Out of Left Field: DU Rifle Club

With a social scene to brag about, Club Captain Joseph McDonnell speaks to the club’s accessibility for all students

It’s no secret that shooting is not a very common sport in Ireland, yet Trinity is lucky to have its very own Rifle Club, known as DURC.The club fosters an environment of openness and inclusivity that gives students the opportunity to try out rifle shooting and gain some new skills. With excellent instruction given to newcomers right off the bat, there are also opportunities to move up the ranks and compete both nationally and internationally. After speaking with some of the committee members of DURC, it is clear that they have a passion for the sport and are dedicated to keeping the club alive.

Club Captain Joseph McDonnell makes an interesting pitch to Freshers and others who are looking to give the sport a shot: “I normally tell people that what we probably aren’t what they assume we are! The club is a very cheap and easy way to try out an Olympic sport which they most likely haven’t done before.” What sets DURC apart from the other clubs here at Trinity is that it doesn’t require an inherent athletic ability but is more skill-based, and as McDonnell says, “requires focus, accuracy, and precision” — skills which we can all, no doubt, work on.

Another compelling feature about DURC is that it is a club that is easily accessible. Members of DURC who use a wheelchair have been able to compete in national competitions. Not only this, but McDonnell explains the charity work that the club has done in the past: “In 2019, a few of us helped the National Rehabilitation Hospital run their annual sports championship as they had built a range in their new sports facility. People with many kinds of disabilities took part. Everyone is different, and it’s a sport that can be tailored and adjusted to the individual to a very high degree.” I think the degree to which this club is open to all types of students is an extremely high one and gives us an excuse to try it.

“’…we genuinely enjoy making each other laugh and looking out for each other, even if it’s over Among Us with friends from Badminton Club or virtual birthday celebrations.’”

In dealing with the current pandemic and Level 5 restrictions, the club has been hit hard, but it is not stopping their boast-worthy social scene from thriving. Shubhangi Karmakar, Public Relations Office of DURC, says, “we genuinely enjoy making each other laugh and looking out for each other, even if it’s over Among Us with friends from Badminton Club or virtual birthday celebrations”. As a member of the club for six years, Karmakar is a fairly reputable source on the social aspect that DURC seems to have. She goes on to say that her fellow members “are genuinely the most wholesome, insightful and kind people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in college — the kind of people you genuinely miss if you haven’t called in a week!” DURC is making the most of the situation and trying to remain as active as possible and keep the community alive, but they have suffered without training being able to take place.

“We were in the process of having a new range constructed when the pandemic hit which has thrown a wrench into plans for both last year and this year,” remarks Secretary Evan Rork. This range that is currently well under construction will offer Trinity students access to a state-of-the-art sports facility directly on campus. Once it is able to be used, it is undeniable how advantageous and enjoyable of an experience it will make training for DURC. The dedication of club members is admirable and will serve the club well in the future. As McDonnell says: “Students train to become Range Officers and without them giving up time to supervise and instruct for an entire evening, we wouldn’t be able to open the range. They ensure that everything done is carried out safely, while creating a fun and welcoming atmosphere for all members.”

The club has had success at past competitions and members seem to perform particularly well at the national level. McDonnell speaks to the achievements of the club: “Club members currently hold the men’s and women’s national 10 metres air titles, as well as the 50 metre smallbore title. However, one of the most surprising achievements since I’ve been in the club was when one of our Freshers came in third in the men’s National Air Rifle event. He was competing against athletes who have been doing this for over a decade, including members of the Defence Force’s shooting team.” While remaining a club at Trinity that is accommodating and welcoming to beginners, there are opportunities for those that are competitive to shine and excel.

Ultimately, this club has a social scene and a history to boast about, as well as a bright future ahead with the opening of the new range. Undoubtedly, DURC will continue to find a way to thrive, and once given the all-clear to train will come out guns blazing — safely of course.

Shannon McGreevy

Shannon McGreevy is the Sports Editor of Trinity News, and a Senior Fresh student of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.