Hugo MacNeill (rugby union)

Hugh Patrick MacNeill (born 16 September 1958), commonly known as Hugo MacNeill, is a former rugby union player who played for Ireland, Leinster, the French Barbarians and the British and Irish Lions during the 1980s. During the late 1970s he also played association football for University College Dublin and Dublin University. After retiring from sport, MacNeill went on to serve as a director for Goldman Sachs. He has also worked as a rugby pundit for TV3 and BBC Radio 5 Live.

Hugo MacNeill
Hugo MacNeill.jpg
Full nameHugh Patrick MacNeill
Date of birth (1958-09-16) 16 September 1958 (age 63)
Place of birthDublin, Ireland
SchoolBlackrock College
UniversityTrinity College Dublin
Oxford University
St Edmund Hall
SpouseJennifer Carroll MacNeill
Rugby union career
Position(s) Full back
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)

Blackrock College
Dublin University
Oxford University
London Irish[1]
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
198x–198x Leinster[2][3] ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
British and Irish Lions
French Barbarians


Blackrock CollegeEdit

MacNeill completed his secondary level education at Blackrock College.[4][5] On 20 March 1977 he was a member of the Blackrock College team that won the Leinster Schools Rugby Senior Cup, defeating St Mary's College 24–12 after extra time at Lansdowne Road. The St Mary's team featured MacNeill's future Ireland teammate Paul Dean. MacNeill scored a conversion and two penalties in extra time to help seal victory for Blackrock.[6]

Trinity College DublinEdit

MacNeill subsequently attended Trinity College Dublin where he earned a degree in economics and a diploma in Anglo-Irish literature. He was elected a Scholar of the College in 1979. His lecturers included Brendan Kennelly and David Norris. While at Trinity he played for both the rugby union and association football teams. On 26 November 1980 he captained Dublin University to a 9–3 win over University College Dublin in The Colours Match. He also went on a rugby union tour to Japan and represented the team in games against both Oxford University and Cambridge University.[7][8][9] He played association football for both University College Dublin and Dublin University A.F.C.. In 1979 he was a member of the Dublin University team, coached by Liam Tuohy, that won the Collingwood Cup. MacNeill scored twice in the final as Dublin University defeated Maynooth University 2–0.[10][11][12][13]

Oxford UniversityEdit

MacNeill also studied economics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. Between 1982 and 1984 he played in three Varsity matches for Oxford University against Cambridge University but lost all three.[14] He captained the Oxford team in 1983.[15]

International careerEdit


Between 1981 and 1988, MacNeill made 37 appearances for Ireland. He made his debut for Ireland on 7 February 1981 against France at Lansdowne Road, scoring the first of ten international tries. In the same championship he scored a second try against Wales and a drop goal against England. He scored further tries against England in 1982 and Scotland in 1988. He also scored a penalty against Wales in 1983. MacNeill was a member of the Ireland teams that won the Five Nations Championship and Triple Crown in 1982 and 1985 and shared the championship with France in 1983. He was also a member of the Ireland squad at the 1987 Rugby World Cup, where he scored four tries in Ireland's four games, one against Canada, two against Tonga and one in the quarter final defeat to Australia. MacNeill made his final appearance for Ireland against England on 23 April 1988.[14][16][17] Together with Tony Ward, Moss Keane, Donal Spring and Ciaran Fitzgerald, MacNeill declined to take part in the 1981 Ireland rugby union tour of South Africa during the apartheid era. In the aftermath of the 1996 Docklands bombing, together with Trevor Ringland, MacNeill helped organise a friendly between Ireland and the Barbarians at Lansdowne Road to show that the people of Ireland wanted peace.[9][18][19][20]

British and Irish LionsEdit

MacNeill made three test appearances for the British and Irish Lions during their 1983 tour of New Zealand. MacNeill scored a penalty against Auckland in the first of his nine appearances on the tour. He started the first two matches against the All Blacks before coming off the bench to replace Ollie Campbell in the final test.[17][21]


