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Markham Irish World-Wide

It's true that rugby it an international sport, and here at the Markham Irish, we take that to heart!

This year, we have had many of our own travel overseas, and in turn we have made new friends who have traveled to see us!

Below is a list of people who have travelled far and wide to play our favourite sport, and they are all connected with the Markham Irish in one way or another.

Introducing, our Irish Billets!

Alex, Matthew, Anna, and Eimear have travelled here from Ireland to play rugby with us! They have each written a brief bio to help us get to know them better. Read on below, and make sure to say hello when you see them at the club! They will be playing on our senior teams, and are being hosted by a few helpful volunteers for the duration of their stay.

Alex Ryan: Hi my name is Alex Ryan, I was born and raised in county Cork, Ireland. I started playing rugby at the late age of 14 years old, I picked the sport up because my old soccer team folded and I was out of sport for a while and wanted to get back into it but I didn't want to go back to soccer, my friend asked me to try rugby and join his club so I decided to challenge myself and join and I have been in love with the sport ever since. I have only played for one club my whole life, Sunday's Well RFC but I also play college rugby with my college MTU in Cork City.

I have played in many positions before but my favourite position has to be flanker as I love to make a tackle.

 My old coach (who played for Markham Irish many years ago) told me about the opportunity to come out to Canada and play for Markham Irish for the Summer. I was immediately interested as I love to travel and meet new people all while playing the sport I love. The biggest reason I love rugby so much is probably the culture that surrounds it, every rugby club you go to you will meet the nicest and most hospitable people and everyone is so invested into their clubs and want to see their club succeed, ( the drinking culture helps too!). One fun fact about myself would be that I am a fluent Irish speaker.

Matthew Blake: I'm from Dublin, and my family's enthusiasm for the sport had a big impact on why I started playing rugby. I started playing rugby at St. Mary's School and carried on with the St. Mary's Club. 

My favourite position is out half.

I was interested in touring and playing for the Markham Irish because I wanted to experience a new rugby culture, meet new people, and see Toronto.

I love rugby because of the people and community associated with it. 

A fun fact about myself is that I can play the piano. 

Anna Brennock:

My names Anna and i’m from Dublin, Ireland.


I properly started playing rugby when I was 13. I used to play Gaelic football when I was in primary school  and I always used to get penalised for being too rough, so that’s when I started looking into rugby. 

I’ve played for a good few teams, I started playing with Old belvedere rfc, where we then merged with three other teams to form my old club Bistos. I then played for the Ireland U18s girls touch rugby club where I got a good bit of fitness training and then that allowed me to get onto the Leinster girls rugby squad. My current team at home is St Marys Rfc and my college club, TUD.


My favourite position to play is hooker, I love the intensity of the scrums and just the overall physicality of the position.


When I got offered the opportunity to come and play rugby in Canada, I was a bit nervous because i’ve never been away from home for that long, but because we have no rugby during the summer in Ireland, I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn and have a bit of craic while playing some good rugby with a great bunch of players.

 I don’t think I have just one reason as to why I love rugby, but my favourite thing about rugby is probably the time I get to spend pre and post match with my dad, as well as seeing him on the sidelines cheering me on. So Id say the main reason I love rugby is because of him, but also I do love hitting hard!

A fun fact about myself is I am adopted from Siberia! 

Eimear Furlong

I'm from a small village in West County Wicklow called Dunlavin. I had tried other sports when I was younger and never really liked them. When I started secondary school (age 12/13) my friend wanted to join the school rugby team and I've played ever since. Under 18s I played with my secondary school and Nass Rugby club. When I started college and moved up to Dublin I played for the Trinity College rugby team for a year before moving to Mary's RFC when they started up a women's team.

I've played many positions over the years but I think I'm most comfortable in a centre position. I have played 10 a good number of times and when I arrived at my first training session here at Markham I was told that's where I'd be for the season. 

I only heard about this opportunity in April so it was quite an impulsive decision. I have never been to Canada and had no set plans for when I finished college. In Ireland Rugby is played September to March usually and as I took some time off to focus on my final year in college it seemed like a great opportunity to get back into the sport while also experiencing something new. Rugby is a very popular sport in my family and we always make an effort to watch matches together. I love the sense of community and the friendly nature that rugby fans and players have. I find it's a great sport for anyone to watch regardless of if they know what's going on in a match or not and regardless of who they support. A fun fact about myself is I'm graduating from Trinity College Dublin this summer. 

U14/U16 VS U15 Newfoundland Rocks

Our U14s and U16s joined forces to face off against a touring U15 team from Newfoundland! The game kicked off at 5:30, followed by a BBQ in our clubhouse, where the teams sat down and had a meal together post-match!

Our boys were hit hard by the Newfoundland team, they played an elevated game of rugby! But our team adapted well and scored a try in the second half! Our man of the match was Keigan Scagnetti. Great job team !

This game was also hosted by a very special referee. Jonathan Kaplan reffed this game. Jonathan Isaac Kaplan is a former international rugby union referee who used to hold the record for the most international matches as referee. Read more about Kaplan here

We were very honoured to host the Newfoundland boys - we were one stop amongst many, as they played multiple games in the GTA. We left an impression as they did on us! Thanks for visiting us, The Rock! See game photos below.

A Feature From Far Away

You might remember Keely and Rhys Patterson, very valued members of our teams who played both at the junior and senior levels at the Markham Irish. Keely and Rhys have been travelling and are making their marks in New Zealand!

Here is a pic of Keely playing for her club, the Palmerston North Old Boys Marist vs Whanganui.  She was quite happy to find out that her club colours were the same as Markham's.

Here is a pic of Rhys (left) and his friend AJ (right). He lined up against Auckland and across the field was a guy that he played against in BC and is from Owen sound!

We are cheering for you back home Keely and Rhys!

A Special Message....

To view this message, visit this link

A special message from South African rugby legend  Wayne Fyvie, to everyone here at the Markham Irish Canadian Rugby Club!

  1. Keep the ball in hand

  2. Score many tries

  3. Don’t kick for posts, go for the try

  4. Trust yourself

  5. Have fun

  6. Play your hearts out!

Over his impressive career, Wayne not only played for the Springboks and Sharks, but also led them onto the park as their captain - 94 occasions for the Natal, 25 for the Sharks, 3 test for the Springboks and 5 midweek games

Many thanks to Wayne for these inspiring words. Let’s put them to practice as we tackle the 2024 season!

Are you interested in touring?

There is an alumni senior men's tour being organized to Spain! Check out the details below and send a message to if you're interested!



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