The Royal Belfast Academical Institution


1st XI winning the McCullough Cup 2023

1st XI winning the McCullough Cup

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RBAI Hockey

Hockey at RBAI is associated with a long-standing tradition of success throughout Ulster and Ireland. Ever since the first game was played in the school in 1907, the Hockey Club has gone on to become one of the most successful in the country. The 1st XI has won the Burney Cup (Ulster School’s Cup) 16 times and the McCullough Cup 16 times; a record within Ulster Hockey. Since the All-Ireland Schoolboys Championship began in 1982, RBAI have won the tournament 7 times and appeared in 12 finals, again a school's record. The school has also had a history of success at U13, U14, U15 and 2nd XI levels, having won the respective cup competitions on numerous occasions.

RBAI has been well represented in Ulster and Ireland underage teams with a total of nineteen former pupils having gone on to represent Ireland and/or Great Britain at Senior International level. In 1972 Terry Gregg became the first former pupil to play Hockey at the Olympic Games when he represented Great Britain in Munich. This feat has since been repeated by four more players when Mark Gleghorne (Great Britain), Paul Gleghorne (Ireland), Michael Watt (Ireland) and John Jackson (Ireland) all played in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The school currently has nine pupils playing for Ulster underage teams, with four of them also representing Ireland at U16 and U18 level.

The RBAI Hockey Club plays matches and holds practices on the state-of-the-art water-based hockey pitch at Shaw’s Bridge. The pitch is used by RBAI teams on a daily basis and the school offers a strong consistent fixture list on Saturday mornings. The Hockey Club strives to expose pupils to the highest level of coaching expertise alongside an ethos of fun and enjoyment. Each year group receives coaching from fully qualified teachers within the school, high calibre external coaches and past pupils of the school who return to offer their knowledge to the next generation.

The 2022/23 season proved to be a successful one for the Hockey Club with the U13s reaching the semi-final of the Bannister Bowl, the U14s finishing runners-up in the Ferris Cup, the U15s winning the Richardson Cup, and the 2nd XI reaching the semi-final of the Prior Shield. The 1st XI also won both the Herbie Sharman Shield at the All-Ireland School’s Tournament and the McCullough Cup for the first time in 17 years. Unfortunately, they couldn’t repeat the same feat in the Burney Cup going out in the semi-final. On top of that we had a number of boys selected for Ulster for the interprovincial series with Michael Hollway, Jacob McIlhatton, John Cunningham, Fred Harrison, Matthew McAreavey and Robbie McAreavey all playing for Ulster U16s, George Palmer for the U18s, and Allen Lyons and Callum Ullah for the U21s. Michael, Jacob, John and Matthew were all then selected for the Ireland U16 squad to play in tournaments at Easter and during the summer.

U15 team (Richardson Cup)

U15 team winning the Richardson Cup


U16s Ireland.jpg

(L to R) Matthew McAreavey, Jacob McIlhatton, John Cunningham and Michael Hollway who were all selected for the Ireland Under 16 team.


Hockey Club Lead Coach: Mr M. Gleghorne

Master-in-Charge of Admin: Mr. J. Macafee

1st XI coaches: Mr. M. Gleghorne and Mr G. Francey

2nd XI coach: Mr. J. Macafee

Under 15 XI coach: Mr. F. Marney

Under 14 XI coach: Mr. C. Harkness

Under 13 XI coach: Mr. G. Russell

Under 12 XI coach (Year 8): Mrs. M. Finlay

Mr B. Waring assists in the coaching of all 3 top teams.

RBAI pupils who have progressed to play for Senior International hockey:

  1. MacDonald (Year of debut: 1928)
  2. Rose (1957)
  3. Bowden (1969)
  4. Gregg (1970: 103 caps - Munich Olympics 1972 with Great Britain)
  5. Anderson (1975)
  6. Shields (1976)
  7. Cooke (1984: 91 caps)
  8. Atkins (1988)
  9. Cooke (1990)
  10. Hollway (1990: 80 caps)
  11. Irwin (1996: 130 caps)
  12. Brown (1998: 151 caps - captained the Irish team on 92 occasions.)
  13. Gleghorne (2004: 244 caps – Rio Olympics 2016 with Great Britain)
  14. Robb (2005)
  15. Redpath (2005)
  16. Jackson (2006: 264 caps – Rio Olympics 2016 with Ireland)
  17. Watt (2006: 201 caps – Rio Olympics 2016 with Ireland)
  18. Gleghorne (2009: 238 caps – Rio Olympics 2016 with Ireland)
  19. J. Lorimer (2013: 11 caps)



21 2024
Year 10 Cara-Friend Anti-bullying Workshops
24 2024
Non-uniform Day
27 2024
Normal School Day
29 2024
Scouts DoE Year 11 Silver Expedition
College Square East, Belfast, Co. Antrim, BT1 6DL
Tel: 028 90 240461
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