Hon Secretary’s Report 2020/2021
Once upon a time there was a game called Club Rugby, which used to be played in a Rugby Club. Then the Corona virus came along and all things changed. This report is a summary of the 2020/2021season, a season that really wasn’t, in Old Crescent RFC from May 2020. As we all recall, the rugby season of 2019/2020 was incomplete, we only completed three quarters of the season due to Government restrictions imposed under COVID 19, as regulated by the IRFU. Whilst this season started with new found hope, it’s duration was soon cut short and realistically we only achieved one eight of normal activity.
So this report is tempered by the fact that the season again was incomplete, with only a handful of meaningful games played. If Beethoven were alive and a member of Old Crescent, he certainly would have been left with a number of unfinished symphonies! This period in the Club’s history may be recorded in the record books in time as the period of 2019 BC (before Covid) and 2022AD (after D Vaccine). Cynics in the Club may regard it as the period of 2019 BC (before Charlie) and 2022 AD (after Donnellan)
We were fortunate at least that the matches we played over this short number of weeks were played in glorious autumnal sunshine but now seem a distant memory even though only seven or eight months have passed. Old Crescent got this strange season underway with an away fixture against Dolphin RFC in Irish Independent Park in the first round of the Munster Senior Cup on Saturday 5th September. No spectators or supporters were allowed to attend matches in those early stages. Team management were obliged to provide a match day list of 40, to include players, management, and mentors, reminiscent of Tales from the Arabian Nights, Ali Baba and the 40 thieves! The senior squad and management had prepared diligently for the season under Government and IRFU Covid-19 guidelines but had been unable to test themselves against outside opposition before the game. The final score was Dolphin 24 Old Crescent 31.
This was followed with a home fixture V Cashel RFC on Saturday 12th September in the second round of the Munster Senior Cup. No spectators or supporters were allowed attend the game in Rosbrien. Cashel provided a live stream, with our Media Officer, Frank Larkin on co-commentary. Cashel had proven to be a difficult nut to crack for Old Crescent in the past, but on this occasion Crescent were supreme. The final score was Old Crescent 28 Cashel 17.
For the quarter final stage of the competition, we made to the short journey to the home of the Light Blues in Dooradoyle on Saturday 19th September. There was a change in regulations at this stage and 100 spectators were allowed to attend matches. The home team unsurprisingly took the lion’s share and allocated 20 spectator places to the visitors. Unfortunately, we bowed out of the competition at this stage in an entertaining game. The final score was 41-29 to Garryowen. The team took several positives from the game as the attention now switched to preparations for the upcoming Energia Munster Community Series.
Due to the knowledge and experience the IRFU had encountered in attempting to plan under the constraints of Covid 19 regulations, it was decided to organise more regionally focused rugby competitions. This led to the formation of the Energia Community Series, played in the months prior to Christmas. The Senior team were placed in Conference 1 and as such were eager to test their resolve against the so-called local heavy-hitters from Division 1 of the AIL. Their first game in the series was an away fixture V Cork Constitution FC on Saturday September 26th at Templehill, which kicked-off at 2.30 p.m. The Club was involved in a double fixture V Cork Constitution that Saturday in the Munster Senior Clubs League which kicked off in Templehill at 4.30 p.m. Whilst both Crescent teams experienced purple patches in both matches, suffice to say that We Came, We Saw, We were Cork Con-quered on a scoreline of 54 -19 for the senior team.
Our next fixture in the Energia Community Series was a home fixture V our near neighbours Young Munster. We allocated them an initial 20 places for spectators. We came out second best on the day.
Our final match in the ECS was an away fixture against UCC at the Mardyke. It was the proverbial game of two halves, as the home team were 19 points to nil up at half time. Crescent outscored their hosts in the second half by 26 points to 7 in an enthralling contest with the sharing of the spoils. The curtain then came down on this three act drama festival. Our much anticipated home matches in the ECS against Shannon and Garryowen never happened as all matches were cancelled due to Covid restrictions. The post Christmas plan to have a scaled down AIL never materialised.
