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Farewell to a Legend

Niall Brophy receiving a large glass award
Niall during his induction to the Leinster Rugby Hall of Fame | Photo: INPHO Dan Sheridan

Blackrock College RFC is saddened to learn of the passing of Niall Henry Brophy, one of the Club’s greatest ever members. Niall’s connections to Blackrock and the rugby community extend back to his days taking the early train from Clontarf to Booterstown Station, to attend Blackrock College school, play rugby, and run track and field.

Niall went on to have a storied rugby career, playing in 20 Internationals for Ireland, during which he scored four tries. He joined Blackrock College RFC in 1961, when he played on the Leinster Cup winning team, which beat UCD in a replay, where he “made a memorable try saving corner flag Tackle in the drawn match.” You can read more about Niall's career highlights in the timeline below.

His love of rugby did not end after he stopped playing. Niall supported all the Club’s teams, even in ill health up to a few weeks ago. He took on formal administrator positions as Leinster Branch Rep., Leinster Branch President (1981-82), Club President (1985-86) and IRFU President (1997-98), Club Trustee, and Leinster Branch Trustee.

The Club’s Niall Brophy Gym will keep his memory alive for future generations and he will be deeply missed, not only by members of the BCRFC community, but also by the Irish rugby community at large.

Niall was first and foremost a family man and we extend our deepest sympathies to his beloved wife Mary Rachel and his children David, Cara, Harry, Marie-Elena, Niamh and Rachel. The Brophy bi-annual gathering at their home on the morning of the Welsh 5 and 6 Nations Matches were legendary down through the years, much like the man himself! RIP, Niall Brophy, a true legend.

Here is a timeline of just a few highlights from Niall's storied career in sport:

  • 1950: Won Junior 100 Yards in record time of 11.4 Seconds

  • 1951: Captain JCT

  • 1953: Member SCT

  • 1954: Captain SCT

  • 1954: Champion in 100 and 220 yards, Leinster Schools, and Irish Schools Athletics Championships

  • 1954-1961: Held College Senior 220 Yards record of 23.2 Seconds

  • 1956: Gold winner, 100 yards and 220 yards, Track & Field Championships in Ireland, UCD

  • 1957: First Cap for Ireland, played for Leinster against Australia and New Zealand

  • 1957-1967: Scored four tries in 20 internationals for Ireland

  • 1959: First Lions Tour to Australia and New Zealand / British Isles' tour of Australasia - severely injured his foot in his first match and returned home early

  • 1960: Gold winner, 100 yards and 220 yards, Track & Field Championships in Ireland, UCD

  • 1961: Joined BCRFC

  • 1961: Member of Leinster Cup Winning Team after Final Replay v. UCD - made a memorable Try saving Corner flag Tackle in Drawn Match

  • 1962: Toured again to South Africa and scored two tries in eight appearances, including two tests/two Lions caps

  • 1963: Played for Barbarians

  • 1964: Played for Leinster against New Zealand

  • 1967: 2 Outstanding Tries in Game against Touring Copperbelt Team from Rhodesia secured recall to Irish Team.

  • 1967: Played in Ireland Tour to Australia (Won)

  • 1967: Captained the Barbarians in 1967 against East Midlands

  • 1981-82: President, Leinster Branch

  • 1985-86: President, Blackrock College RFC

  • 1997-98: President, IRFU

  • 2003: Inducted into the Rugby Writers of Ireland Hall of Fame

  • 2011: Inducted into the Leinster Rugby Hall of Fame

Irish Times, 19 December 1960

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