On 22 October 1989 MacNeill played for the French Barbarians against Fiji. Fiji won the game 32–16.[22]

Later yearsEdit

Between 1982 and 2000 MacNeill worked in London, initially for the Boston Consulting Group and later for Goldman Sachs. In 2000 he returned to Dublin where he continued to work for Goldman Sachs as a director of their investment branch in Ireland. He has also served as chairman of several charities including GOAL, The Ireland Funds and the British Irish Association.[8][7][9][23]

In 2010 MacNeill married Dr. Jennifer Carroll.[24] Carroll is a UCD graduate, barrister and author who has served as a legal adviser to both Fine Gael and the Government of Ireland. Among those she has advised are Enda Kenny, Alan Shatter and Frances Fitzgerald.[25][26][27] She was elected as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dún Laoghaire constituency at the 2020 general election.[28]

In 2014 MacNeill was appointed chairman of a working group established to help bring the 2023 Rugby World Cup to Ireland.[29][30] He also worked as a pundit for TV3 during their 2015 Rugby World Cup coverage.[31][32] He has also worked as a pundit for BBC Radio 5 Live during Six Nations Championships.[33]

In February 2020 MacNeill retired from Goldman Sachs to stand for Seanad Éireann in the Dublin University (Trinity College Dublin) constituency.[34]


Rugby unionEdit

Dublin University
Blackrock College

  • ^1 Ireland and France shared the championship in 1983.

Association footballEdit

Dublin University


  1. ^ "London Irish – Club History". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  2. ^ "My Best Ireland XV Never To Beat All Blacks". Irish Independent. 12 November 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Hugo MacNeill kicks". 27 November 1982. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Events Reports – Past v Present Debate". 11 February 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Schools Profile: Blackrock College". Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Extra time needed before Blackrock secure Senior Cup victory". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 31 March 1977. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Our Alumni Interviews – Hugo MacNeill". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Hugo MacNeill profile @ Goldman Sachs" (PDF). Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  9. ^ a b c "Hugo MacNeill profile @ TCD". Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  10. ^ "UCD AFC – History". 1 January 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Collingwood Cup Winners 1914–2013". collingwood2014. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Tuohy's wit and wisdom a legend with Trinity boys". Irish Independent. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Irish Lions who played League of Ireland". 2 December 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Friends of the SEH Rugby Club" (PDF). University of Oxford. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  15. ^ "OURFC – Former Men's Captains". 2 December 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Hugo MacNeill profile @ Sporting Heroes". Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Hugo MacNeill profile @ ESPN". ESPN. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Hugo McNeill on his 1981 South Africa tour boycott". 8 December 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Rugby family has shameful past in propping up apartheid regime". The Irish Times. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Trevor Ringland: 'When I scored against England, both wings of the Maze cheered'". The Belfast Telegraph. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Hugo MacNeill – British and Irish Lions Bio". Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  22. ^ "Barbarian Rugby Club v Fidji". Archived from the original on 26 December 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  23. ^ "Irish arm of Goldman Sachs sees profits double". The Irish Times. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Miriam Lord's Week". The Irish Times. 12 June 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  25. ^ "Personal ties key to judicial appointments, book claims". The Irish Times. 27 May 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  26. ^ "Jennifer Carroll MacNeill". Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  27. ^ "New book to examine politics of judicial selection in Ireland". 27 May 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  28. ^ "Election 2020 - Dún Laoghaire". RTÉ News. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  29. ^ "Hugo MacNeill to head group tasked with Ireland's World Cup 2023 bid". The Irish Independent. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  30. ^ "Hugo MacNeill to head Irish Rugby World Cup bid". 20 February 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  31. ^ "TV3 reveal a serious line-up of analysts for their Rugby World Cup coverage". Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  32. ^ "TV watch: Promising start for TV3 on Rugby World Cup debut". The Irish Independent. 19 September 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  33. ^ "Six Nations: Matt Dawson steps up broadcasting duties for Radio 5 Live". BBC. 23 January 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  34. ^ "Hugo MacNeill steps back from Goldman Sachs role". 17 February 2020.