The Hill of Howth overlooks the northern shores of Dublin Bay. It is situated on the Howth Peninsula and slopes down to the old village of Sutton. In Sutton in September 1899 the club was founded as Sutton Rugby Football Club. It was largely made up of members of the police force and the coast guards. The Great War was responsible for the disbandment of the club and the scattering of its members. The club was re-formed in 1924 as Suttonians Rugby Football Club.
The famous 'tin shed' clubhouse, which was located at the main Howth Road entrance to the grounds, remained in use until a new clubhouse was built in the present location on Station Road in 1970/71, through the support of Jack Mc Dowell.
With little or no direct association to the old club a group of young men banded together in the summer of 1924 to reform the club with the new name of Suttonians Rugby Football Club with a membership of about eighteen. Local politician Senator Andrew Jameson provided financial assistance and assistance in the procurement of playing grounds from Howth Castle, off Saxe Lane, Sutton. Suttonians RFC became affiliated to the Leinster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union in 1927 and has since then taken part in branch competitions at all levels.
By 1930 the membership had expanded to include over fifty players turning out in the club’s strip of the time which was a blue shirt with an emblazoned white star. This strip was abandoned in or about 1932/1933 and the present colours of royal blue, white and emerald green were adopted. These colours were those worn by Jack Mc Dowell's horse 'Caughoo' in winning the English Grand National in 1947.
Crest & Motto
The club crest and motto (which include the mottoless Dublin and part of the St. Lawrence coats of arms) were adopted by the club at a general meeting held in the Royal Hotel Howth presided over by W.H.S. Campbell, the President during the early 1950s. “Fag an Bealach” which translates from Gaelic as “Clear the Way”, was chosen as the club motto. This is also used as the war cry for the Royal Irish Fusiliers and Faugh A Ballagh.
In 1934 the club moved from Saxe Lane to its present location at Station Road, Sutton. The recently excavated sand pit there was made available and an enormous effort on the part of its members turned it into a playing field. It remains the Club’s main pitch to this day although it has been filled in. The first match played on it was against neighbouring Malahide R.F.C. on November 24, 1934.
The affairs of the club during the first fifteen years were largely dominated by a number of personalities on the administration side. There were such names as Sen. Andrew Jameson (Club President from the reincarnation to 1941), Harry Patton (Club Chairman from 1925 to 1973) and Ray Watson (who acted as Club Secretary from 1931 to 1940). On the team sheets the names of Freddie Spencer, Malcolm O’Grady, Jack McDowell, Billy Cambell and Paddy Lavery regularly appeared. Under the captaincy of Jack McDowell the 1st XV were the beaten finalists in the Minor (nowadays referred to as Junior 2) League for the 1932/33 season.
The 1940s were years of great triumphs for Suttonians. The decade opened quietly but gradually a formidable team was welded together under the guidance of Seamus Henry. His ambition for the Club was achieving the impossible dream, winning the Metropolitan Cup (competed for annually by Dublin’s Junior 1 teams). This coveted trophy was then as now monopolized by Senior Clubs 2nd XVs. For a Junior club to win it the task was (and remains) very difficult; for a minor club to take home the cup an heroic effort was required. Hopes were high coming into the 1946/47 season.
1946/47 - the Metropolitan Cup
During the 1946/47 season the team was narrowly beaten in extra time in the Minor League final by UCD 3rd XV, having overcome such names as Blackrock College, Terenure College, Old Belvedere, CYMS and Palmerstown throughout the campaign. In the Metropolitan Cup competition Suttonians, growing in confidence and experience, disposed of Monkstown, UCD and Belvedere before overcoming Clontarf in a “local derby” Cup Final.
The 'Met Cup' had come to Sutton in fulfilment of a dream conceived by Seamas Henry and realised with the efforts of players like Tom Geary, Brendan McClancy, Walter Scott and Oliver Campbell - whose son graced the rugby fields of the world in more recent times - to name but a few. In that year the 1st XV played 22 matches, won 20, drew one and lost one, accumulating 191 points while conceding 59. No mean performance
The success could only strengthen the club: they won minor league titles in 1949/1950 and again in 1951/1952. It was after the second of theses victories that the team was promot ed to the ranks of Junior Rugby.
During the next decade the club went into decline with many players going to Senior clubs and the loss of the top pitch. In 1964 the club put up the Spencer Memorial Cup (commemorating a former Club Captain who died as a result of an injury received while playing rugby). An annual competition was initiated, restricted to metropolitan clubs of Junior status or below.
In 1971 the new pavilion, situated at a new location on Station Road, was opened by Robert Ganly, President of the Leinster Branch of the IRFU. The committee hoped this would redress the standing of the club in the area by providing better facilities. Foxfield Youth RFC arrived to train and practice at Sutton about this time. They won the McAuley Cup (U15s) in 1976 and shortly afterwards merged their identity with Suttonians enabling the Club to boast a very strong Juvenile Section. In 1978 they won the Harry Gale Cup (U19s), 1979 the McAuley Cup and Culliton Cup (u18s) in 1987 all at juvenile level.
In 1981 under the captaincy of Mark Shatwell they won the Spencer for the first time, the cup was brought to Sutton again in 1988 under the Captaincy of Dave Cassidy. In 1982 a second pitch adjoining Station Road was purchased. The clubhouse was extensively damaged in a fire at the start of the 1984 season. It was redesigned and rebuilt during the following season.
In the 1993/94 season the club won the Leinster League, the Spencer Cup and be finalists in the Metropolitan Cup. The club won the Leinster League during the 95/96 season and was promoted to the then 4th Division of the All Ireland League. In 1997 the club won the 4th division of the All Ireland League with an 100% record, one of only three teams to have ever achieved this in any division.
For the first time the club was involved in Division 3 playoffs after a creditable fourth-place finish during the 04/05 season, losing out to runaway Division 3 winners Greystones. In the 2005/06 season Suttonians achieved the historic feat of gaining promotion to All Ireland League Division 2, progressing to the semi-final of the Leddin Finance Leinster Senior Cup and competed in the inaugural All Ireland Cup as one of the five sides representing Leinster. The club finished thirteenth in their first season of AIL division 2 having risen to the lofty heights of joint third at the Christmas break.
The new decade began with Suttonians finishing in ninth position of AIL Division 3. The team won all games bar the final match against newly promoted Midleton. 2010/'11 was also notable for the emergence of a clutch of new young homegrown players.