Austin Elite Rugby has been loaned Ronan McCusker from the New England Free Jacks for the remainder of the 2019 season. The 23-year-old lock is 6’7″, 255 lbs. and is from Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Ronan played for the Free Jacks during their exhibition season during the Cara Cup.
Ronan is U.S. eligible, as his mother is from Philadelphia and father is from Ireland. He was a former 1st XV club captain of Rainey Old Boys RFC. He attended high school at St Pius X College Magherafelt and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Building Surveying from the University of Ulster in Belfast.
He represented Ulster in age grade rugby beginning with the Under-17s and continuing through the Under-20s at the Inter-Provincial Championship each year.
Ronan also played Gaelic Football for O’Donovan Rossa Magherafelt before he began playing rugby for Rainey Old Boys RFC from 2011-2018. He followed in the footsteps of his father, who also played for both teams and was the team captain and MVP for Rainey.
Ronan was 16 when he began with Rainey and played senior 1st XV when he turned 18. He played 5 years of All Ireland League Rugby and was last season’s vice-captain at 21 years old. He then joined Mystic River and the Free Jacks in October 2018.
Ronan comes from an athletic family with his mother playing field hockey and swimming. His three brothers also played rugby for the Rainey 1st XV as starters. Younger brother john is a former Irish Under-19 lock with potential ambitions to come play for the Free Jacks after college.
Look for Ronan to have an outstanding Cara Cup as he may play against former teammates and opponents, while in Ulster. The Free Jacks will play the Connacht Eagles, Ulster Ravens, Munster A, and Leinster A in the Cara Cup, which begins March 16. The team will then have exhibition matches against the Toronto Arrows, Lansdowne FC, and Old Glory DC.