Honorary Secretary’s 2015-16 Report to AGM of Old Crescent RFC
This report is a summary of the happenings in Old Crescent RFC over the past 12 months.
The first team played in Division 2C of the Ulster Bank League (UBL) this season. We won it!!
We won 15, lost 3 and drew none of our 18 UBL games, finishing top of the table by 13 pts from 2nd placed Tullamore and securing automatic promotion to Division 2B. We finished as top points scorer in all five Divisions of the UBL with 562 pts. To paraphrase the movie “Gladiator” – Were we not entertained? Yes, we most certainly were!
To top this off, Brendan “Gillie” Guilfoyle capped a superb season by winning the Ulster Bank League Division 2C Player of the Year Award which was presented to him at an awards ceremony in the Aviva Stadium by Ireland Coach Joe Schmidt.
I would like to acknowledge the hard work that Tommy Pratt as Chairman of Rugby and his Committee put in and I would like to thank our Club Captain Cathal O’Reilly for his leadership. The statistics for the 1st XV playing in the Ulster Bank League are as follows:
Played Won Lost Drew For Against
15 12 3 0 562 265
Some other stats of note:
* 75 Training Sessions over 42 weeks
* 37 Matches (1st & 2nds)
* 40 senior player caps
* 26 WINS (between the UBL, Charity Cup, Senior friendly matches, Munster Senior Cup, 2nds league, Junior Cup and Transfield Cup)
* 70% Win Success
We had a great run in the Charity Cup which included wins over Garryowen and Shannon. A spirited performance in the final saw Young Munster, who play four divisions above us, eventually prevail. In the Munster Senior Cup we again saw off higher division opposition in the form of UCC before being halted again by Young Munster, this time in the semi-final.
The 2nd XV reached the ¼ final in the Munster League, reached the last 4 in the North Munster Senior 2nds League, got to the Semi-Final of Transfield cup and the 1/4 Final of the Munster Junior Cup.
The 3rd XV had a competitive season where performances in the Gleeson League were solid and they narrowly missed out on a play off place. They contested the quarter final of the Webb Cup after a great away victory over Kilrush and were defeated by Shannon. All in all they had a competitive season and are now looking forward to next season for which they will need new recruits in both playing personnel and management.
As so many people worked across the three senior teams and the U20s I would like to thank all of the following for their efforts: Eugene McGovern, Joe Nix, Tommy Pratt, Dom O’Riordan, Bothar Bill (Hanly), Terry Brown, Brian Touhy, Paul Collins, Tom Cranley, Rory Collins, Shane Landers, Billy Leahy, Shane Murphy, Alan McMahon, Pat Rickard, Dave O’Malley, John Hogan, Chris Cullinan, Andy Cunnane and Dave Dennehy.
Once again we had a very successful Tag Rugby Festival and this year’s Competition started on the 19th May with more than 46 teams taking part. Old Crescent has taken over the running of the tag from ITRA in Limerick showing that the season doesn’t end in May anymore and we are running a year-round enterprise here.
The internationally famous Pig N Porter Festival went from strength to strength and preparations are well under way for this year’s event which will start on 9th July 2015. We had over 140 teams last year and I know the PnP Committee have been hard at work for many months to ensure another high class event takes place here in Old Crescent.
Finally, on the Senior side of rugby we were very proud of our member Eoin Reddan who ensured that Old Crescent were represented at the Rugby World Cup in England. While Ireland didn’t go quite as far as we all would have hoped, it was wonderful to see our Club represented on the World Stage by Eoin. Eoin has also donated his jersey from the World Cup match against France to the club. As soon as we can arrange an appropriate occasion that suits Eoin‘s availability we will have an official presentation.
Old Crescent RFC won the Munster Branch Community Club of the Year Award this year. Senior Vice President Pat Monaghan, was presented with the Munster Community Club of the Year Award at a reception in Irish Independent Park after the Munster win over Edinburgh several weeks ago.
Munster Rugby, in conjunction with the IRFU Club and Volunteer Recognition Programme, made the award to Old Crescent RFC in recognition of its work in fostering linkages with its local community during the year, through the development of its grounds and facilities at Rosbrien and its promotion of rugby for all ages in the local community.
