Prior to studying at UCD and playing for Collidge (and subsequently, Lansdowne FC), Michael was educated at St. Mary’s School, Dundalk. He represented his school in Leinster cup campaigns and also athletics. Having joined UCD RFC, his rugby talent was quickly recognised and he was promoted to the 1st XV. In November, 1955, The Irish Times reported that UCD outclassed London Irish (in London) with “the UCD backs all playing brilliantly, especially M. Fitzsimons, who had the distinction of scoring three tries”.
A few days later, the newspaper reported that the “former All-Ireland Schools 220 yards sprint champion, M. Fitzsimons, got the left wing berth” on the UCD side for the annual Colours match against Trinity, in December, 1955. Later that season, The Irish Times correspondent opined that the “high-scoring UCD wing, Michael Fitzsimons, should be given his international honours”. The rugby correspondent of The Irish Press wrote that “I certainly think that Fitzsimons, the UCD winger, will go far this season – he can run with the ball, with real determination, and that’s the first attribute of a wing. I reckon he will make the Irish team this season”. Subsequently, Michael played in Final Irish Trials, but that elusive first “cap” was not forthcoming.
Michael played against both the English and French universities, having played on “unofficial” trial matches in the format of Combined Universities v. Rest of Ireland. In addition, he played for the Leinster province on six occasions in the inter-provincial series, over three seasons. He played in three Colours matches (1955/56, 1956/57 and 1957/58), all of which were played at Lansdowne Road. In addition, he played for the Irish Wolfhounds – a touring team that helped spread rugby in the Irish provinces.
In addition to rugby, Michael excelled at Athletics and was successful at School’s level in addition to representing UCD at inter-varsity competitions.
Subsequent to his graduation, Michael qualified as a solicitor. He joined Lansdowne FC but he retained close ties with his old university. Michael Fitzsimons was elected President of UCD RFC for the season 1982/83 season. He was a popular and efficient President and his year of office saw the Colours match being won, as was the Dudley Cup (Irish universities) and the McCorry Cup.
Michael Fitzsimons was widely acknowledged by his peers as a talented rugby player; he was popular and efficient as a rugby official and was respected as a solicitor. Above all, he is loved by his family and wide circle of friends and we extend our collective condolences to them.
Funeral arrangements and other details are available on rip.ie