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26 October, 2013



(MARKHAM, ON) – Braving sub-zero temperatures, gusts of wind upwards of 50 km/h, and gales of rain, the Markham Irish Canadian Rugby Club defeated York Region rivals Aurora Barbarians RFC 8-3 on Saturday afternoon, capturing Ontario men’s rugby’s top prize – the McCormick Cup – in front of a crowd of 1000+ spectators at Fletcher’s Fields in Markham.

With the inclement weather wreaking havoc upon pitch conditions, neither team were able to storm out of the gate after kickoff, with the mud-riddled pitch denying players the opportunity to settle into the match. 

After each team missed a series of penalty kicks in the opening ten minutes, Markham kicker Jonny Sargeant broke the deadlock with a penalty kick at the 15-minute mark. The tide continued to go in Markham’s favour, as shortly afterwards, Aurora flanker Nolan Ott was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle. With the man advantage, Markham was able to capitalize, scoring the only try of the match through club captain Darryl Snider. The try was not converted, and the 8-0 scoreline would hold until the halftime whistle.

The Barbarians were the more inspired side as the second half began, with kicker Bryn Davies notching a penalty kick at the 50-minute mark to lessen Markham’s lead to 8-3.

However, this was a close as Aurora would come to overtaking Markham, as the Irish’s stalwart defending helped dictate the pace of play in the second frame. The match finished with the same 8-3 scoreline, earning the Irish their Ontario-leading 17th Ontario Cup (1950-1981) and McCormick Cup (1982-Present), and their first since 2008.

“Winning the McCormick Cup, for a player in Ontario, is the best feeling in the world,” said Markham Irish head coach Rodin Lozada. “Not many players get to feel that feeling, so we know how special this is. Our guys are over the moon, and they will be for a long while.”

After two consecutive seasons of falling in the semi-finals, Lozada says this McCormick Cup holds a special place for him and his Markham Irish team.

“It’s been years of hard work, with some heartbreak in between, but we finally came through,” he added. “There’s no feeling like it.”

Markham’s road to the McCormick Cup finals saw the team shut out the Marshall Provincial division’s Brampton Beavers (57-0), defeat the Marshall Premiership’s Waterloo County (27-15), and eliminate the previously-undefeated Provincial division champions Brantford Harlequins (17-12).

Aurora reached the Cup Final with wins over Marshall Provincial division sides Sarnia Saints (97-10) and London St. George’s (33-5) in the Championship’s opening two rounds, before earning a tight victory over the Premiership’s third-place finisher Stoney Creek (13-10).

Saturday’s match marked the third time these two teams have met in the McCormick Cup Final since 2006, and after this year’s victory, Markham has won all three head-to-head matchups. 

“This win has been a combination of us building from the ground up over the past four years,” says Markham Irish president Sean McConnell. “No one gave up, everyone worked hard, and I’m extremely proud of the club.”

Prior to the match, Rugby Ontario welcomed two Guests of Honour to the McCormick Cup Final – City of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Town of Aurora Mayor Geoff Dawe. The mayors greeted the two teams prior to the match, conducted a ceremonial kickoff, and took in the match from the grandstand.

Having made a gentleman’s mayoral bet prior to kickoff, Mayor Dawe will wear a Markham Irish jersey to an upcoming town council meeting.

Markham Irish McCormick Cup Final Roster

#1 – Kurt Gibbons

#2 – Brandon Black

#3 – Darryl Snider (Captain)

#4 – Connor MacDonald

#5 – Gavin Howe

#6 – Ken Van Allen

#7 – Mark Thompson

#8 – Kieran Moloney

#9 – Chris Boake

#10 – Jonny Sargeant

#11 – Robin Legault

#12 – Nico Loffreda

#13 – Joe Beare

#14 – Jesse Lofthouse

#15 – Josh Green 

#16 – Eric Gibbons

#17 – Patrick Laffan

#18 – George Azar

#19 – Dave McCartney

#20 – Connor Fitzsimmons

#21 – Adam Moody

#22 – Jordan Lofthouse 

Head Coach – Rodin Lozada

Assistant Coach – Mark Winokur

Physiotherapist – Kayla Chafe


Aurora Barbarians McCormick Cup Final Roster

#1 – Dan Resnick

#2 – Jesse Hayman

#3 – Gian Montino

#4 – Simon McEachern

#5 – Matt Chown

#6 – Nolan Ott

#7 – David Nielsen (Captain)

#8 – Oliver Atkinson

#9 – Bryn Davies

#10 – Marco Di Girolamo

#11 – Jesse Walker

#12 – Steve Shortly

#13 – Matt Prevoe

#14 – Mike Neely

#15 – Sean Sinel 

#16 – Leighton Chong

#17 – Peter Busciglio

#18 – Graham Cadney

#19 – Kyle McMeekin

#20 – Jason Atkinson-Ghulati

#21 – Ivan Barron

#22 – Thomas McLeod 

Head Coach – Ian McLeod

Assistant Coach – Khalil Ajram

Physiotherapist – Laura Libby

Recent McCormick Cup Winners:

2013 – Markham Irish

2012 – Oakville Crusaders

2011 – Balmy Beach

2010 – Aurora Barbarians

2009 – Aurora Barbarians

2008 – Irish Canadians

2007 – Aurora Barbarians

2006 – Irish Canadians

2005 – Balmy Beach

2004 – Balmy Beach

Clubs with most Ontario Cup (1950-1981) and McCormick Cup (1982-Present) Titles:

Irish Canadians / Markham Irish – 17

Balmy Beach – 13

Toronto Nomads – 8

Toronto Barbarians / Aurora Barbarians – 6

Ottawa Irish – 6

About Rugby Ontario: 

Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to promote, govern, and develop rugby at all levels in a safe, affordable and enjoyable environment within the province of Ontario.

For more information, visit

About McCormick Cup: 

The McCormick Cup is a long-standing tradition; a term synonymous with Rugby Ontario/ The Cup is the title championship for Rugby Ontario clubs’ Senior Men’s first teams. It is composed of all eight teams in the Marshall Premiership division, and the top seven teams in the Marshall Provincial division.

The Cup is named for Vic McCormick, one of the great builders of the sport in our province and a member of the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame (Class of ’01). Since replacing the dated Ontario Cup in 1982, the McCormick Cup has been hoisted nine times by Balmy Beach, six times by the Ottawa Irish, and five times by the Irish Canadians (now the present-day Markham Irish).

For more information, visit 


For more information, please contact:

Brock Smith
Communications Coordinator
Rugby Ontario
Office: 416 426-7049 

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