The 5th Earl of Ranfurly, who was President of Dungannon Football Club for 24 years and Patron for a further 37 years, was Governor of New Zealand from 1897 to 1904. He brought his love of rugby to New Zealand and gave his name to the most prestigious rugby trophy in the Southern Hemisphere, The Ranfurly Shield.
Despite our proud history the Club played junior rugby for most of the first half of the 20th century before returning to the senior ranks in 1954 under the captaincy of Roy Saunders the Club’s first Honorary Life Member.
As a result of winning the AIB All Ireland League play offs in 2000-2001 Dungannon has now won every available domestic competition. The AIB All Ireland League, The All Ireland Floodlit Cup, The Stevenson Shield (Ulster Senior League), The Ulster Senior Cup (a record five times in the 1990), The Ulster Towns Cup (a record eighteen times), The Ulster Junior Cup and The Forster Cup.
The Club has developed many great players who have represented Ulster, Ireland, Barbarians and the British Lions. In recent years Jimmy Davidson, Stewart McKinney, Willie Anderson, Jimmy McCoy, Paddy Johns, Ronnie Carey, Jeremy Davidson, Allen Clarke, David Humphreys, Jonathan Bell, Justin Fitzpatrick, Tyrone Howe, Kieran Campbell, Stephen Ferris, Ryan Caldwell, Declan Fitzpatrick, Craig Gilroy and Paddy Jackson have represented Ireland.
Additionally Dessie McCann, Gary Leslie, Ashley Blair, Stephen Bell, Tony McWhirter, Jan and Bryn Cunningham, David Pollock and Nigel Brady have played for Ireland A.
In 1995 the Club took a bold step in appointing Willie Anderson as its Director of Rugby. It was one of the first Clubs in Ireland to make such a move in a desire to further develop and promote rugby football in the area. The Club has supported the All Ireland League since its inception, although they had to fight their way into it by way of the play offs after year one. Since then Dungannon have always played in either division One or Division Two. After demotion in 1998 the Club immediately regrouped and bounced back to Division One as winners of Division Two in 1999.
Dungannon Rugby Club achieved its most historic victory in May 2001 by winning the All Ireland League Final. The first Ulster club to win the Championship. Stevenson Park was purchased in 1969 and has been gradually improved into one of the finest arenas for playing and viewing rugby in Ireland. In 1999/2000 the Club completed the first phase of the development of its facilities by totally renovating and extending the changing facilities. Incorporating new administration offices, new heating and building a new car park. The new development, which cost £500,000, was funded by a National Lottery Grant and by the generous donation of members. The club now considers that they have the facilities to meet the demands of the modern game.
Whilst there is an emphasis on Senior Rugby the Club is still community based and remains totally committed to players at all levels from minis through youth to the adult club player.