Tuam RFC

Founded 1970

Co. Galway

Club Profiles Philip Malynn


(This piece was done on 14th October 2020)

This week we profile a man who played a pivotal role in reviving Tuam RFC in 1970, former player and president PHILIP MALYNN.


Having spent three years in Cavan training as a butcher, Philip returned to Tuam in 1963 with a burning desire to play rugby. However with Tuam RFC having disbanded two years previous, he along with Gerry Prendergast, John Hanley and Billy Glynn had to travel from Tuam to Galway to play with Galwegians. They went every Tuesday and Thursday evenings for training and again on Saturdays for matches.


Though there was no rugby club in the town at this time, there was definitely keen interest for one which particularly reverberated within the sugar factory in the town. Philip says "I had to get the loan of a ball from Galwegians to give to the lads in the sugar factory who wanted to play rugby. We eventually formed a team with these lads and the rest of us who were traveling to Galway. We were travelling to Ballinasloe, Ennis and Boys Club among others for games. It was my job to organise matches so I became fixtures secretary, a role I filled for fifteen years.


"It was when we asked Murt McCormack to our match v Boys Clubs which was really the start of the club as we know it now. Murt took on the role of training the second rows while I trained the props."


Philip played wing forward for Galwegians but as Tuam had no hooker, he filled that position instead. This has significant sentimental value for Philip as his father Tom played as hooker for Tuam in the 1930s and his son Jamie would go on to play hooker in the early noughties. Three generations of the one family wore the number two Jersey for Tuam RFC.


Incidentally Philip believes the family ethos played a crucial role in why Tuam RFC got up and running in 1970 and is still going to this day.


"We had a lot of different sets of brothers on our teams starting off including Kevin and Jack Reilly, Michael and Noel Mannion, Billy and Tony Lyons, Peter and Tom Burke, Christy and Seamus O'Neill, Francis and Richard Canavan, and TJ and Michael Comer and there were even more. It created great togetherness."


With a team created, a committee was also set up and as already mentioned, Philip was fixtures secretary. A chance visit to the Tuam Herald would result in the creation of the clubs crest.


Philip recalls; "I was very good friends with Eamon Kilkelly who worked in the Tuam Herald so I went up to him to get paper which I could use for administrative duties. Jarlath Keane who also worked in the Herald felt we should have a crest on each paper to give it the professional feel. Eventually it was he himself who came up with the crest which we have today".


With the club clearly gaining structure, the next task the club faced which proved trickier than first thought was the jerseys.


"We got fifteen really good quality yellow jerseys from Harry Geraghty with each player buying their own. However it soon transpired that Ballinasloe already had the same colour so we had to change ours. Martin O'Toole who played with us suggested we use his home club Clontarf's colours of blue and red. So we arranged for a set of fifteen new jerseys off Gerry Prendergast's aunt in Dublin which I went up and collected.


"The jerseys had no numbers so it made our treasurer Jim Farragher's job of retrieving the jerseys after games a nightmare. Often the first half of Tuesday's committee meeting would be taken up of tying down who had what jersey. When we got the jerseys numbered it made Jim's job a lot easier and the meetings a lot shorter!"


Philip's playing career saw him play in two junior Cup finals where unfortunately on both occasions he tasted defeat. However he lived and breathed the club which he literally brought home.


"Our house in Foster Place was practically like a clubhouse. There was a whiteboard above the fireplace where tactics were discussed. Committee meetings and team talks often took place at the house. My wife Bebe was even involved as she washed the jerseys. Kevin Prendergast who refereed games was in our house a few times and Bebe warned him not to send me off. He often refereed our matches wearing one of those famous yellow jerseys but he was very fair. I did however receive one red card in my rugby career! 


“We were playing Ballinrobe away when I got a fist to the face. I thought it was their hooker so when the referee wasn't looking I got him back. The game ended in a draw so the return match was a week later but in the meantime I was told it wasn't in fact the hooker who hit me but another player. I got him in the return fixture but I also got my red card!" laughs Philip.


The Malynn household also has two caps. These were presented by the club to players who had made a considerable contribution to the club. Philip received one in the eighties while his father Tom got one in 1940. Tom in later years would use the cap to gather donations for the club at games! 


After hanging up his playing boots, Philip took up the role of Club president from 1980 to 1982 and was instrumental in the club opening their new grounds at Garraun Park in 1982.


"Sean Carter, Eddie Holland and Jim Farragher were sent out to look for our own grounds. We squatted for awhile in Parkmore, then Jarlath Gaffney got us a pitch for awhile in CBS before we went to where the golf club is today until we had to move once more.


"When the field where we are today was chosen, Eddie through his job at the bank organised a loan and Jim Farragher donated machinery so the work could be carried out immediately. The effort these three lads put in along with a number of others was tremendous. The club hasn't looked back since.


"The ground was officially opened on May 1st 1982 when we invited the Irish team down to play a select fifteen. They had just won the Triple Crown. We had to get special permission from the IRFU for the match to be played because the rugby season was over.


"We got the go ahead and twelve of the starting Irish team played. It was truely a fantastic day. It was a huge honour for everyone involved and to be president at the time was extra special. The Irish captain Ciarán Fitzgerald was given the freedom of the town by the Tuam Council. After the game the two teams dined in the Imperial Hotel before we all went up to the Hermitage Hotel for a brilliant night.


"Paul Seevers played the bagpipes as he led the likes of Moss Keane, Dónal Lenihan, Ciaran Fitzgerald and the rest of the Irish lads into the hotel. The night was so good that the Irish team were unable to fulfil an engagement in Clare the next day" laughs Philip.


Philip still has a great association with the club and can often be seen at games. He has witnessed the club make huge strides forward. It's thanks to people like him that Tuam RFC has been allowed to progress like it has and hopefully we can all celebrate this in the not too distant future.

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