RUNY Confirms Recent Signings



NEW YORK (January 26, 2018)- New York City’s first professional rugby franchise is excited to confirm the signings of three new athletes. Prop Kirk Hamilton, and Wings Derek Lipscomb and Mark O’Keeffe have put pen to paper ahead of the 2019 Major League Rugby season.

Kirk Hamilton, known as “New Jersey’s finest”, is a tighthead prop that appeared for RUNY during the 2018 exhibition season. Hamilton’s rugby career began during his time at his alma mater, Rutgers University. Coming from a football background, Hamilton quickly adjusted to his new sport. Upon graduation, Hamilton joined the New York Athletic Club, and was a pivotal part of their 2015 National Championship run. His strong form at NYAC earned him the opportunity to tour with the USA Islanders, a team consisting of the top US Polynesian rugby talent.


Derek Lipscomb has been around the New York rugby scene for quite some time now, and he looks to make the jump to professional rugby in 2019. After attending local Ivy League powerhouse Columbia, he joined Old Blue and has played for both their 7 and XV aside teams that have been regulars in national championship playoffs. Whilst playing for Old Blue, Lipscomb was selected to join the Northeast Academy 7’s squad, based in New York City. Because of his trophy winning success with the academy in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Lipscomb earned looks with the US National team. He has attended high performance sevens camps at the US Olympic Training Center and found great success touring South America with the USA Falcons.

Mark O’Keeffe comes to RUNY from Lansdowne FC, one of Ireland’s most successful club sides, who compete in Division 1A of AIL, home of the top 50 clubs in the nation. The 6’1 Wing will be joining RUNY after winning the league with Lansdowne in 2018. Before Lansdowne, Mark had seasons with Leinster’s U19 side and Connacht’s U20 team, both of whom compete in the prestigious Pro14. He was also part of the Saint Michael’s First XV that won the prestigious Leinster Senior Cup in 2012. From high school through to Lansdowne, O’Keeffe has proven himself one of Ireland’s most exciting young players to watch for the future having been a lethal try scorer, always in the conversation for leading the team and league tally.

We welcome all the athletes to New York as we prepare for our 2019 Major League Rugby season, set to kick off in 3 days against the San Diego Legion. RUNY fans are able to watch the game LIVE on SNY, ESPN+, and Facebook Live for international viewing.

About Rugby United New York

Rugby United New York is a professional rugby team who joined Major League Rugby as an associate member in 2018, playing a brief, but successful exhibition season. Their first full MLR schedule will take place in 2019. When they officially join the league, RUNY’s vision is to bring the excitement of professional rugby to the New York sports landscape. The use of rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, and discipline will help to educate, inspire and connect with the New York Community. Rugby United New York, the city’s first professional rugby franchise, strives to unite the entire rugby community and enrich it at every level throughout the region. The team was founded by James Kennedy of the Murphy Kennedy Group, who is an active supporter of grassroots rugby.

About MLR

MLR is a professional rugby league that launched in April of 2018. It’s an initiative of the American rugby community, in partnership with private investors, who believe that American rugby can thrive at the highest levels: as a commercial enterprise; as an influential player on the international scene; and as a participation sport at the youth and senior level. MLR is the pinnacle of the American rugby, and provides a rallying point for local communities, a focal point for American rugby fans, and an aspirational destination for young athletes. For more information, visit

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