BUCCANEERS RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB reflected on a relatively successful season at the club’s Annual General Meeting which was held in The Bounty at Dubarry Park on Friday. The AGM was presented in a slick and efficient manner and, with nothing contentious or controversial in prospect, the modest attendance had the business concluded within one hour.

The Minutes of the previous year’s A.G.M. were considered and adopted and thus it was promptly on to Honorary Secretary Mark O’Reilly’s comprehensive report on the year’s activities. He commenced by noting the significant impact at underage, both in numbers playing and successes as well as better integration, helped by now having two representatives on the club’s Executive Committee. There was a wide spread of success on the playing fields where the Senior team qualified for a promotion play-off whilst six provincial titles were won.

“Fundraising is a concern every year”, he stated, but “progress was made through great effort and new initiatives.” He continued that “hopefully we can reach a situation in the near future where membership subscriptions are paid” by all and in good time. “The future of Ireland’s U-20 international fixtures in Athlone is again in the balance” and the club has made representations to the IRFU to continue hosting these prestigious matches. Hopefully, the club’s application will be successful. Further enhancement and expenditure has been carried out on the two side pitches and “is an investment that is very worthwhile”. He thanked Michael Cleary, Austin Reid and their team for their significant work on our pitches and facilities during the season.

The Secretary noted with gratitude “the generosity, commitment and enthusiastic involvement of our sponsors” particularly ground sponsors Dubarry of Ireland and title sponsors Audi Athlone. The contribution of those with pitch hoardings, took tables at pre-matches, sponsored matches or jerseys, advertised in our programme or supplied materials were thanked.  Members should support these firms and individuals where possible.

The Ladies Committee, referees, the Executive Committee personnel, parents who drive players to matches or provide tea/sandwiches, and those who represent the club at branch and national levels were all thanked by the Secretary, who singled out the club’s administrator Geraldine Kenny for special merit. The input of all who served on football matters, be it coaches, managers, mentors or volunteering in other capacities was also acknowledged while Mark concluded by complementing Frank Sheeran on “the great energy, effort and involvement” as President. He “made a massive impact and always found time to thank people”.

The Honorary Treasurer Gerard McLaughlin’s report was next to be considered by the attendance. Income and Expenditure were both down a little but he was able to report a modest surplus of €467. Membership Subscriptions, when club and Pirates are combined, remained more or less level with the previous season. But some sectors of memberships were not contributing on par with others although this is improving. Gate receipts were down, which seems a common problem for most clubs, while light and heat costs rose by 20%. With on-going rising costs here, usage needs to be better monitored. The club’s Lotto steadied but really needs to be driven on. In conclusion, Gerry “very much appreciated and valued our sponsors” and he particularly acknowledged the work done by our President Frank and Administrator Geraldine.

The Football Report was divided in three sections with Minis Co-Ordinator Brian Tallon reporting on “stronger numbers than ever with beginners almost doubling”. Coaching improved but more coaches are always welcome. A ‘Midlands Minis Floodlit Festival’ was a successful innovation and the club participated in a dozen blitzes. Buccaneers recently won the Athlone St. Patrick’s Day Parade award for best Sporting Organisation and the Minis section provided mascots for all Ireland U-20 and Buccaneers AIL home matches. He thanked club captain Alex Hayman for attending the recent end-of-season underage awards event.

Youths Secretary Paul Brosnan was proud to confirm that most teams enjoyed some success and the club fielded two squads at U-14 level in which they won the Connacht U-14 League. The U-16s won the U-17B League, the U-17s captured the Connacht Cup and the U-19s took the Plate honours. Four Youths players represented Ireland during the season. Cousins Conor and Colin Kenny played at U-18 grades while Cian Romaine and Rory Moloney were selected on the U-19 squad. Rory captained this Ireland team as well as making regular appearances with Buccs Senior XV.

Chairman of Football Ray Fagan completed the football report. The Womens squad continued their sterling efforts despite losing some key personnel for a variety of reasons. The Thirds triumphed in the Connacht J2 League and achieved promotion to Division 1C. The Seconds suffered from a bad start but remained in contention for most of their league campaign. The U-20s had a splendid league record. Although ‘handicapped’ to play two-thirds of their games away from home, they won all matches (including a victory over eventual champions Cork Constitution) bar one as they reached the All-Ireland quarter-finals. These young Buccs then won the Connacht U-20 Cup. The Senior side finished second in Division 1B of the Ulster Bank League but missed out on promotion in the playoff. A primarily youthful squad with a strong spine of local talent had a decent season that included home and away wins over Shannon. He also congratulated Athlone Institute of Technology on winning the Irish Colleges Senior Cup crown. Four adult players played on various Ireland teams during the season — Robbie Henshaw (Senior), Rory Moloney (U-20), Jacob Walshe (U-20) and Niamh Ni Dhroma (Womens Elite Sevens) – a highly commendable number.

Ray thanked all the coaches and managers, especially Tony Dolan, Paul Flanagan, Jude Lennon and Derek Lackey. Cian Moran, Pat Hynes, Micky Carroll and Martin Webster were others who had contributed significantly. Fixtures Secretary Pat Whelan and Ted Carty were thanked together with all involved in maintaining the pitches and facilities, as were Jacqui Pears for managing the kit, the Ladies Committee and the crew at The Bounty. Geraldine Kenny was duly praised again for “an absolutely brilliant job” as was Frank Sheeran for his “trojan work that helped make football tasks easier”.  

