It’s a remarkable piece of local sporting history.
Thanks to Northern Ireland Screen and the family of the late Hugh Kane, extremely rare video footage of a rugby milestone from 75 years ago can now be viewed for the first time.
Filmed by Mr Kane, from Portstewart, the film - shot with no sound - features the 1939 Rugby Schools Cup final between Coleraine Inst and Methody College, Belfast, at the Ravenhill Road grounds.
The film not only gives you an idea of the scale of the occasion, with the ground packed with supporters from both sides. But it also give descendants of the players a chance to witness first hand their relatives in action on the big day.
This remarkable piece of footage was brought to the attention of Northern Ireland Screen in July 2000 by the late David Dillon, who was the Archive Film Consultant for Northern Ireland Screen at the time.
What is striking about this piece of amateur footage is that not only does it record Coleraine’s triumph over Methody 16-5, but that half of the film has been shot on colour film.
Colour film is something we all take for granted today, but back in 1939, colour film for amateur filmmakers, (still few and far between due to the expense of the equipment and materials) had only been available for a few years.
16mm colour film appeared in 1935, with 8mm colour film, which this film was partially shot on, only becoming available in 1936. As the colour film was very expensive, most amateur filmmakers of the time preferred black and white film.
Another exceptional aspect of this film, and one that is sure to stir local interest, is that Mr Kane took the time to film each of the Coleraine Inst players individually following the shot with an inter-title naming the player and where he came from. Imagine the thrill of seeing your father/grandfather/great grandfather as a16 year old boy, in moving colour, just before he goes out to play the game of his life.
The rights to this film are managed by Julie Ramsey, Mr Kane’s daughter. Northern Ireland Screen is extremely grateful to Mrs Ramsey and her family, for continuing to permit Northern Ireland Screen to hold a copy of this unique footage on the Digital Film Archive. This footage, and the entire Digital Film Archive, can be viewed at each of the 23 DFA sites across Northern Ireland.