And so, we reach the end of the long road that is another season in Seapoint Rugby Club. A season of ups and downs, happiness and frustration, but more than anything progress on and off the field. A season where the club made many new friends on and off the field, where we welcomed many new faces to the club as members and visitors.
For me there are a few highlights that standout which I will try to cover here.
In September, we had the Passathon, a fundraiser that conceived and executed our Mini & Youth members. The premise was simple and based on the sponsored walk format only this time the walk would be jog while passing a rugby ball around the perimeter of Kilbogget Park. The event had buy-in from all MY teams from U7s up and support from the senior players.
The social side of the club was very active this year with many great events held in the club. I particularly I would like to mention the children’s Halloween and Christmas parties, and the ladies lunch. The common denominator between all the events was the incredible teams who transformed the club in to Santas’s wonderland, Dracula’s gaff, and a very suave and sophisticated ladies lunch venue.
Huge thanks to Brianan Byrne, Karen Chamberlaine, and their team of helpers for the children’s parties, and to Karen Kelly, Mags Totterdell, Denise Manning, Emer McKeever, Marie Barrett, and Ciaran Freeney for all their hard work in delivering the best ever ladies lunch.
Throughout the season I have been fortunate to meet many great rugby people through my role as President of the club. In our own club, I got to know the players, coaches, helpers, parents and supporters for all our teams. On our AIL journeys this year there were the presidents, committees, supporters and players from the 8 other clubs in AIL 2C. From my visits to the annual dinners in the other Leinster clubs I was welcomed with open arms by the presidents and members of these clubs. For me the meeting of people has been the most enjoyable experience of the role.
On the international side of things, we had great success this year with Joanne O’Dwyer receiving her long overdue Irish ladies cap from IRFU President Philip Orr in March.
At U20s level we were delighted to see two graduates of our all-conquering U14s team from 6 years ago graduate to the Irish U20s team. Huge congratulations to Eoin Clarke and Jack Dunne on their achievements. Congratulations also to Jack on winning an All-Ireland U20s title with Trinity College and being selected for the Ireland U20s World Cup squad.
On the pitch, our 1st team didn’t want for effort or ability and finished up a very credible 6th in the league. During our campaign, we were the only club to beat eventual winner Sligo home and away. Our own Bain Champion was lucky enough to be on the end of a fantastic team move which won Bain and the rest of the players the AIL Try of the Month for December.
We fielded great 2nds and 3rds team who both chased hard for honours all the way through the season. The 2nds racked up the try scoring bonus points for fun while the 3rds were edged out of a league final spot on the last day of the campaign having led the league from day one.
I want to congratulate and thank all our senior players for their efforts and achievements this season.
At youth level, we had a very successful season with 4 of our 5 teams making it through to league or cup finals. The icing on the cake was the league win by our U18s team, which backed up their success in the same competition at U17 last year. I was particularly delighted to have Niall Rynne, President of Leinster Rugby, to present the pennant and “correct” trophy to James Manning, Ciaran Murphy, and Harry Mullan at the Annual Dinner last Friday.
At mini level, we continue to grow and dare I say thrive. I happened upon the end of season players and parents tag on Sunday week last and was delighted to see such a big turnout of players and parents from the U7, U8, U9 and U10 levels. Well done to everyone who pulled the day together, particularly in organising the weather.
Talking of big days with great weather, we were blessed once again with the weather for this year’s biggest and best Seapoint blitz with over 100 teams from 31 clubs in attendance. We also had Leinster and Ireland players James Ryan and Rory O’Loughlin there. Both lads stopped and posed for thousands of pictures on their round of the event with endless good humour and enthusiasm.
As usual there was a massive team behind the scenes making the whole thing tick along effortlessly, at least that is what it seemed to our visitors. A look at Twitter after the event showed how much our visitors enjoyed the day and how impressed they were with the organisation of the event.
I will not name individuals here but instead say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who helped on the day!
Last Friday the club held its Annual Dinner. With almost 130 in attendance we had a record crowd to fit, something we managed by the skin of our teeth. We were privileged to have the President of the IRFU, Philip Orr, the President of Leinster Rugby, Niall Rynne, the head coach of the Ireland Ladies Team, Adam Griggs, and the Champions Cup trophy in attendance.
Our guest of honour for the dinner was our very own Paul Kelly, recognition for the incredible service he has given to the club.
As part of the dinner I presented the Club Man of The Year award to Brian Lyons. Normally this is presented at the AGM. I presented it at the dinner so that Brian could have a larger accolade from those present than would be possible at an AGM.
Brian has represented the playing side of the club on the Exec for the last two seasons and contributed hugely to the team preparation and performance. He has been the point of connection between the senior players with the rest of the club on and off the pitch, a hugely important role in a community club like Seapoint.
While we are going into the summer and hopefully warmer weather, we are not quite finished with the rugby. Seapoint will be participating in a program every Friday evening during June and July, in conjunction with the IRFU, to give girls between 10 and 14 years old an opportunity to Give Rugby A Try.
If you know of anyone in this age bracket who would like to participate then please pass on my details, tell them to look at the article on the Seapoint home page which has more details, or drop an email to GIAT-Seapoint@outlook.com if they have any questions.
One other item to update you on is in relation to kit. Next season we will be moving the Seapoint kit into Uniformity (www.uniformity.ie) and changing supplier to Canterbury.
Using the Uniformity website it will be possible to order new kit on line, have it delivered to your home address, or to collect it yourself from their premises in Dun Laoghaire. More information on this will be available before the start of the new season.
I am nearing the end of my presidency and feel privileged to have had the opportunity to hold the position in a club that means so much to me. I must thank everyone who helped at various stages throughout the season whether on or off the pitch. I would particularly like to thank the Executive Committee who are responsible for the running of the club in a professional and prudent manner for their hard work and support.
Looking ahead I will move back into helping with the girl’s section and back onto the pitch coaching. I will naturally enough support my successor Stephen McDonough in whatever role he needs me to play in the coming year.
That’s all folks!
Updated 08:57 - 22 May 2018 by Gerry Owens