Stuart McCloskey, born on August 6, 1992, is a talented professional rugby union player from Northern Ireland. He is renowned for his skills as a centre, representing both Ulster in the United Rugby Championship and the Ireland national team.
Growing up in Bangor, County Down, McCloskey's father, Wilson McCloskey, played fullback for Ards RFC and owned a landscaping business. Stuart attended Bangor Grammar School, where he played rugby.
Although he wasn't initially selected for age-grade representative sides, his talent shone through when he joined Dungannon RFC in the All-Ireland League after completing school. Kieran Campbell, the coach at Dungannon, recognized McCloskey's potential and recommended him to Allen Clarke, Ulster's academy manager. This led to McCloskey joining Ulster's sub-academy while pursuing a degree in structural engineering with architecture at Queens University Belfast.
McCloskey made his mark in the professional rugby scene during the 2013-14 season, making four appearances for the senior team. His impressive performances earned him the Academy Player of the Year award at the 2014 Ulster Rugby Awards. He continued to progress, representing Emerging Ireland in the 2014 IRB Nations Cup and winning the Tbilisi Cup with the team in 2015.
In the 2015-16 season, McCloskey made a significant impact, featuring in 23 appearances for Ulster, scoring four tries, and making 186 tackles. His outstanding form earned him his first senior cap for Ireland in the 2016 Six Nations Championship against England. He was also recognized as Ulster's Player of the Year.
Over the years, McCloskey has consistently performed at a high level for both Ulster and Ireland. His powerful ball-carrying ability and physical presence have made him a formidable force in midfield. He has received numerous accolades, including being named on the Pro14 Dream Team and winning awards such as Ulster's Young Player of the Year and Supporters Club Player of the Year.
McCloskey's dedication to the sport is evident in his contract extensions with Ulster, as well as his inclusion in Ireland's squads for various tournaments. He continues to contribute to both his club and country, showcasing his skills and making significant contributions on the field.
As a student of Bangor Grammar School, McCloskey's journey to the senior ranks of Ulster Rugby is a testament to his hard work and determination. With his physical prowess and remarkable abilities as a centre, he has firmly established himself as a key player in Irish rugby.
Ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2023, McCloskey has been named in the squad for Ireland.
|2014 - present
|2016 - present
|2022 - present