Message to Clontarf FC. from Pat Fitzgerald, President, IRFU, 2013-’14.
This is a momentous season for Clontarf FC having been given the honour to mark the anniversary of the 1014 Battle of Clontarf by playing the famous Barbarians in an historic game at Castle Avenue.
The unique fixture, on April 24th, 2014, takes place 1,000 years to the day since the Vikings were defeated and its staging at Castle Avenue makes a fitting statement of Clontarf ‘s status and its respected place within the local community and Dublin City itself.
On behalf of the Irish Rugby Football Union, I congratulate Derry Kealy on his election as President in this special season. I wish him and all members of this proud club every my best wishes for that game and throughout the 2013-’14 season.
I also take this opportunity to acknowledge the key role that your stalwart club member Finbarr Crowley performs for Irish rugby as an IRFU Committee member and as Chairman of the Union’s Management Board.
I pay tribute to all volunteers at Clontarf FC and throughout club rugby in appreciation of their invaluable contribution to the success of our game. But while I believe that Irish rugby generally is in good order, we face many challenges and as President I invite you to support the IRFU in its objectives as outlined in the presentation this season of the Union’s third Strategic Plan, as together I believe we can maintain our values and enrich the enjoyment we get from our game.
It set out the aspirations for Irish rugby covering the next four years to 2017 and is titled: – “From Grassroots to International success, one Island, one passion, one vision.’’ It incorporates the launch of Plan Ireland whose aim to establish the pre-eminence of the Ireland team in the top echelons of World rugby, while at the same time helping the Provinces to maintain their own levels of success.
I also urge your support for the Union’s Club Sustainability Report. One of its key recommendations is the removal of payments to players in the amateur game and which I believe are not in the best interests of the club game.
Be assured it is the determination of the Union and its Branches that our club game endures as the bedrock of Irish rugby. The professional game will always be the shop window, but I assure you that the IRFU is committed in its resolve that securing the future of the grassroots game is essential.
In this regard, I would like to thank Ulster Bank, the official Community Partner to the IRFU, which includes sponsorship of the Ulster Bank League, the Irish Club international team, the Bateman All Ireland Cup, the Ulster Bank League awards and of the Ulster Bank RugbyForce initiative.
Best wishes to all at Castle Avenue.
Pat Fitzgerald – President, Irish Rugby Football Union.