I would like to acknowledge the tremendous dedication and attention to detail of Eugene McGovern as Director of Rugby and his Coaching team under Head Coach Matt Brown, as well as the stewardship of Chairman of Rugby, Gerry Reynolds. I would like to thank our Club Captain Kevin Doyle for his leadershipon the field of play, which unfortunately was all too brief.
2nd XV, 3rd XV, and U20 XV’s
The 2nd XV, 3rd XV and U20’s all had their seasons curtailed due to Covid 19. It is fair to say each had mixed fortunes in the respective matches that they were able to play. Each group are eagerly looking forward to getting back to playing rugby and preparing in earnest for the new season.
Director of Rugby Eugene McGovern would like to express sincere thanks to all involved in match day preparation and the logistical planning required, in particular, Pat Rickard and Martin O’Farrelly. Sincere thanks to Eugene and Matt and all the management, coaching teams and back-up support personnel for the unbelievable effort and commitment shown throughout the season, though limited and interrupted as it was.
With regard to forward planning for this coming season of 2021/2022, two significant milestones will be reached by the Club. It will mark 70 years since the Club achieved senior status (season of 1951/52) and 2022 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Club’s foundation (1947) Both milestones will be suitably commemorated in an appropriate manner when circumstances allow.
As with all other groups, it was a difficult year for the underage players and their families. Where permitted, they maintained a full roster of training across all their teams with a huge commitment from coaches and committee to provide a safe environment. We would also like to acknowledge the new volunteers who signed up to help us manage the restrictions required for ensuring Covid compliance. In particular, the Underage are delighted with the increase in players amongst the U6/U7 age groups and in particular, the girls where we have seen an explosion of interest over the last year.
The Underage Section of the Club fared much better than their Senior counterparts in so far as they were able to continue training on Sundays, until the dreaded lockdown kicked in. The weather was also very favourable. There are huge numbers playing underage rugby and they have just returned to training and the future is very positive,with numbers and engagement of players, coaches and parents.
The Club undertook the IRFU ‘Give it a Try’ program for Girls aged 8 to 14. It was due to begin in May but was postponed until August. It has proven to be very successful and has led to significant numbers of girls attending training on Sundays. Marie Hayes-Carroll and Rob Geary must be commended for their work in this area.
A sincere word of thanks to all our Underage Coaches and our Chairman of Underage Peter Shelley, Shane Somers, Shirley O’Grady, Brian Collins and Nichola English for all the work put in over the last twelve months.
On the refereeing side, we continue to recognise Club Member Referee Andy Brace, who officiated in the 6 Nations this year and we wish him further success in the future.
CLUB MEDICAL TEAM
Club Doctors Michael O’Flynn and Stephen Roche have provided outstanding service over many seasons, together with our Chartered Physio Gordon Cagney. Having said that, due to the season that was, their services were in little demand but we were secure in the knowledge that they were on hand if required.
This season also required us to appoint a Covid Compliance & Safety Officer. We were fortunate as a Club to have a former player and member of the calibre of Sean Madigan who took on this role. He steered the Club and participating teams in the right direction on match days and we are incredibly grateful for his commitment. To all our back-up medical support we offer our sincere gratitude and thanks.
GROUNDS and HOUSE
The grounds and pitches at Rosbrien are in excellent condition, whilst not seeing much game time this season. We must thank most sincerely our Chairman of Grounds Dermot McGovern for this, for his time and dedication in looking after Rosbrien, together with his team of helpers. The grounds are in splendid condition as group training resumes and tag rugby leagues are about to begin again.
I’d also like to mention and thank sincerely our Chairman of House Joe McNamara and his associates for their excellent work in maintaining our facilities. Due to the tremendous work done particularly by Joe, Dave O‘Malley, Val McDermott, Peter Doyle, Ger McNamara and other members of the Committee, the Club benefitted from a Sports Capital Grant which enabled us to re-furbish the Dressing Rooms and Ancillary Facilities. In a similar vein, with grant-aided funding, the Club is able to significantly upgrade the Floodlighting Systems on the 2nds and 3rds pitches. This will enable greater usage of our grounds into the late evenings and over the winter period.
