A rugby great who played for Connacht and country

Eamonn McGuire - Born: June 28th, 1939; Died: September 14th, 2013

Eamonn McGuire, who has died aged 74, was a noted sportsman who played rugby for Ireland and Connacht. A native of Galway city, he lived in Dundalk for more than 45 years and was a former chief fire officer for Co Louth.

McGuire began playing rugby at St Joseph's (the 'Bish') in Galway where he was selected for the Connacht Schools team and was a member of a team which won a Connacht Junior Cup in 1957.

He studied engineering at University College Galway, where he won several Connacht Senior League and Cup titles. His sprinter’s speed helped him to become a try scorer and after making a big impact playing for UCG he was chosen on the Combined Universities team, playing on the team that famously beat the touring South Africans.

A prolific try scorer, he won more than 20 caps for Connacht and was a mainstay of the team for nine seasons, from 1960 to 1968.


In 1963 he won his first cap for Ireland, playing in the back row alongside Ian Dick and Matthew Kiely for the match against England in Lansdowne Road, a fixture that amazingly finished scoreless.

Famous victory

In 1964, he was part of the Irish team that recorded a famous

victory by beating England for the first time in 16 years, 18-5 at Twickenham.

He played in Irish teams alongside Mike Gibson, Bill McBride, Tom Kiernan, Bill Mulcahy, Mick English, Syd Millar, Ronnie Dawson, Noel Murphy and other greats of Irish rugby.

His greatest performance perhaps was against the All Blacks in 1963 when according to numerous commentators he outshone the great Mac Herewini. Agonisingly Ireland lost the game 6-5.

To this day the match is remembered for the Irish try that wasn't awarded. Eamonn McGuire got over the New Zealand try line with the ball but the referee didn't see him ground it and accordingly could not award the try.

McGuire won eight caps for Ireland in the 1963 and 1964 season until a broken leg cut short his career.

He also won three provincial championship sprinting medals and medals for rowing and played Gaelic football with Claddagh Gaels in Galway. He received the Connacht Rugby Hall of Fame award in 2012.

When he moved to Dundalk he played with Lansdowne, Bective and then Dundalk RFC. He won a Leinster Towns Cup Final in 1970 with Dundalk and also coached Dundalk the next time they were to win that cup in 1987.

Courage and dignity

He had moved to Dundalk

on being awarded the job of chief fire officer

. He worked as director of services up to his retirement and was also chairman of the Chief Fire Officers’ Association.

He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease 2½ years ago, a particularly cruel fate for such an active man. However, he suffered his illness with tremendous courage and dignity.

He is survived by his widow, Angela and children Elizabeth, Niall and Jennifer.