching at Portadown is driven by the Head coach and the teams of coaches at mini and Youth.
The club also has the Panthers Tag Rugby team for young people with special needs. The Panthers have now 25 players ranging from 10 to 15 years and teams of coaches to help out. Though any new coaches willing to help out are always welcome.
The club also has a school club link via a schools forum were the club works with the local schools to maximise coaching and the playing of rugby in the area.
Portadown RFC also can boast the Ulster Branch President Robert Stewart as a member of the club.
Stephen Ferris started his early playing days with Portadown RFC Youth going on to get his first Irish Youth Cap.
The club structures and personnel are as follows;
Chairman: A Renshaw
President: I Wray
• Senior Rugby 4 teams
• Youth rugby Under 18, Under 16, Under 14, Under 12 teams
• Mini Rugby, P3, p4, p 5, p6, p7 teams
Any persons wishing to become coaches are always welcome and training is given to new coaches.
Senior Coaching Teams managed and led by;
• Club -Head Coach is R Headley
• Club- Senior Assistant Head Coach Ciaran O’Kane
• Club -Assistant Coach Mark Neilly
• Club -Assistant Coach Daren Thompson
• Senior Manager – Neil Irwin
Youth coaching Teams managed and led by;
• P Galway
• B Holden
• M Potts
• A Matchett
Mini coaching and management teams led by;
• R Speers
• K Reid
• C Anderson
• D Sheard
Panthers coaching team led by;
• I Flack is lead coach

New players, coaches, and volunteers always welcome at all levels in the club.
Want to get involved then contact the club at

BY post
BT63 5AR

By TEL: 02838335269 office open 9am to 2.30 pm Monday to Wednesday
or fill in the contact form on the website.

Pictures history

Section 1 HISTORY

In February 1879, the Irish Rugby Football Union was formed, and listed Poratadown as an affiliated club, with Thomas John (TJ) Collen as the honorary secretary. T.J Collen played for the first County Armagh side against Ulster on 27 November 1880. The Boat Club

In the late 19th century a few young men led by T.J Collen, joined forces to form the Boat Club in Portadown. In a short period of time the Boat Club would become the nucleus of sporting activity for boating, athletics and rugby in the town. Our first recorded captain was Arthur Farrell, who was the son of the proprietor of the Portadown News. First Game

The first recorded Portadown match took place at Ormeau on 11 December 1879 against Ulster F.C. unfortunately the result favoured the home side with three tries to nil. The team lined out as follows The first team

Back – Patrick, Half back – Wheeler and Whiteside Quarter back – Waddell and Harrison Forwards – Donaldson, Davidson, Lindsay, Harpur, Collen, Shillington, O’Hanlon, Bright, Stanley and Farrel (Captain)

The next game was played on 22 January 1880 against Armagh F.C and resulted in a win for Portadown by 1 goal and three tries to nil. With this result Portadown were on their way. Inter-war years

In the inter-war years Portadown established itself as a sound provincial club able to sustain a good firsts and a struggling seconds. These were lean years for many and there is no doubt that greater training and more specialist coaching would have given victory to post war sides. Though Jimmy Chambers served the Club for 50 years until his death in 1973, it was during these years that he exerted his most direct and personal influence. He was a rugby master at the College and a player for most of the period. Those who remember know that Jimmy was no man’s victim and feared no man. The present status of the club owes much to his enthusiasm between the wars. 40’s onwards.

The late 40’s and early 50’s were a period of slow rehabilitation after the Second World War. Although Jimmy Chambers played occasionally until 1948, the dominant personality in the club was Thomas Charles Wells. Tommy joined in 1948 and it remained his life until his death in 1976. Chambers Park is born

Wednesday 4 September 1963 has gone down in the annals of Portadown Rugby Club’s history. Several hundred spectators turned up to see the local side take on Ulster in the first match on Chambers Park, the towns magnificent new playing fields on the Lurgan Road. 1979 saw the club celebrate its centenary year, and saw the election of international player, Charlie Murtagh as club captain. Onwards and upwards

Throughout the years, Portadown Rugby Club has remained a bastion of normality and civility through all the trying social and political circumstances, which have been a blemish on our society. Regardless of colour, race or creed, Portadown RFC has promoted friendship, fair play and competition among our players, local community and peers. It is our aim to continue to promote this spirit and strive for improvement long into the new millennium.

Extracts taken from “Rugby Football in Portadown” by D.J Gilpin

Club Committee 2014/15 Season


The Senior I XV compete at the highest level of Junior Rugby in what is known as the Kukri Qualifying League 1, they also participate in the Powerade Towns Cup and the All Ireland Junior Cup.
The Senior II XV
II XV field in the Junior League 2
The III XV play in the Junior league 4
The III XV play in the Junior league 6
The III XV play in the Minor league South


Training for U19, U17, U15 & U13 is held at Chambers Park. Practice takes place on Monday & Thursday nights 18:30-20:30. All new members are welcome
The youth teams compete in the Ulster Carpets Youth Leagues. The U19S also compete in the Nutty Krust U19 Tournament which is held at Portadown RFC. A superb tournament we have covered it more in depth further in this page. Throughout the youth system there is a great camorarderie as the players and coaches strive to be the best. The commitment and dedication shown by the players and coaches is legendary and they regularly take on many many teams who may be on paper superior but such is the passion for rugby in these players they are always capable of upsets and know the strength and depth within their ranks allows them to hold their own and more against any opposition
The U13S are brilliant, they take no prisoners no matter who they are playing against and will astound you with their appreciation of the laws of the game, their off loading game is awesome and this is carried throughout the club. developing their game and practising sometimes for hours at home they are rarely seen without a rugby ball in their hands, it really awesome how they work together so efectively.

