Shamrock Thoughts: DC MLR Looks Promising


Many who have been following my columns know that I am originally from our Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C. I love the my hometown and I want it to succeed in the sports scene. Seeing the Capitals win the Stanley Cup will be a moment I will never forget, but there was some other big news that maybe some of you might not know about. This past May there was an announcement that an ownership is trying to bring a Major League Rugby squad to play in D.C. As a fan of rugby, this is incredibly exciting. But what is even more exciting is that this past week, an official announcement said that the franchise would start playing in 2020. So if you’re a rugby fan from D.C. you have to start marking your calendars now.

Just recently there was a webinar that was hosted by Paul Sheehy, a former USA Eagle who owns a local car dealership in the D.C. area, and Chris Dunlavey, who owns a local program management firm, as they are the main ownership partners for bringing a team to D.C. There was detailed information as to what they wanted and honestly it looked very promising. So much so that I want to be there for the beginning.

First thing that looked promising was how dedicated Sheehy and Dunlavey are about bringing a team to D.C. Both play rugby and seem to be very successful businessmen so they totally understand what it means to be a rugby fan and how a successful business model should work.

Another thing that looked promising was how they intend to build a rugby facility that has offices, a practice field, and a stadium to play their home matches at and the hope is that it will be built somewhere inside the Beltway and Metro accessible. What is great about that is that Chris Dunlavey is a co-founder of a local program management firm which deals with large scale institutional facility development, especially in sports venues. Having that type of person as one of your owners is really beneficial as you know that rugby facility will be one of the best venues in the entire league.

What else is exciting is they both have rugby minds. Dunlavey plays for a local club, the Washington Irish Rugby Football Club, and Sheehy having played for the USA Eagles at the 1991 Rugby World Cup. My guess is that Sheehy will have more hands on the rugby operations part of the business (with Dunlavey obvious more hands on with building the facility, though I’m sure Dunlavey will have some say in the rugby operations part too). Sheehy is also very involved with the local community with his support of some youth clubs and other adult clubs which suggests he has a keen rugby mind.

Another good thing is that they both run businesses with Sheehy owning a local car dealership and with Dunlavey and his program management firm. So they clearly know how to run a decent business model and that’s good news for rugby fans in the D.C. area.

And lastly, another great thing about this is that these are guys who know the DMV area really well and understand the rugby scene in D.C. really well. That should get fans even more excited once 2020 comes around.


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