I would like to wish club members and their families and all friends of Balbriggan RFC, no matter where you are in the World a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
2015 has been a marvelous year for our great club. As you know, in the 2015 – 2016 season we are celebrating our 90th anniversary since the Club was first established in 1925. I believe we can be justly proud of what we have achieved in our Club. We have kept the flame alive so that future generations within our Community will be able to enjoy the pride and pleasure of being part of Balbriggan RFC. The year 2015 has seen Balbriggan RFC return as a real force in provincial rugby in Leinster. Our membership is at an all-time high with numbers particularly strong at Mini’s level. We are 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 minis and youths players. The minis and youths players in the Club are the life blood and future of Rugby in our Club and Community. 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.
In competition, 2015 has been one of our most successful years ever. Our U13’s (this years U14’s) made it to the Leinster League final, and have continued this season where they left off last. At senior level our women’s team won Leinster League Division 4 in their first season and made the final of the Cup. The Ladies have gone from strength to strength competing well in the tougher Division 3 this season. Our men’s team re-entered the Leinster League last year and won promotion from Division 3 to Division 2B. They are faring very well in the higher Division, having won all their matches in the pool stages of the competition and are currently vying with the leaders at the top of the table at the half way stage. Our 2nd XV have participated in the McGee Cup and have done themselves and the Club proud with their performances.
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 2015 for Balbriggan RFC.
Balbriggan RFC is more than just a rugby club. It is a family of friends and a vital part of our wider community. This could be seen when we recently held our Gala Ball in the hotel as part of our 90th Anniversary celebrations. The Ball was attended by the Presidents of the IRFU and the Leinster Branch as well as past members and of course current members from all sections of the Club. The night was an outstanding success and reflected well on our Club which was seen in such a positive light. The 2015 – 2106 season was kicked off with our 1st XV winning the Beachy Cup. We followed that by hosting the McGowan Cup in Balbriggan for the first time. At Mini’s level, we hosted the largest ever Santa Blitz this month, with 530 children from all over the North-east participating. We have more events planned for the remainder of our 90th anniversary season. In March for the first time we host the annual Leinster U10’s Kettle Rugby Festival. We have been honoured with hosting this event to help celebrate our 90th anniversary and because Tom Kettle, a founder of youths rugby in Leinster was a Balbriggan man who helped re-form the club in the late 60’s. Our U9’s, U10’s and U11’s travel to Barcelona in March to bring our brand of Rugby to a new audience. We plan on launching the book on the history of Rugby in Balbriggan before the season is out and we will host another Leinster Summer Camp in 2016. The summer camp in July this year was the second largest held by Leinster Rugby this year!
Running the Club is an expensive business. We are grateful to our many sponsors who help to ensure that our teams are well kitted out, our pitches well maintained and lit on dark winter nights.
I have avoided mentioning any names in this message for fear that by mentioning some, others will be left out. 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 and for her support in all our efforts in Balbriggan RFC. I know, I’ve just gone and mentioned a name but I think you will allow me that one exception!
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!! Finally, good luck to our U12’s as they play in the RDS on New Years Day, at half-time in the Leinster v Connacht match.
Merry Christmas to you all and I hope you have a happy (and successful) New Year.
President Balbriggan RFC