Tony O' Reilly RIP

The club is deeply saddened to learn of the death of club member Tony O'Reilly. President Alan Wallace, committee, and members send their sympathy to his family. The following appears on RIP website here.

O’REILLY Anthony John Francis (Tony) peacefully on 18th May 2024 at St. Vincent’s Private Hospital, under the great care of all the medical and nursing staff. Pre-deceased by his first wife Susan and second wife Chryss. He will be sadly missed by his children Susan, Cameron, Justine, Gavin, Caroline and Tony, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, his twenty-three grandchildren, relatives and friends.

Removal to the Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook on Wednesday evening arriving at 5.00 pm. Funeral Mass on Thursday morning at 11.00 am. No flowers please. Donations, if desired, to the Ireland Funds (

Pictured in April 2018: Anthony O’Reilly and his wife Chryss at the opening of the O’Reilly Room at Old Belvedere.

Tony’s many and very significant achievements in both his rugby and business careers have already been covered very comprehensively in both the press and other media. It is only appropriate to add that he also made a very major contribution, both as a player and afterwards as a friend and supporter to Old Belvedere and its members and many of their families over many years. Although many of his achievements and activities notably the Ireland Fund-have been widely recognised he also helped out many members of Old Belvedere in ways which were never publicised. His contribution to the club was appropriately recognized in the establishment of the O’Reilly Room in the clubhouse in 2018 His and Chrys’s presence at the formal launching of this well-deserved tribute on their last visit to Anglesea Road.

Alan Bradley

What I Owe to Old and Young Belvedere

Written by Tony O'Reilly in May 2019,on the occasion of the 'Belvo 100' Foundation Dinner which was held in the RDS.

I first played rugby for Belvedere when I was six. The confirmation of this to me is a photograph of Michael Mullen, myself and Aiden Doyle (of Doyle's Corner fame). The photograph shows me in the middle, in tears. The reason is simple: my mother was asked to get me a black and white jersey, and for my first essay into the world of sport, she bought me a black jersey with a white collar! The words of my coach, Fr. Lehane, S.J., were, "You'll have to try harder."

That was and is the motif of Belvedere, both old and new, and I continued to be an active playing member for a further 30 years.

Rugby football is a good tutor that disappoints as much as it teaches, but Old Belvedere has an unusual history in that although it is 100 years old, it did not play for 5 years in the early ’20s. The Club then prospered through the ’20s and entered it's Golden Period in the late ’30s and early ’40s with the advent of an extraordinary run in the Leinster Senior Cup, where it won seven Senior Cups in succession in 1940-46.

I first saw them play as an 8-year-old and was thrilled by the astonishing careers of the Quinn brothers -- Paddy, Jerry, Frank, Kevin -- and the non-brother, Brendan Quinn, who filled my schoolboy imagination with the wonders of what might be.

Old Belvedere have won the Cup on several occasions since, but the magic and mystery of the run of 7 victories in the '40s will remain for all time.

The rhythm of life at Belvedere and rugby football is dictated by the traditions of the School's Cup, Junior and Senior. I played for 3 years in the Junior Cup Team and 3 years in the Senior Cup Team; the last, a stirring final at Lansdowne Road on St. Patrick's Day, 1954, against Blackrock. We had been playing Blackrock since we were small children Blackrock won, but this was an epic game with great players on both sides, including Brophy, Cleary, Grehen and Woods on the Blackrock side, antJ Lenehan, the Mulcahy twins (or were they triplets?), Carey and McCann for Belvedere.

I played no rugby the year I left school until November where I played for Old Belvedere's 3rd X\/. After two games, half the first team were furloughed for failing to turn up at all for a game against the Galwegians. To my surprise, I was promoted to play against Dolphin on the following Saturday, and thanks to Kevin Quinn's artistry, I scored a number of tries.

The following week, I delayed against Queen's University with an all international back line of Henderson, Pedlow and Gregg on their side. Again, Quinn paved the way for a number of tries. Three weeks later, dramatically, I played in the final trial for "the Probables" against "the Possibles," alongside Jack Kyle, with whom I previously met to get his autograph!

In 1954, I played without great distinction against France, England and Scotland and then with a new out-half, Seamus Kelly. I had a wonderful afternoon at Cardiff Arms Park against Wales.

The  British Lions team were picked that weekend and  to my amazement, I found myself selected to go to South Africa in April of that year. It all seemed like a dream, and at 18 years of age, I found myself on the plane to South Africa with 30 other players, most of whom I had only seen on the field.

That tour and subsequent tours, both for Ireland, the Barbarians and Lions, remained the high points of my career, but the highest point of all was the honor of playing for OlaJ Belvedere in early November 1954 for the 3rd UV.

I have a recollection of great names that I have shared with both on and off the field. Kyle and Morgan were at the top of the list. And in The Pantheon, I number Karl Mullen, James McCarthy, Jeff Butterfield, W.P C. Davies, Bev Risman, Peter Jackson, David Hewitt, Cecil Pedlow, Dick Jeeps, Ray McLoughlin, Mike Gibson, Noel Murphy, Andy Mulligan, and in Ollie Campbell (the man I would most like to have played outside), and Redmond Doran (perhaps the best player not capped for Ireland), and a thousand others of eqn al merit who played the game, not just for the glory, but for the feeling that you are unique in the world of sport by being honored to have taken part in rugby football.