The New England Free Jacks re-signed Ronan McCusker for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 25-year-old lock (26 in January) is 6’6″ and 255 lbs.
During the 2020 MLR season, Ronan played in one match as a reserve. He played in the team’s exhibition season in 2019 before being was loaned to Austin Elite Rugby Club where he made three appearances, two as a starter, and played 154 minutes. He then returned to the Free Jacks for their final match against Lansdowne FC from Dublin.
Ronan was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and has dual citizenship. He is U.S. eligible, as his mother is from Philadelphia while his father is from Ireland. Ronan 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.
Ronan played Gaelic Football for O’Donovan Rossa Magherafelt before he began playing rugby when he was 16 for Rainey Old Boys RFC. He followed in the footsteps of his father, who also played for both teams and was the team captain and MVP for Rainey.
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. He made his Rainey 1st XV debut at 18 years old, served as Vice-Captain as a 21-year old during squad’s 2018 campaign, and was named Club Captain for the 2020 All-Ireland Division 2 season.
In 2018 he joined Mystic River and also the Free Jacks where he played in the Free Jacks first ever match against the Ontario Arrows 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.
New England Free Jacks Comments
“It’s an unbelievable feeling coming back to Boston for his third year,” said McCusker. “Being with the team since the beginning and seeing how far we have come gives me great pride. The team off the pitch has worked extremely hard to create something special here in New England and the management staff has worked around the clock to bring world-class players to Boston. I can’t wait to do my bit for the team and get the job done in 2021.”
“Ronan has had quite the journey to date,” commented Performance Manager, Tom Kindley. “The experience of our exhibition season, paired with that of his loan to Austin in 2019 and our inaugural season this year has proven invaluable for the young lock. His selection to the Eagles wider interest group is indicative of the potential he has to progress right through to the International level when you combine his massive frame with his desire to develop.”
Recently added to the USA Eagles wider interest group, expect McCusker to expand his game and make a powerful impression on the MLR and National selectors in his third season Free Jacks.
Join Ronan and the Free Jacks for a virtual meet and greet, “News and Brews,” on October 15. Grab a Free Jacks IPA and join the virtual gathering and get to know the newest Free Jacks and the returning players. RSVP using the link here: https://www.freejacks.com/news-and-brews/.