U15 Regional 4u15s
The Portadown RFC U15S see every away game as a tour and literally cannot wiat to get onto the park get the warm ups done and get stuck in to a good hard fought battle against whoever happens to be the opposition on the day!

The U17s travel the length and breadth of Ulster and beyond representing their modern dynamic club with its wholesome family ideals and are friendly and welcoming to everyone they meet. While on the pitch they expect nothing less than total rugby from start to finish!
U17 Regional 4 & Premiere 1

U19 League South
The U19S are nearing the pinnacle of rugby. Large crowds will assemble at Chambers Park to watch the U19S particularly in the Nutty Krust U19 tournament where the rugby they play represents their club with such enjoyment and passion that many of the top teams come unstuck against the perenially exiciting Portadown U19S.
We covered the U19S in the 2012/13 Nutty Krust tournament where they went all the way to the final and in the 2013/14 season one of the games of the tournament was their frist round game in which the standard of rugby played matched if not surpassed anything in Ireland.u19s
The standard of play is just as good as professional rugby, the passes, the offloads, the scrums, lineouts, just incredible and it is always an exciting game when the U19S play. The enjoyment of rugby just envigorates everything they do. When the U19S line break a side you’ll see a howl of delight on the line breakers face and the sprint of support players who will secure the on going ruck or recieve an offload from the line breaker almost always leads to tries! Any young man will benefit from the rugby education to be had in general at Portadown RFC.
The pride and excellence that is within the Portadown RFC youth system is just as evident in the Youth convenors and coaches who absolutely eat breath and sleep the game. Voluntarily giving their time without question in what is essentially a community initiative to develop rugby and young men who will carry forward into their lives and careers the enjoyment fun and team work involved in being succesful in any aspect of career or family life.

Portadown RFC Mini section have a busy year with a full schedule of practices and matches planned for all age groups. Coaches continuously remember and remind that the ethos of Mini Rugby is to foster and develop young players of all ability in the game of rugby in a safe, non-competition, enjoyable environment.

The success of the Minis depends greatly on the continued help and support from parents. As the playing numbers are expanding the club continues to get great support in organising food, parking and supplying tea and coffee etc. especially at Home games. All offers of help are greatly appreciated and encouraged.

The Mini rugby section host other clubs and visit other clubs for weekly mini rugby festivals


The ethos of Portadown RFC Mini Rugby is to foster and develop young players of all ability in the game of rugby in a safe, non-competition, enjoyable environment.

Rugby Tots P2-3.5YRS

Portadown Panthers

portadown panthers


Portadown Panthers play a non contact form of rugby, using Tags, and is for males and females, aged 6+ who have a Learning Disability. New players will be made very welcome so why not pop down and join in or have a look to see if you would like it.

Training takes place on Saturday mornings 09.30 -10.30 in Chambers Park, Portadown.

The Club was officially launched on 22 September 2013 when players & officials from Portadown Panthers & from Ireland’s first Learning Disability Tag Rugby Club, the Newforge Taggers, joined Ulster & Ireland Rugby player Andrew Trimble for a morning of rugby fun and games. Andrew welcomed the opportunity to play and coach alongside the players from both clubs. He was amazed by the skill and energy shown by everyone.

Also giving their support for this new and exciting venture were Criagavon Deputy Mayor, Councillor Colin Mc Cusker; Portadown Rugby Club President Niall Collen & Goal Line Youth Trust Deputy Chairperson, Lynn Irwin.

Interested in finding out more about the Portadown Panthers please call down to Chambers Park on a Saturday morning or contact Panthers’ Chairman Willie Gribben 07739044084.

Training for the Panthers will run alongside the very popular and successful Mini Rugby section. Following training players, parents & friends will be welcome to come into the Goal Line Youth club, which is open until 11.15, where they will meet & socialise with the Mini Rugby players, officials & parents.

The Nutty Krust U19 Tournament

Portadown Rugby Club, in conjunction with Irwin’s Bakery, host Nutty Krust U19 Tournament from JAnuary to April each year at Chambers Park.

Invitations seeking entries for the tournament are all the clubs in Ulster and further afield.

Irwin’s Bakery and the Nutty Krust brand has been involved in sponsorship of rugby tournaments in Portadown for the past 35 seasons. The emphasis in recent seasons has been on age grade rugby in the Province with players such as Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions player Stephen Ferris having participated in the competition.

The aim is to attract sixteen teams into the competition with the games are scheduled to start in late January culminating with the final in late April. Post-match refreshments are provided after each game with a ‘Man of the Match’ Award presented at the post-match reception.

Clubs are advised to follow the information sent out by tournament organiser, Willie Gribben.


Moto “gaudio certaminis” to relish in the joy of competition


Venue (All Rooms Available to hire for Events)

Excellent venue for businesses, functions and general meetings. Available 5 days a week Monday to Friday. For further information or to book please contact 02838335269

Small Function room used by clubs and our very own Youth Teams. Available 5 days a week Monday to Friday. For further information or to book please contact 02838335269


Principle club Sponsor
Mini Rugby Sponsor
Development Squad
Match Supporters
Platinum Sponsors

Business Group


Portadown Rugby Club are keen to bolster their ranks in all levels and age categories. If you have an active interest in participating in seniors, youth or mini rugby, please email your details (name, mobile contact
number, date of birth, and preferred position) to, and a club representative will be in touch. Alternatively, drop down to one of the training sessions for your team at the clubhouse, speak to the coach, and get involved!…… For more on follow…… :>>

BT63 5AR

TEL: 02838335269

Location map

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