The Hellhounds have landed in Cork
Welcome back everyone, I hope you are all doing good and staying safe in this lockdown, can you believe it's going to be extended?? I just can't even begin to process another 6 weeks in lockdown. I mean what will we be like when this is all over… It’s going to be really interesting to see.
Speaking of lockdown, there was a time before this madness when we could all socialise without being in front of a screen or using apps like Zoom, and WebEx... Remember those days when you could literally be next to someone or put your arm around them, or in my case dance like a loonie in chambers.. They were great times. Well, plans are already in place for the rugby lovers in Cork to come together again post COVID.
I would like to tell you all about the Cork Hellhounds. Corks first Gay Rugby team. Recently born through the Covid madness the Hellhounds are already bringing together the Gay men of Cork and making us all feel closer than ever before. Cork already has the Rebel’s Football team and now we have the Hellhounds. Cork really is becoming more inclusive with each day that passes.
I joined the group before Christmas and immediately felt right at home. Such an amazing bunch of gay men from all different walks of life, we all have different lives and different interests but it’s our love of Rugby that has brought us together. Now late last year before restrictions came back into effect, the Hellhounds did hold a couple of training sessions which proved to be extremely successful. And it was great seeing everyone getting on the pitch and learning some new skills.
Since Lockdown we have all kept in contact with each other in the WhatsApp group and online using Zoom and have even invited other rugby teams into our catch ups and have built up strong relationships. We have even helped each other out by uploading fitness plans which obviously helps keep us all in shape while we are in Lockdown. It’s so nice to be apart of an inviting and welcoming group. As you all know I’m not the most sociable person in the world, and joining the hellhounds was a big step outside my comfort zone, but I’m truly glad I did it, and I know that once we are all on that pitch together, new friendships will be cemented.
But how did the Cork Hellhounds come about…? Well, I reached out to the founder of the HellHounds Adam O’Brien, and asked him why did he set up the hellhounds and what are his hopes for the Hellhounds when we are back on the pitch… Here is what Adam had to say.
“The Cork Hellhounds came about after I moved back home to Cork from Dublin. I spent several years in Dublin and I joined the Emerald Warriors to meet more friends. I had a fantastic experience with the Warriors and was introduced to the wide wide world of international gay rugby. I saw the absolute positives that a gay rugby team can bring and I wanted to bring that to Cork.
The idea was always at the back of my head as a far-future idea. I reckoned it would take weeks to put something together but after talking to a friend of mine, he put me in contact with the Gay Project. We set up an information call in late September and it took off from there.
I wanted to set up the Hellhounds for purely selfish reasons - I wanted to create a group of mates to go drinking with and play a little rugby.
It was amazing to see the group develop, to get out and train as much as we could between lockdowns. I can’t wait to get everyone onto the pitch and work hard as a team. I am hoping that we evolve into a team that is an important facet of Cork culture; providing an avenue for fitness, plays great rugby, and is a warm, welcoming social group for anyone to pop in and out of. “
Scott De Buitléir has also played a huge part in getting the Hellhounds off the ground with Adam here is what Scott has to say.
“I went to a secondary school in north Dublin that had a tradition of playing rugby, but during those years, I shied away from sports and group activities – a lot of which I owe to varying experiences of bullying, and a general culture of homophobia in schools. It took me a long while to get over that negative perception of team sports, but by the time I moved to Cork (after some time in Nottingham) I was eager to find a way to keep fit and make new friends along the way.
The Cork Hellhounds was the perfect opportunity for me, as it allowed me to take on a sport I was always curious about, it gave me a target to focus my own fitness goals, and it allowed me to socialise on a level I was previously nervous about when I was in school. The guys have been welcoming, friendly, ready to learn, and looking forward to getting onto the pitch. We're still a very new club – we were only founded last October – but we've already had the support of Cork's LGBT community, as well as the gay rugby community internationally. We got a lot of attention and messages of welcome, some of which because our club logo seemed pretty cool to our new friends in Britain and Europe! I can't wait to meet them on the pitch someday and catch a pint with them afterward.
The Cork Hellhounds have been a solid source of support and friendship too. We've held Zoom catch-ups, group workouts, and participated in fundraisers and quizzes, especially with our friends in the Belfast Azlans. We've already become a community, and become part of a broader community, too. That means a lot when so many of us are restricted and isolated under lockdown.”
The Hellhounds are only at the beginning of their story and it is going to amazing to see how we all come together when COVID is past us. I’m really looking forward to being apart of history, Corks First Gay Rugby Team. We just can't wait to get on the pitch and kick some ass!!
If you would like more information on the Hellhounds check out their Website and also you can find more information through Gay Project on South Terrace.