Hellhound Highlights: Union Cup 2023

Last year, the Hellhounds made our début at the IGR Union Cup which took place in Birmingham, England. It was the first time that our club took part in these European championships, and the hounds made it to the final of our division, making a great impression among the rest of the participating clubs.

To get a sense of the fun from Union Cup both on and off the pitch, we asked a couple of our members their thoughts on the tour to England!


Jess Kwong

Jess Kwong: 

Diehard Hellhounds Fan (and Tagger!)

What is your name and what how long have you been with the Cork Hellhounds? 

  • My name is Jess and I joined Cork Hellhounds over a year and a half ago.

What was your first impression of Union Cup?

  • I was really impressed with how well organised the whole event was; from outstanding facilities for players to gin and beer tents for supporters, it was no surprise that everyone I spoke to felt accommodated for and had a great time.

What role did you play while in Birmingham?

  • I went as a supporter to the Cork Hellhounds and enjoyed hyping up the team and spreading positivity.

What was your happiest moment during the Union cup?

  • My happiest moments probably include watching the games and seeing how far the team has come.

If you had a magic wand, what would you have changed during that weekend?

  • If I had a magic wand… I would have gone back time to when I was booking my flights and book my return flight for AFTER the closing ceremony. Spoiler: I ended up booking a second flight home after a healthy dose of peer pressure mixed with some strong cocktails!

Conor O’Brien

Conor O’Brien: 

Position: Fly Half

    How long have you played rugby?

    • Started back playing in 2021 a year after the Hellhounds was established. I learned about the team from my brother who created it and I thought I’d give it a go. I did play when I was a child for Ballincollig RFC and played almost every position. I was a prop, second row, inside centre, and full back. Don’t know how I kept playing for as long as I did. I didn’t have a notion what was happening half of the time!

    Is this your first time playing in Union Cup?

    • Yes, very excited to have been part of it. Never part of something this big and what an occasion!

    What was your biggest highlight during the cup?

    • Getting to the finals! We had no idea what level we were at. The team was very new to the sport with the exception of a few seasoned rugby players. As we kept winning our games, and progressing further and further and eventually in the finals against a great, and well deserved winners, Wessex.

    What was your biggest disappointment during the cup?

    • We couldn’t do the Kangaroo court cause we got to the final!

    If you went back in time, what would you have done differently?

    • I wouldn’t have drunk so much, but who I am kidding?! I’d probably drink as much!

    Pa Reynolds

    Patrick Reynolds: 

    Position: Tighthead Prop 

    How long have you played rugby?

    • About as long as I’ve been dancing the Cha Cha Cha or just over 2 years!

    Is this your first time playing in Union Cup?

    • Yep and I’m so excited. It is an ambition of mine for years and one I thought would never happen, goes to show thoughts become things. Go Hellhounds!

    What was your biggest highlight during the cup?

    • Being part of this team is something that will stay with me forever and is my biggest highlight. Learning from the guys and doing my bit. For me being a Hellhound is so special, knowing we are custodians and building something unique for our community in Cork. Oh and being part of our very own Destiny’s Child, Bootylicious baby!! 

    What was your biggest disappointment during the cup?

    • Looking back now it’s hard to say I was disappointed but I was obviously disappointed we lost our final but that soon lifted after the game. I knew that everyone gave it there all that Sunday, we left it all on the pitch. We came up short that day but we will learn as a team and come back stronger. 

    If you went back in time, what would you have done differently?

    • I’ll never “pick and go” without my pod again and I’d pick a different room mate…. Only joking Kiely, you’re the best!

    Elliot Cross

    Elliot Cross: 

    Position: Loose head prop 

    How long have you played rugby?

    • It’s my first time playing a sport, I have been with the team nearly three years now. 

    Is this your first time playing in Union Cup and what was your biggest highlight during the cup?

    • This was my first time playing in Union Cup and for me, the biggest highlight was meeting different teams from across Europe and just Playing rugby regardless of gender or sexual orientation – it’s all equal on the pitch.  

    What was your biggest disappointment during the cup?

    • Besides not winning?? As corny as it sounds, it was the tournament coming to an end. I don’t think I have been surrounded with so many like minded people in one space ever. It truly had left me with nothing but fond memories.

    If you went back in time, what would you have done differently?

    • For me I would have possibly like to trained/played with one other team and gained some more knowledge on the game – every day is a school day.

    If you’re interested in joining the Cork Hellhounds, take a look at our Fixtures & Training page before contacting us.