I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our club members and their families as well as the many friends of Balbriggan RFC, wherever you are in the World, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year.
We have done a huge amount in 2016 and I thought you might like to take a few moments to reflect on what we in our Club have achieved. We are on the cusp of achieving great things and this is certainly a very exciting time to be involved in Balbriggan RFC. As you know, the first part of 2016 saw the close of the 2015 – 2016 season when we completed our 90th anniversary celebrations. That season was brought to a successful completion with our Club’s Awards Night and Book Launch which was held in the Bracken Court Hotel in May. Although rugby is a Winter sport, we did not take a rest over the summer months. Tag Rugby was played throughout the Summer. The Leinster Summer camp in July this year was one of the biggest held by Leinster Rugby anywhere in the Province this year!
On the development front, there has been great progress. As most of you will already know, the Club applied in March 2016 to Fingal County Council for planning permission to build a state of the art Clubhouse. The planning process, though at times difficult and drawn out, was successful and the Club received full planning permission for the construction of this much needed home for our members. There was a lot of additional work that needed to be done on the project between getting planning permission and progressing to construction phase. We have most of this work now done and I am pleased to be able to inform you that we are about to go to tender for the construction phase of this project, hopefully in early to mid January 2017. I would like to thank the members of the Executive Committee and the Development Sub-Committee for all their work throughout the year gone by in pursuing this project. I would also like to acknowledge the support of our local politicians, particularly councillor Tony Murphy and Senator James Reilly as well as our neighbours and wider community. We are finally into the home straight and hopefully our members will soon be able to enjoy a modern Clubhouse facility.
The year 2016 has seen membership of Balbriggan RFC reach an all-time high with numbers particularly strong at Mini’s level. We are also fielding teams at Youths level, one of the most difficult areas in any Club to develop. This has been achieved by the hard work and dedication of our members, players, coaches and the parents of our younger players. The minis and youths section are the life blood and future of rugby in our Club. All of us owe a debt of gratitude to the players and coaches in the Minis and Youths sections for all that you have achieved. I would like in particular to mention Club Vice-President and Minis coordinator Eamon Darcy for his outstanding work in the Minis section. He has been ably assisted by coaches and club members in administration as well as by players, parents throughout the season. Yet again, Balbriggan organised and hosted the annual Santa Blitz with Eamon at the helm. There was a huge crowd at our grounds for the Blitz with nearly 400 children from all over the North-East participating. I would also like to thank Kevin Sweeney and all those involved in the youth section of the club for their efforts this season so far. Particular mention must be made of all those in the Under 17’s who have overcome many difficulties to continue to field a team week in week out. They are to be very much admired for their bravery and dedication.
At senior level our women’s team continue to progress and are sitting near the top of Leinster League Division 3. Our men’s team have dug deep and after a difficult patch in November they put in incredible performances against Birr, Athy and Athboy. Shorne of many players through injury they have remained competitive and have much to play for in the remainder of the season. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Captains Ciaran Malone and Dearbhla Sheridan and coaches Billy Phelan, Glenn Predy, Mick McKiernan, John Handley as well as managers Malachy Malone and Ivan McFadden. We look forward to the return of Leigh O’Toole in the New Year.
As I have already mentioned, all of these successes could not be achieved without the dedication and hard work of our coaches and team managers at every level. Their work ethic and commitment to the club is immense. I want to express our gratitude to them and their families for the sacrifices they have made in 2016 for Balbriggan RFC.
Running the Club is a very expensive business. This year Sean Malone took charge of the Fundraising Committee and what a difference he and his team have made. The Club has run a very successful events including the Race Night and the IRFU Draw to name just a couple. We are also very grateful to our many sponsors whose support helps to ensure that our teams are well kitted out, our pitches well maintained and lit on dark Winter nights. I would like to thank in particular John Gallen and his Sponsorship Committee for their tremendous efforts which has led to the Club securing the support of substantial new sponsorship deals for the Club. In this regard I’d like to mention in particular, Moriarty Group, and SuperValu and the Bracken Court Hotel.
It is dangerous mentioning names in a message such as this as there is the possibility that I will accidentally leave someone out. If I have omitted someone please forgive me. I hope however, that each of you can recognise in this message the part you have played in our Club this year.
It is a truly great honour and a real pleasure to be President of Balbriggan RFC. I appreciate the support I have received from the various committees and members in the Club. In particular I wish to acknowledge and thank my wife Caroline for all that she has done this past year as Club PRO and for her support in all our efforts in Balbriggan RFC.
I hope you all enjoy the Christmas festivities. You can of course burn off some of the seasons excesses with the Annual St. Stephen’s Day tag match at the Club grounds at 11am. As ever, all are welcome!!
Merry Christmas to you all and I hope you have a happy (and successful) New Year.
President Balbriggan RFC