What a season it has been! The holiday season that is, not the rugby one. More about rugby anon.
For most people this will be a Christmas and New Year like never before. However you spend the next two weeks I hope you make the best of it while staying safe. 2020 has been a very tough year for many people in both personal and professional terms and I hope that 2021 will start to see improvements for everyone.
Rugby has been strange. Training in bubbles. No pre-match meals. No dressing room facilities. No pints in the Clubhouse afterwards. No travelling up and down the country to meet with our extended rugby family. Some matches were played and old rivalries renewed. It was different but it was a welcome distraction and then it stopped again. The efforts of Director of Rugby Eugene McGovern, Chairman of Rugby Gerry Reynolds, Head Coach Matt Brown and his team and Club Captain Kevin Doyle in keeping the show on the road and keeping the players involved has been exemplary. Training is underway once more but we don’t know yet if or when we will have competitive matches. But we will be ready!
I know this because I have seen how this Club, our members and supporters have stepped up. At the end of last season, when the pandemic first hit, we and most other sporting organisations were facing into a bleak future. Old Crescent supporters dug deep and delivered, providing funding for the Club that kept the wolf from the door. Old Crescent people up and down the country and across the world came to the rescue. I received countless emails and phone calls saying “I would like to give. How can I do it?” You, our supporters, delivered like nobody else. I received a phone call from the IRFU asking us to go on a zoom call to demonstrate to 150 other clubs how our Go Fund Me had worked. A member from a club in Tipperary phoned me for some advice and said “Do you know that Old Crescent is being discussed in every committee meeting in every club in the country?” We had become the example for how things should be done. This is all down to all of you, our wonderful supporters and members.
Not everything was shut down. We had a very successful Autumn Tag League and had plans for a Winter League, because Old Crescent is one of the leading lights for running tag in the country. With a covid plan in place we implemented a safe way of running a tag league that only a handful of clubs in the country could match. I want to call out Sean Madigan who volunteered to be the Club’s Covid Safety Officer. When I phoned him his response was “Paul I will help the Club in any way that I can.” Sean has spent many hours and days ensuring that the Club has a covid plan and adheres to it. He has been our covid liaison with the Munster Branch and the IRFU and I cannot thank him enough for his dedication and professionalism. I also got a phone call from Donal Duggan of dugganvet.ie. Donal is a former player who donated safety supplies to the Club. Sean and Donal, along with our Covid Compliance Officer and Junior Vice President Pat Rickard have systems in place which ensure that the Club is best placed to deal with the challenges of Covid and we are very grateful to them.
We were unsure whether our Golf Classic would go ahead this year but it did and not only that but we had a record number of teams taking part. Thank you to the Dale Harrow, Charlie O’Neill, Ger McNamara, Wiry Sexton, Niall Sheehy, Peter Doyle and Terry Clancy who were instrumental in the running of this great event.
We secured a new main sponsor in the shape of Q3 Security Systems led by Sean Mullally. Sean and his team are great supporters of the club and have upgraded the security systems on our grounds. I look forward to the day when our players can wear our new jerseys with the Q3 logo along with that of our other great sponsors Takumi Precision Engineering and Keane’s Jewellers. Without the support of these companies and all of those that advertise with us we could not keep going so I ask you to please support them whenever you can.
Ironically being unable to use our dressing rooms has enabled us to do a major upgrade on our facilities which is due to finish this week. Led by our Senior Vice President Joe McNamara, this project will provide us with hugely upgraded dressing rooms which will be the envy of many a club. Well done to Joe and the team. We look forward to many more such projects in the future and with our Hon Treasurer Val McDermott at the helm applying for and administering capital grants we are in good hands..
More recently the Your Club Your Country raffle took place. We were one of only 21 clubs nationally that managed to sell our full allocation of tickets and not only that we even managed to have one of our members win first prize! Peter Shelley, Chairman of Underage was the lucky winner. Peter is another volunteer who puts in the hours, week in and week out. One of the most heartening things to witness in these challenging times is the 300 boys and girls at underage training every Sunday morning. Peter and his team move mountains to make this happen and we are all delighted that the YCYC first prize went to such a worthy winner.
Nothing happens in this Club without a strong Committee being in place to make it so. I would like to thank each and every one of them, along with the sub-committees, the coaches, both underage and at senior level, the Trustees and network of past Presidents and senior members for their work and dedication. We can do what we do only because of you. Thank you!
In summary, while there has not been a lot of rugby there has been a lot going on and our Club continues to function thanks to your generousity and support. On behalf of myself and the Management Committee of Old Crescent please accept our thanks and best wishes for the holiday period and here’s to a safe and prosperous 2021.
Yours in Rugby,
President of Old Crescent RFC