BUCCANEERS AGM REPORT

RUGBY with MICHAEL SILKE

TED CARTY ELECTED CLUB PRESIDENT

TED CARTY was elected as President of Buccaneers Rugby Football Club at the recent Annual General Meeting of the club held in The Bounty. A longtime supporter of the club and generous benefactor, Ted is the Managing Director of the highly successful local firm Carty Meats, founded by his late father Oliver in 1950. Married to Susan, he has two daughters and three sons.

The boys Jack, Ben and Luke all play rugby with Buccs with teenager Jack breaking through to the club’s Senior side last season. The growing involvement of his sons on the playing fields for Buccaneers was a key factor in Ted getting more involved in the running of the club and he is “delighted and honoured” to now serve as President, although he admits that he will have a tough act in following Pat Hynes whom he described “as the ultimate clubman”. The incoming President presented his predecessor with a special Athlone Crystal Glass vase in acknowledgment of his year of office. In a brief acceptance speech, Mr. Carty stated that there many “challenges” facing him and the club and, with 19 teams now fielding regularly, all involved at Buccaneers “need to work together”.

Secretary reports on “great year gone by”

With little controversy or contention anticipated at the A.G.M., the attendance was on a par with recent seasons. Outgoing Secretary, Diarmuid Morrissey, opened the proceedings with a wide-ranging report. The season went quite well with “the array of trophies on display being reward for efforts. Immense credit is due to all for the number of teams fielded” and he duly thanked this volunteer force. Pat Hynes had “chaired with great mettle” and Michael Cleary had “well loved and protected the pitches and grounds” so carefully that our three pitches stood up to an expanding season and the severe weather both sides of Christmas. The efforts of the Football Chairman Tom Conlon, on and off the field, was lauded while the recent Awards Night was a social highpoint.

“It would be a poorer club but for the efforts of our Ladies Committee” and three ladies were also singled out for their sterling contributions. Treasurer Sharon Ball’s “forthright guidance in controlling expenses” was crucial and, while Sharon would give a detailed report in her Treasurer’s Report, Diarmuid stated that “funding is at a critical point and getting harder. It is a thankless task but absolutely vital to the future of the club”. Our various sponsors were duly thanked, especially ground sponsors Dubarry whose support now goes back decades, and the Secretary urged all members “to support sponsors of all types” who contributed to the club.

 Jackie Pears was commended for her work as Child Welfare Officer while, last but certainly not least, “the untiring efforts and amount of work put in” by our Administator Geraldine Kenny could not be underestimated.

The input of Public Relations Officer Michael Silke was acknowleged, his “feverish toil considered utterly irreplaceable!”  That “often overlooked” group – referees – were complimented as were all the crew of The Bounty and the club’s volunteer force who, under the stewardship of Senan Downes and Barry Reid (who also ran the successful Youth Discos), ensured the smooth running of Ireland’s U-20 internationals and other representative fixtures. All in all, it was “a great year gone by” and he looked forward to “the campaign ahead”.

Treasurer urges improved support for fund-raising events

Treasurer Sharon Ball gave a detailed account of the income and expenditure side of the club. “Income was down in many sectors, a reflection of the current financial climate but also due to a lack of fundraising in areas”. Overall, there was a shortfall of 13,000 euro. Costs had increased and, with funds not hitting targets, some cutbacks were necessary. There was a range of capital expenditure carried out during the year too, including major expenditure on the main pitch bringing it up to International standard. Sharon urged “all members to utilise the wonderful facilities” at the club and “to support our fundraising endeavours”. New ideas regarding fundraising will be welcome. A tight rein must be maintained on outgoings while fundraising must be improved if the club is “to avoid a serious deficit” in the future.

U-19 triumph highlight of Football year

Football Chairman Tom Conlon reported on the playing side of the club. The Senior squad under new coach Hendrik Marnitz won the Connacht Senior League but, despite a wonderful start to the Ulster Bank League, just missed out on promotion. However, there is now a stronger and vibrant panel with a bright future. He thanked Craig Milling, Micky Carroll and Co for their efforts.

The Development squad responded to last year’s relegation with a 100% success rate in the Connacht Junior 1B league. Here the sterling work of Brian Moore was acknowleged. The Thirds side overcame defections at the start of the season to have a reasonable Connacht League campaign. The U-21 mentors including David Henshaw and Paudge O’Donnell undertook a huge recruitment drive pre-season, which meant many more players were involved and resulting in fielding a second team at this age level. The A squad reached the national playoffs, despite some key players being unavailable for many matches due to their selection on the Senior panel.

The U-19 squad found fixtures hard to come by early on but overcame that handicap in some style, culminating in a magnificent All-Ireland Cup final triumph.The starting team on that day included no less than seven Ireland internationals; a remarkable feat. The mentors of this squad included Ronan Bushell, Tony Henshaw, Martin Cahill and Tom Farrell. They were the outstanding success story in the club this season. The U-16 team won the Connacht League title while the U-17’s had a memorable trip to France. Teams were also fielded at U-18, U-15, U-14 and U-13 with mixed results.

Tom advised the A.G.M. that the link with Athlone Institute of Technology has strengthened and “is coming together”. He lauded the work here of Joe Cleary, Charlie Couper and Gordon Brett and “this very positive development augurs well for the future”. He thanked the outgoing President “Big Pat for his inspiration and motivation” throughout the season and concluded that next year “looks like an exciting season ahead”.

