A Cathal Brugha team from 1955
The Cathal Brugha Club has been in existence since 1932 and was originally based in the old Falls Baths on the Falls Road in Belfast.
Initially, the aim of the club was to provide a swimming teaching facility for young people from the surrounding area. However it soon developed into a competitive outfit in both swimming and water polo and Jim Gilmore became the clubs first Irish swimming champion when he won the 880 yards freestyle title in 1943. Competitive swimming and water polo complimented each other until the early 1970s when the club began almost exclusively to concentrate on water polo.
Rory Delargy (RIP) and Liam Goss however maintained the link with swimming by winning numerous Irish masters titles and breaking records along the way. The club has now, over the years won every Irish title in water polo; more recently winning the Irish Senior Cup in 2015 and were the 2015/16 National League Men’s Div 1 title winners.
Women’s water polo was started in the late 1980s and culminated with three Irish Senior Cup titles in 2003, 2004 and 2006.They also played in the European Cup in 2005. Numerous honours have been attained at international level with Joe McAvoy (swimming and water polo) Phil Kelly Nicky McCormack and Chris Hodgkinson all having captained Ireland senior teams.
Over the years many extremely capable administrators have gone on to hold high office including past presidents of the Irish Water Polo Association Rory Delargy (RIP), Wally Clarke, Gerry O’Neill (twice) and Gerry Hanna (twice). In April 2011 Wally Clarke became the first member to be elected as president of Swim Ireland (formerly the IASA).
In 2011, Cathal Brugha received the coveted Clubmark Award which recognises excellence in Sports Club Management and in 2012 we were awarded the Swim Ireland Ulster Club of the Year Award. The Club also won the 2016 Belfast Club of the Year, presented at Belfast City Hall and our Senior Coach, Peter Cassidy, won Coach of the Year at the same event. Meanwhile Phil Kelly won an award for Outstanding Contribution to Water Polo at the 2016 Swim Ireland Awards.
Presently Cathal Brugha offers training sessions in Belfast at Falls and Andersonstown Leisure Centres and in Lisburn at the Lagan Valley LeisurePlex. We compete at all levels, participating in National competitions from under 14yrs to Senior events in both male & female categories.
Our Club has a very active Development Plan and welcomes new members at all levels, from the complete novice to seasoned players, perhaps from overseas, who find themselves in our city.
If you are interested in playing water polo or you would like your child to learn a new sport then why not come along to one of our sessions; details listed on our website’s Training & Fixtures page. Our junior Club Night is held every Tuesday at Andersonstown Leisure Centre (6.45pm - 8.30pm), simply come along and introduce yourself… we will make sure you have a great time playing water polo.