As captain of the reigning All Ireland Champions, Clontarf FC, it is with immense pride and pleasure that I welcome all players, supporters and visiting teams to Castle Avenue for what is sure to be another enthralling season of AIL rugby. It is a great honour to be asked to captain the Senior XV for the coming year and I am sure that we will do the club proud in our campaign to retain our hold on the trophy come the end of the playoffs in May 2015.
I would also like to congratulate the other captains, players and management of our many club teams on their success last season and I look forward to our new women’s and girls’ sections growing in the coming season.
Last year was an historic year for the club following so many heartbreaks. It was a measure of the club and community that we remained competitive throughout all those disappointments and, with unwavering support, we eventually got what we so desperately sought. I cannot express how proud I felt at this achievement or how thankful I am to the players who were not there this year but gave blood, sweat and tears in recent years, and before my time, leaving an indelible mark on the team and contributing on our long path to success.
Clontarf FC is a club founded on the dedication and time commitment given by so many within the community. The support we received last year was once again of point of inspiration for the Senior XV. Our goal has not changed, we want to win the AIL. Success has not satiated our desire, it acts as a standard that we strive to maintain and improve upon. If we are to achieve our goal this year, we will need to call on this incredible support again. I have no doubt that we will receive it.
The Battle of Clontarf versus the Barbarians last year was an amazing rugby experience. Running into the Bullring, packed with over 4,000 people raised the hair on the back of my neck. My hope is that our performance that day and our success last year will inspire some of those 4,000 plus people to return to the club on a more regular basis, whether it’s a Senior XV, a J5 or a minis’ game, all support is welcome. This is a community club and is nothing without community participation.
A warm welcome to all the new faces that have joined the club; I hope you enjoy the same friendliness and hospitality that I received when joining the club 4 years ago. I wish to thank our coaching team of Andy Wood, Simon Broughton, Simon O’Donnell and Aaron Dundon, physio Niall Barry, strength and conditioning coach Barry Solan, bagman Mick Quinn, masseur Jim Barden and all the backroom staff. Your passion, commitment and dedication are hugely appreciated.
I must also thank the many people that help the club operate so successfully especially Paul Fallon, Jill O’Neill, Damaris O’Brien and the entire bar, kitchen and grounds keeping staff who couldn’t be more helpful.
To all our sponsors, in particular to our primary sponsor, Willis, I’d like to express my sincere thanks for your commitment to the club. Your generous contribution allows the club to compete and succeed at all levels, and is very much appreciated.
I hope you all enjoy your time in Castle Avenue.
Is maith an t-anlann an t-ocras. Bulls abú!
Club Captain 2014-2015