Outgoing President Frank Sheeran thanked “all for their fantastic support. The successful season stemmed from the commitment of so many volunteers from the bottom up”. He concurred with previous speakers that our Administrator’s efforts were often “way above the call of duty” and he too was extremely grateful for the continued generosity of our sponsors particularly Audi Athlone and Dubarry.

RAY FAGAN elected President

While voters may have been confused with all their options in the Euro and local elections also taking place on the day, there was no such problems at Dubarry Park when the election of officers for the upcoming season followed! This season all Executive positions had nominations which augurs well for the season ahead with Ray Fagan being named President. He was thrilled with this “great honour” and vowed to “give the role his best shot”. He was “looking forward to the challenge” and thanked his predecessor who had set such high standards.

Dubliner Ray has been involved in rugby for over 40 years, having played with Old Belvedere and CYM where he was also honoured with the Presidency. Married to Athlonian Mary, his first involvement in the club was a result of his sons David and Brendan taking up underage rugby here. They also have two daughters Alison and Emma. Ray, a Level 2 coach, was quickly immersed in coaching at Minis and Youths before progressing to the Seconds and U-20s. He also coached Marist College and Athlone Community College squads and was Connacht Branch U-13 and U-15 League Secretary whilst also representing the club as Underage Representative to the Connacht Branch and being Schools and Youths Liasion Officer there. Ray has also served as Minis Co-Ordinator, Youths Secretary and Bar Manager for the club as well, of course, as being Chairman of Football this past season.

BUCCANEERS RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Season 2014/15

President                                                                              Ray Fagan

Senior Vice-President                                                       Joseph Browne

Junior Vice-President                                                       Eddie Walshe

Honorary Secretary                                                          Mark O’Reilly

Assistant Secretary                                                            Patrick Kenny

Honorary Treasurer                                                         Gerard McLaughlin

Assistant Treasurer                                                           Claire Wyper

Public Relations Officer                                                  Michael Silke

Chairman of Football                                                       Cian Moran

Chairman of Facilities                                                     Michael Cleary

Membership Secretary                                                     Ken Flanagan

Commercial and Marketing Chairperson                   Yvonne O’Shea

Youths Representative                                                      Paul Brosnan

Minis Representative                                                        Brian Tallon

Senior Representative to the Connacht Branch         Ted Carty

Nominee to the Irish Rugby Football Union               Leo Galvin          

JAMIE HEASLIP visits Dubarry Park

Heaslip

Leinster, Ireland and Lions star JAMIE HEASLIP was a hugely popular visitor to Buccaneers Minis final training session of the season at Dubarry Park. The 65-times Ireland cap is a brother of Graham, who is a coach to Buccs U-8s and Graham’s sons James and Richard are rising stars in the Pirates’ Minis ranks. Winner of 3 Heineken Cups with Leinster and the 1,000th Senior player capped by Ireland, Heaslip gave freely of his time to pose for photos and sign jerseys on his visit, for which the club is extremely grateful.

‘7s in the city’ this Saturday afternoon

Ireland’s first Womens only Sevens tournament “7s in the city” takes place in Dubarry Park, Athlone, on this bank holiday Saturday May 31st beginning at 1 p.m. A dozen or more clubs are already confirmed for this event which is sponsored by Smith’s Supervalu and Michael Moore Car Sales. Three competitions are scheduled – Open, Junior and U-18.

Blackrock College, Tullamore, Carlow Coyotes, Railway Union and Old Belvedere are among the top contenders. Portlaoise, Carrick-on-Suir, Tuam and Canterbury Warriors (an amalgamation of Longford and Carrick-on-Shannon) are also participating as are, of course, the ladies of host club Buccaneers!

Mele Kiripati 0863462449, Claire Wyper 0879401336 and Sandra Griffin 0870925504 are the driving forces behind this event and they have left no stone unturned in their efforts to ensure the tournament proves successful. Hopefully, they will be blessed with kind weather as they have BBQ, pig on a spit, ice cream van, face painting and music lined up. Endeavouring to make it a ‘family day’, various games will be organised on the day. The organising trio can be contacted at the above numbers. They would appreciate help from more volunteers (male or female); anyone available to assist is asked to contact Geraldine at 0861732711. Registration Fee includes lunch and goody bag for each player. Further info on link at www.buccaneersrfc.com  So, come along and enjoy the sport; admission is free.

TAG RUGBY SUMMER LEAGUE kicks off

BUCCANEERS TAG RUGBY SUMMER LEAGUE kicks off in earnest on this Thursday evening at 7 p.m. The registration/induction evening was relatively successful despite the inclement weather and, hopefully, conditions will be brighter and drier this week. Two leagues (one competitive and the other for social teams) are being organised and, at time of writing, it looks like a full entry list of 24 teams participating. Matches are 40 minutes duration between 7-a-side teams from a squad of 13 players. 3 female players must be on pitch at all times in this lively sport. Log on to link at www.buccaneersrfc.com  There will be social interaction after the matches each night and The Bounty has a ‘bottle of beer & burger’ offer for just €5.

RUCKS & MAULS!

Congrats to Diarmuid Sloane on hitting the half century! Well done too to Tony Dolan who (along with Terenure College’s James Blaney) is one of only two non-professionally contracted coaches participating in the IRFU’s Level 5 Coaching Course. Best of luck to Eddie O’Sullivan on his appointment as head coach with Olympique Bordeaux while injury has forced former Buccs player Paul Warwick to retire.

CONDOLENCES

Deepest sympathy is extended to Kathleen and Hugh Conlon and family on the death of Kathleen’s  mother Mary Mullins. Condolences also to the Teape family, Clonark, on the death of Edwin (Sonny) Teape.

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