Letterkenny RFC was founded in 1973 when the town’s rugby players, who were travelling to Derry and Limavady for games each week, decided to form their own club.
A team was entered into the Ulster league and initial games were played at Robinson’s Field on Letterkenny’s Port Road. The following year the fledgling club purchased four acres of land at Drumnahoagh near the Dry Arch Roundabout. In an ambitious move a club house and changing rooms were constructed. The club flourished for the next decade with a vibrant social scene and successfully ran 3 teams for many of those years.
The club then opted to move to the Silver Tassie at the Halfway Line between Letterkenny and Ramelton and prepared new pitches to take the club to the next level and provide more space. This was in 1985 and the club continued to flourish initially, with Allen McCrea’s team winning the Forster Cup in Ravenhill defeating Malone 21-9.
Unfortunately the ownership of the Tassie passed out of club hands and the club underwent a period of decline. The third team failed to field from 1992 and for a while the interest in Rugby waned locally. As in all sports and clubs, the fortunes are sometimes cyclical with times of growth followed by periods of stasis. It was fairly clear that the playing surface of the fields at the halfway Line were inadequate for rugby particularly during the winter months. It was an exposed site with a lack of natural drainage and teams could go for weeks without games due to conditions underfoot. During these lean times the Club was kept afloat by the undying commitment of Jim Moore, Marty Moylan, Shane Fulton, Robert Love, Louis Walsh and others. There is no doubt the club would have folded without the selfless contribution of these members.
In 1996 Denis Faulkner returned to the Club and was followed during the next few years by a string of captains and quality players such as Shane Fulton, Michael McGarvey, Jason Black, Arthur McMahon, Roger McMahon, Harry Walsh, Mark Scott, Peter Brooks, Roger Roulston, Marty Bond, Boyd and Phillip Robinson. These players contributions on the playing field, socially and to the club in general have resurrected the club’s fortunes to where we are today.
Driven by the players mentioned, the club returned to Letterkenny in 1999 to lands bought at the Glebe, the ground was named Dave Gallaher Park after the local Ramelton man who was to become the captain of the first All Black touring team 'The Invincibles'.
This move improved the playing surface and made the club more accessible to the large population living in Letterkenny. This move has given the Club a new lease of life and has brought the club closer to its origin at Bonagee.
The Club celebrated its 40th season in 2014 along with the official opening of the new clubhouse, undoubtedly some of the finest sporting facilities in the province.
Many of our first team are now home grown players from Donegal and with the rapidly expanding Youth Section, fielding in the Ulster Premier League, and the booming numbers at Mini level, this trend will continue to fill our senior teams.
Our Club has always been a ‘grass roots’ club with a firm grounding in the local community. We are currently experiencing success at all levels and have a real vision for the future. We are proud of our history and our identity and look forward to the coming developments with huge optimism. We ask that all players, supporters, ex-members and Rugby enthusiasts buy into this vision and support us, and our sponsors, in the coming seasons.