We have made a further application for Sports Capital Grant Funding. Part of this process entailed forming usage agreements with local schools and organisations and making the Club’s facilities available to the wider community. This will enhance our profile and place in the community and will have a knock-on effect on the Club’s future fortunes.
WAYS & MEANS / FINANCE
As always, financing an AIL Club is a challenge and in the present circumstances it has proven to be all the more challenging. Introduced in the latter stages of last season by Charlie O’Neill and under the stewardship of Paul Donnellan, our Go Fund Me campaign proved to be extremely successful and very much filled the gap left by the loss of normal fund-raising events. We thank all who contributed. The Car Draw continues to be a major source of our income and the number of members sits at 290 approx. And from here on is to be known as The Supporter’s Club Draw. We welcome the addition of John Quill and Peter Duggan who are putting their shoulders to the wheel (if you will pardon the pun). I would encourage you all to look to bring more members into the Draw. Application forms are available from the committee and an online subscription will be rolled out shortly. The IRFU Your Club Your Country Draw was again a great source of funds for the Club.
I would also like to thank Dale Harrow and the Golf Committee of Niall Sheehy, Ger McNamara, Peter Doyle, Charlie O’Neill, Noel Sexton et al, for their work on the Golf Classic which we were fortunate to be able to stage in 2020. We are very grateful to the excellent number of 60 teams that signed up to take part on the day and we thank you sincerely for your support. In particular, we thank Keane’s Jewellers who are great supporters of our Golf Classic each year.
I would also like to thank Sean Mullally of Q3 Group, who has come on board as Club sponsor. He has also done tremendous work on electrifying the gate (Open Sesame) and the installation of security cameras and alarms.
Tag Rugby continued with a Summer League. Unfortunately, we were unable to stage an Autumn tag league which had been planned and had to be cancelled. The internationally famous Pig N Porter Festival, which normally would be preceded by the Limerick Summer Music Festival, were both casualties of the pandemic.
Ger McNamara was to have moved to the position of President of the Munster Rugby for season 2021/2022. Owing to the fact that the season was so curtailed, Ger’s term of office will now be in the season of 2022/2023. I would also like to acknowledge the work of Pat Monaghan as the Club’s Munster Branch delegate and as he now takes on the role of Chairperson of the Munster Senior Clubs Committee. We are also very ably served by Brian Nolan who was returned for another term as Hon. Fixtures Secretary and Hon. Treasurer of the North Munster Sub-Committee of Munster Rugby. I’d like to thank Ger, Pat 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. Members who died during the year included Dermot Moloney; Terence Cusack; Ken Quinn; Pat O’Malley and Peter Ireton. Normally, the AGM is preceded by a Mass for deceased members and their families and it was hoped to have been held last November but was not possible due to Covid. If circumstances allow, it may be staged this November.
I wish to thank the hard-working Management Committee for their work over the last twelve months, in what have been challenging times for the Club and it’s members. I would especially like to thank Peter Doyle and Anthony O’Dwyer for their long number of years of service on Committee and who are now taking a seat on the bench! I wish to welcome the incoming officers on Committee and Ronan Hanrahan as Registrar.I would like to acknowledge the work of our Media Officer, Frank Larkin, for his promotional work posting photos and events which have featured prominently on social media.
I would like to warmly acknowledge the hard work done by Paul Donnellan as President of Old Crescent RFC for the last year in the most challenging of circumstances. The vast majority of our meetings had to be held on Zoom and we are grateful to Paul and the Dell Corporation for making this possible. This was a most unusual season as we were unable to formally host any significant number from visiting teams, and pre-match lunches and liquid refreshments could only be dreamt of. Paul was heavily involved in all aspects of sub-committees acting on various projects within the Club. As the season was so short lived from a playing point of view, it has been decided that Paul will continue in his capacity as President for the season of 2021/2022.
I would like to wish Paul and all the players and members of Old Crescent RFC the very best for the forthcoming season and to thank all the volunteers for all their tremendous work.
And they all lived happily ever after!