We have over 300 players playing underage rugby and the following are some points of note:
Under 20s (Dave O’Malley)
The new coaching team involved Shane Landers, Billy Leahy and Alan McMahon in the front line in addition to Shane Murphy, Pat Rickard, John Hogan and Dave O’Malley in the background from the previous season. Recruitment-wise, we were very fortunate to have a combination of quite a substantial group returning as under 20s again this season as well as a strong cohort of players leaving school who has played on successful under-age teams in the Club, most of them from quite a young age.
And in terms of building on the success of the previous season too, this was achieved quite early in the season in retaining the North Munster Under 20 League, against a strong Clanwilliam side and although we put in a good performance in the Donal Walsh Trophy (Munster U20 league) fixture changes and clashes went against us and we were denied qualifying from the knock out stages of this competition.
Equally, our run in the North Munster Under 20 Cup was frustrated by a series of deferrals and ultimately a walk over from Bruff (3 hours before kick-off !!), leaving us without a game for over eight weeks before our semi-final against Shannon, who went on to win the trophy. The highest measure of success however, came from the players themselves, with 6 under 20 players playing for the Senior XV in their very successful season – they were Cian Reale, Paul McNamara, Rory Cunningham, Sean Fitzgerald, Niall Hardiman and Val McDermott.
Under 18s (Joe McNamara)
With a squad of around 30 players the U18s played twenty five matches in total during the 2015/16 season. They competed in the North Munster & Pan Munster Leagues as well as the North Munster Open Cup. The U/18’S hope to go on tour to Edinburgh to attend the Scotland v Ireland match next season.
Under 16s (Jim Murphy)
Our U16s merged with St Senan’s for the season but still had insufficient numbers to compete in competitions until Old Crescent players returned from Junior Cup duty (many having won the trophy with Crescent Comp). They competed in the National Youth Rugby Festival held by Corinthians and won Cup competitions beating Leinster League winners Suttonians and Leinster League runners-up Clontarf in the process.
Under 15s (Brian Toland)
Old Crescent U/15’s won the U/15 league competition following an unbeaten campaign. A number of their players have been called up to the U/16 Munster Development Squad. A total of 30 players represented them throughout the season from approx. 6 different schools.
Under 14s (Niall O’Sullivan)
The U14’s got to the Semi Final of both the U14 Cup and League. Unfortunately we were beaten by Young Munster in the League and Ennis in the Cup, both teams being significantly physically bigger than ours. They rounded off the season with a trip to Tralee to play Tralee RFC and visit the Aquadome. That was a very successful day out and enjoyed by all. We are planning to partake in a tournament in Portugal next Easter and everybody is already looking forward to that!
Under 12s (Shane Somers)
The U12s have just returned from their tour to Treviso, Italy. This was a four day trip that involved a trip to Gardaland, and a tow day rugby blitz attended by over 100 other U-12 teams from all over Italy. We entered tow teams and both performed very successfully winning 6 of their 7 group games. A great time was had by all.
The parents and children raised a significant amount of money towards the trip throughout the year and they would particularly like to acknowledge Barrington’s Hospital for their generous sponsorship. From bag packing, to marathon stewarding and table quizzes it created a great sense of unity amongst the players and their families which will stand to them. They have grown their numbers to about 40 players over the year.
Under 10s (Gary Keogh)
The U10s had a fantastic season. This is the year that the boys started to play more as a team, learning how to hold positions on the pitch, cover for their team mates and support going forward. The Munster Branch blitzes were unsuccessful as most of them were cancelled but U10 management were wise to this from previous years so they organised plenty of matches with other clubs. The highlights included; our own Munster Branch blitz in November, the return visit of Lansdowne in January, the Aviva festival in UL Bohs in March and the Seapoint festival in April. Old Crescent RFC has a great reputation for hosting other clubs and the U10s are happy to say that they continued that tradition.
Under 7s (Brian Collins)
The Under 7 group played Garryowen and Young Munster and even with their small numbers they continued a proud tradition of OC with excellent running rugby. They also held a mini-display prior to the Senior game against Wanderers on the front pitch and the boys and parents really enjoyed the experience. They finished the season off in style with all the under 7’s providing a guard of honour to the senior team as they won the league, followed by some crisps and Capri Sun. They also held an Awards Day after the 5k walk.
Congrats to all our Under Age Coaches and to our Chairman of Underage, Tim Duggan.
