Midstate rugby team headed to Eastern Conference Championships

Founded in 1975, Old Gaelic Rugby has been in Cumberland County for 40 years, but not much has changed.

“We’ve never changed our team colors or our team name and we’ve had the Griffin as our symbol since we started,” said Frank Lentz, who serves as the club’s president.

While the core values are the same, the players are not. Well, most of them.

“I’m a defensive liability,” joked Jeff Cook.

Jeff joined the team in 1979 and has played for 73 seasons since rugby has both a fall and spring season.

This year is special to Jeff and the rest of the players. They are celebrating the team’s 40th year and celebrating a great season. “We won both regional and conference playoffs,” Lentz said.

Next weekend, the players will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina for the Eastern Conference Championships, but the trip is expensive.

“It will cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000,” Lentz said. “The farther you get, the more you have to pay and it’s out-of-pocket for everybody here.”

To offset those costs, the team set up an online fundraiser.

“Maybe 15 years ago, we started to see the potential of this team, and they’ve really taken the ball and run with it,” he said.

If the team wins in Charlotte, they will play at the national championships in Colorado in June, but that’s not the end of the road for Old Gaelic. They have a big celebration in July, when they’re hosting a 40th-year celebration and all former players are invited. Information is posted on the team’s website.

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