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The weekend before last, the night before the Ireland v Scotland game, we had the pleasure of welcoming Madras Rugby Club for a Friday Night Lights Fixture. There is a long established history between Lansdowne and Madras so we decided to get some background into how it came about.

The fixture started in 1986, when Jimmy Lindsay from Madras contacted P J Breen, who was Lansdowne’s Junior Fixture Secretary at that time.

The following year, Lansdowne travelled to St Andrews for the first time. Lansdowne Member, B P O’Neill put up a trophy “The Perpetual Cup”, and a few years later, Madras put up a quaich (cup of friendship – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaich ) for the losing team. The quaich was named after Johnny Maguire.  The winning team gets the cup and the loser the quaich which appears to have been mislaid over the years!

The matches have never been too serious rugby – played very much in the spirit of rugby friendship.   Declan Drummond remembers travelling with only 11 players in the 1990s – “Henry Blake played out half and Madras brushed the snow off the pitch – loaned us a few players and happily hammered the us!! The fixture died away from about 2011/12 as they no longer have second team – we used to mostly have J2/J3 players on our side.  Credit should go to Bob Robertson and Ross Methven of Madras and Roo in helping me reactivate the fixture.  This is in spite of the lame lame excuses as to why players couldn’t play – baby sitters, wives and appointments at hairdressers were all used.  I believe the match played this year – albeit tag – is the first Lansdowne Madras game since 2012.

Madras fine club house literally backs onto the famous St Andrews Old Course road hole – 17th – see image – and Lansdowne players have been able to play the Old Course as many of the Madras are members. Madras golfers have a time slot every day on the Old Course and are able to get us out at good rates to tear up the R&A’s prize possession!!”

Many pictures of Lansdowne players have had their pictures taken post match on the famous Swilcan burn bridge which looks toward the famous R&A headquarters behind the 18th green.

 

Declan tell us “Normally those pictured are victorious golfers but in this instance the picture is your truly, Gav Lee and John Starry Crowley.  Starry is reputed – by Madras –  to have shot the highest round they had ever heard of recorded on the Old Course!!!  I attach the picture just in case no one can find any better ones😀”

Jimmy Lindsay recalls “Over the years, when Lansdowne came across to St Andrews, we generally managed to play golf and the Head Honchos were treated to lunch in the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse. I remember one occasion when Alan Duggan and Mick English regaled past exploits to the R&A Secretary, Sir Michael Bonallack in his office overlooking the Old Course. Hugely entertaining.

When Madras opened their new clubhouse in 1994, Mickey Quinn, spoke at the Gala Dinner, as well as playing Out Half for Madras, against a Scottish 15 including Rob Wainwright, David Sole, Finlay Calder, etc. The President of the SRU at the time was a Madras man, Jock Steven.

For Lansdowne, Joe Leddin was a stalwart over many years, and Big Dougal Hamilton never missed a trip since 1986. A big buddy of Dougal’s was Mossie Keane, who came across to speak at one of Madras’s Annual Dinners.

Another highlight for Madras, was when P J Breen organised a reception with the Taoiseach in the Dail.

Certainly, there were many happy memories over the years, and many friendships formed.”

I’m sure there are many more stories and memories to be shared, some perhaps not suitable for public consumption (!) and we thank Declan Drummond and Jimmy Linsday for giving us a small taste.

We look forward to many more years of Lansdowne-Madras friendship.

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