On the refereeing side, we should also recognise club member Andy Brace on his appointment as referee for the European Challenge Cup clash between Gloucester and Zebre in Kingsholm last November. Andy has also been selected as a Referee for the World Rugby U-20 Championship which takes place in England in June.
Andy is an established referee at AIL, Pro12 and British and Irish Cup level.
The Welsh native played his club rugby with Old Crescent RFC and works as a Community Rugby Officer with Munster Branch IRFU. Well done Andy.
Finally on Rugby, I would like to thank our Club Doctors, Michael O’Flynn and Stephen Roche, for their assistance not only on match days but also for making themselves available to our players at all times. Michael has also been instrumental in ensuring that our Medical Room is equipped to the highest of standards. Special thanks must also go to Gordon Cagney for his medical assistance. Thank you gentlemen.
GROUNDS, NEW LAND and CLUBHOUSE
At an EGM last November, the members of the Club gave the Management Committee the go-ahead to purchase extra land to expand our facilities. Anyone who has passed through our grounds in these last few months cannot fail to have noticed the major works that are both complete and still in progress. These works will ensure that our children and grand-children will have top-class facilities available to them for the years ahead. For their leadership in having the Grounds and Clubhouse in top condition I would like to thank Dermot McGovern, Liam Keehan and Dom O’Riordan amongst others for their trojan efforts. Thank you gentlemen.
Raising funds for the new Land has been key to making it possible and there has been a team of people dedicated to this difficult task led by our SVP Pat Monaghan. To date we have raised €110K and I would like to thank Pat for his leadership in this area.
WAYS & MEANS / FINANCE
It has been another challenging year for the Club finances. The Car Draw continues to be a major source of our income and the number of members sits at 278 currently. I would encourage you all to look to bring more members into the car draw. Application forms are available from the committee.
We had a Fashion Event in the Strand Hotel in January, which was a great success and was due to fantastic planning and organisation by Dee Cunningham, Martin McDermott, Ita Barrett, Yvonne O’Riordan, Peter Doyle (Chairman of Ways and Means) and Liam Keehan amongst others. Thank you all.
We had 50 teams and 74 tees sponsored for the Golf Classic. Many thanks as always to Noel Sexton, Dave O’Malley and the team for organising this.
I would also like to thank Dale Harrow, our Club Ticket Manager for handling the sale of Munster and International Tickets. The profits generated provide a valuable source of income for the Club. Dale will give an update on the ticket situation later in the meeting.
Many thanks and grateful appreciation must go to our Sponsors who sponsored pre-match lunches and various prizes for our Club events. In particular we are indebted to Keanes Jewellers who sponsor our Golf Classic each year. Of course we also have a new main sponsor on board this season in Bord Na Mona. We are indebted to the support provided by Mike Quinn, CEO of BnM.
The President’s Night combined with the Awards Night took place at the Clarion Hotel on the 14th May. It was great to see over 120 people attend and a most enjoyable night was had by all. Well done to Tommy Pratt, Cathal O’Reilly and all who do so much to make these nights successful.
I’d like to thank both Eileen and Liam Noonan for always creating a warm and friendly environment in the club after training for the players and on match days and club events for all of us. In many ways Liam and Eileen are the face of the Club to many who enter here and we could not ask for better people to represent us when dealing with kids and parents, opposition teams and reps and our own members. Thank you Liam and Eileen.
Ken Lyons is our Club Delegate to the Munster Branch is also the Munster Branch delegate to the IRFU. Brian Nolan is our deputy delegate and also serves as Honorary Fixtures Secretary and Treasurer for the Munster Branch. I’d like to thank Ken and Brian for their work in representing the Club and the province.
To members who have had family bereavements during the year we extend our deepest sympathies. In particular, we remember the following members who died during the year: Dudley Herbert, Senan Murphy, Mick Spillane and Arthur O’Leary.
Finally I wish to say thank you to Ger McNamara for presiding over the Club this season and to compliment him on all the hard work done by him as President of Old Crescent. As a Club we expressed our condolences to Ger on the untimely passing of his wife Catherine in December. Ger has given everything to the Club in the last year. There has not been portfolio or area of the Club that Ger has not been heavily involved in from Rugby to Grounds, from Ways and Means to Fundraising for the new land and everything else in between. Ger has driven us but in a good way, in a way that made us want to do it for him and we thank him for being a fantastic President.
24 May 2016