Diarmuid Sloane summarised Minis rugby in which there was a huge volume of activity including Blitz festivals. However, no fundraising was done in this sector but plans are afoot to address that next season. He thanked Charlie Couper and Tom Conlon for their support as well as praising the input of Michelle O’Connor and John O’Carroll. Ted Carty’s support too was acknowledged.

Outgoing President appreciated support

Outgoing President Pat Hynes reflecting on his year in office “really appreciated all the support he got”, singling out wife Peggy and son Patrick “who afforded him the time to be here — and maybe next year too!” He thanked many of those mentioned above including Sharon, Senan, Barry, Austin, the two Micks (Cleary and Silke) and praised the work of outgoing Secretary Diarmuid Morrissey. “There would be major problems” without the input of our Ladies committee and he simply “does not know how the club would function without our Administrator Geraldine”. Pat remembered deceased members, including former President Michael Byrne, Simon Grogan and Ian Geraghty, who died during the year.

The club performed well and all fixtures were fulfilled. The U-19 success was a great way to finish the season. He thanked “all coaches and mentors right down the club”. Fundraising was “tough, and some supporters put their hands in their own pockets”. Dubarry, Athlone Springs Hotel and ESB Electric Ireland (who unveiled their new name and logo at the U-20 Internationals hosted at the club) were thanked for their continued sponsorship.

Pat concluded by urging those present to “stay with the good work, and do it the Buccs way!”

Buccaneers R.F.C. Executive Committee 2011-12.

President                Ted Cary
Senior Vice-President        Diarmuid Morrissey
Hon. Secretary            Mark O’Reilly
Hon. Treasurer            Sharon Ball
Public Relations Officer        Michael Silke
Chairman of Facilities        Michael Cleary
Representative to
Connacht Branch IRFU        Patrick Whelan
Youths/Minis Representative    Fintan O’Reilly
Membership Chairperson        Ken Flanagan
Trustees Representative        Richard Quirke
Sitting Executive IRFU        Leo Galvin

TRUSTEE CHANGES

Two long serving Trustees of the club have recently resigned. Dermot Fitzpatrick, who was club captain in 1971-3 and president in 1978-9, tendered his resignation at the A.G.M. He played at hooker on Athlone teams defeated in Connacht Senior Cup and Junior Cup finals. Derry has had a significant influence in both Athlone and Buccaneers through his coaching and nurturing of young players for more years than he probably wishes to remember and, undoubtedly, his encouraging involvement will continue there for many seasons ahead.

Paddy enjoyed better luck in Connacht Cup finals featuring at centre in Athlone’s first ever Senior Cup success in the 1955 final win over Galwegians and at outhalf in the Junior Cup triumph over Corinthians in 1960. He also played in two Junior Cup finals for Roscommon, losing in 1951 after extra time to Corinthians but rebounding in 1953 to overcome U.C.G.

The club thanks both for their sterling service over many decades and wishes them all the best in the future. Meanwhile, David Egan who was club president in 2000-1 joins Dick Quirke and Tony Lowry as club trustees and we wish him good luck in his new role. 

DRAW

The Club Draw took place after the A.G.M. and the following are the lucky prize-winners:-
1st        3,000 euro    DAVID POWER
2nd        2,000 euro    TERESA SILKE
3rd        1,000 euro    CAOIMHE HOWLEY

The club thanks all who generously supported this vital fund-raising Draw.

GOOD LUCK, DANIEL

Good luck to Daniel Qualter and his Ireland teammates in their quest for glory at the World Junior Cup (U-20) which takes place in Italy this month. Four Connacht players are included in the squad.

TAG RUGBY

TAG RUGBY kicks off in earnest on this Thursday evening at 7 p.m. The enrollment and introduction night last week drew a decent attendance. There is a big increase in teams participating this summer with 16 entries confirmed and they will enjoy nine weeks of fixtures with entertainment laid on to wind up each night.

SUMMER CAMPS

Two Summer Rugby Camps are lined up at Dubarry Park with a traditional type one week camp taking place from Monday, July 25th to Friday 29th daily from 9.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. This camp will be run by IRFU qualified coaches and is open to boys and girls aged 6 to 13 years old. Items covered will include coaching on skills, kicking, passing and tackling. Cost is just 40 euro per child.

Prior to that, a one day ‘South African Summer Rugby Camp’ for boys and girls U-13 and U-14 takes place at the club on Monday, June 20th from 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. There will be skills sessions and fun games and matches. Cost is just 20 euro which includes BBQ and free Gilbert rugby ball so that seems remarkably good value indeed.

To register your booking for either Camp, contact Conor Galvin 087-7675082 or our Administrator Geraldine 086-1732711 as early as possible.

BRENDA, BARACK AND A BUCCS HAT!

BRENDA McLAUGHLIN and a group from St. Hilda’s Special School in Athlone headed off to Dublin to attend the welcoming ceremony for U.S. President Barack Obama at St. Stephen’s Green recently.  They were accommodated in a special enclosure near the stage and after the speeches President Obama did a bit of ‘meet and greeting’. The Athlone contingent, including Brenda, were among those lucky enough to shake hands with the President and, in an impromptu gesture, Brenda presented him with the yellow Buccaneers hat she was wearing. He promised he would bring it back to the White House where he would “wear it while gardening!” Fair play to you, Brenda.

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