The death has occurred of Eddie Coleman, past Captain and President of Terenure College RFC.Eddie was a former President of the Irish Rugby Football Union and of the Leinster Branch of the

Eddie captained the first Terenure College RFC team, to win the Leinster Senior Cup in 1966, a mere seven seasons after the Club were granted Senior status in Leinster Rugby. Appointed by his fellow players at the age of 22, Eddie was an inspirational Captain and led the team to a famous victory over St Mary’s in Terenure’s first appearance in a Senior Cup Final.
 It is impossible at the remove of almost 60 years to over-emphasise how much Eddie was revered in those early days of Terenure’s rugby history, and he was considered a hero to a generation of Terenure
 schoolboys and supporters for his try-scoring brilliance.

Educated in Terenure College, Eddie was a schoolboy star in Rugby and Athletics and he won the All-Ireland Schools sprint title for 100 yards at Junior, Intermediate and Senior level with a record time of 10.00 secs in winning the All-Ireland Senior School title (under 18) in 1962. He captained the School SCT in 1962. Eddie was a big, fast winger, with enormous strength, and he played like a prototype Jonah Lomu, scattering opponents as he scored try after try. Although he played most of his schoolboy rugby in the centre, it was as a winger that Eddie was at his best and his size and pace made him an impossible opponent. In the 1966 team, with Eddie Thornton on the opposite wing, Terenure had extraordinary try-scoring prowess in the wide corridors and played inspirational rugby throughout the season to bring home the first Leinster Senior trophy to the club.

Eddie was first selected to play for Leinster in September 1965 and was selected regularly throughout the next decade. Contemporary newspaper reports and the Club records recount that he scored more than 100 tries over three seasons and he was an inspirational figure throughout his playing career. This was an era in which Leinster and Ireland had two Irish and British Lions wingers in Tony O’Reilly and Niall Brophy available to them and with the additional presence of Ulster’s Cecil Pedlow, competition on the international team for wing selection was very tough.
In February 1970, when Ireland played England in Twickenham, Ulster wing Will Browne was injured in pre-match training and many Irish supporters expected Eddie to be called-up to replace him. However, the Irish selectors recalled Tony O’Reilly, after a seven-year absence, to the astonishment of the Irish rugby public. Eddie was inducted into the Guinness Hall of Fame in 2013 in company with some of the greats of the game like Phil Orr, Ollie Campbell, Kevin Flynn and Niall Brophy. His citation noted that “he was only the second Terenure College RFC man to become president of the IRFU, a title he held in 2000-01. He had, as a player, captained the club to the Leinster Senior Cup. His induction into the Hall of Fame was a show of appreciation for his contribution to the game at all levels.”

Eddie was the eldest of four brothers who played for the Club in the 60’s and 70’s and on one occasion against the Bath Club in their famous Rec Ground in the west of England, all four brothers, Eddie, David (RIP), Barry and Kevin represented the Club in the same game. His son David also represented Terenure and Leinster as a winger and played on the Club team which won the Leinster League and Cup double in 1996. Following his retirement due to injury, Eddie coached the Club 1st team before being appointed to Coach the Leinster Senior team in the mid-1970’s. Following the election of Terenure’s Michael Hall – Carroll as President of the IRFU in 1974, Eddie was nominated as the Leinster Branch Representative for the Club and having served in that role for more than a decade he was elected President of Leinster for the Season 1989-90.

Eddie was President of the Club in season 1993-94 and he was elected to the IRFU Committee and was elected President of the IRFU for Season 2000-2001. During his service with the IRFU, he was appointed to the “Big Five”, as the Irish Selectors were known, and Eddie was ultimately appointed as Chairman of the Irish Selectors. During his time in that role, the Irish Selectors appointed Warren Gatland and Eddie O’Sullivan as Irish Head Coaches, decisions which marked the most important response of Irish Rugby to the professional era. Eddie worked as a bank official with Bank of Ireland throughout his professional career and was famously involved in chasing and apprehending an armed bank robber on his Dublin Branch, during which event he was shot. The bullet lodged near his spine and could not be removed and this was to cause Eddie serious mobility and health issues later in life.

Eddie was a life-long supporter of Terenure rugby and a regular presence on the touchline and in the Clubhouse for more than five decades. He was an invaluable adviser to generations of Terenure captains and coaches and a guiding light in the fortunes of the Club. Both on account of his physical presence and strong personality, Eddie was a leader in Club, Province and National rugby throughout his rugby career and he will be sadly missed. He was pre-deceased, in May 2023, by his brother David, also a former Captain of the Club.
Eddie is survived by his wife Jean and his daughter Sarah and sons David and Nick, by his sister 
Catherine and his brothers Barry and Kevin and a wide family circle of nieces and nephews and

We shall not see his like again. Ar dheis de a h-anam.

Funeral Details


Irish Rugby | Eddie Coleman