President’s Message for Season 2018-19

President’s Message Season 2018-2019

I am delighted and honoured to have been asked to serve as President of UCC RFC in this our first ever season in the Premier Division 1A of the All Ireland League. I, like so many others of you have so many happy memories of my time playing with UCC Rugby where great friendships were formed which have lasted a life time. I am very conscious that those who have enjoyed this privilege have an obligation in ensuring that the current crop of students have a similar experience playing with UCC Rugby.

Thank You

I would firstly like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my predecessor Dr.Matt Morehan. The Club owes Matt and his leadership group a significant debt of gratitude as the current success at all grades of the club would not have been possible without the diligence and hard work of this team. In addition, I would also like to sincerely thank Rory Duggan and his sponsorship committee for all their hard work in ensuring the financial well-being of the club. Last but not least a big thank you to our PR Guru, Jerome White, for his direction and advice.

Our sincere thanks to all of our Club Sponsors, without whom we would struggle. In particular, thanks to the main University sponsor, Bank of Ireland. I ask all of our members to support all of our Sponsors where possible.

Our Success on the Field

This really has been an exciting time for UCC Rugby, once again winning promotion against all the odds. The senior team came from 4thplace to beat both St Mary’s and Banbridge away in the play-offs. The team wonderfully led by coaches Brian Walsh, Steven Knoop and captain Paul Kiernan, deserves immense credit for the way in which they finished the season so strongly. This season we now face the elite clubs of Irish Rugby for the first time in the history of the AIL. I have no doubt that the Mardyke will provide a fantastic venue for these games and I would ask each and every one of you to help make the occasions memorable by adding to the atmosphere with your attendance and support.

We look forward to the exciting challenges facing us in the season to come under the guidance of this year’s Club Captain Daire Feeney, Head Coach Brian Walsh and Forwards coach, Conor Twomey. I wish them and the Senior team every success. Best of luck also for the coming season to the Women’s Captain, Niamh O’ Regan, J1 Captain, Tom Fitzgerald, J2 Captain Shane Whelan, U20’s Captain, Adam McAuliffe and their respective squads.

I would ask each of you to encourage rugby players of all abilities attending UCC to play rugby for their University whilst studying on campus. It’s a once off opportunity to play for one of the great clubs of Irish Rugby with its excellent facilities including the magnificent Mardyke Arena. UCC Rugby seeks to be a welcoming and inclusive, multi-generational community for all its members irrespective of grade, ability or age. Ours is a Club for everyone.

Player Development Programme

To sustain its success in the AIL UCC Rugby rely on attracting the best school players to play for us and the future success of our Club can be gauged by the ongoing strength of our Under 20 squad. We therefore recently established a Player Development Programmedesigned to transition and prepare schoolboy players for the requirements of adult rugby by providing state of the art strength and conditioning plans combined with expert skills coaching.  The success of our efforts is evident in the fact that 4 of our players, Jack O’Sullivan, James French, Brian O’Connor and Peter Sylvester, were selected last summer to play for Ireland in the Under 20 World Cup. In addition, our 20’s also won the Munster U20 (Donal Walsh) Cup. Much praise for this must go to our outgoing Chairman of Rugby, Conor Twomey, our Rugby Development Officer Jack Casey and our Under 20 Coach Neil Lucy for all their work in this regard.

Membership

While great work has been done on the pitch the Club now needs the active support of its Alumni off the pitch. Practical ways that you can help include ensuring you are signed-up as a Corporate Member and convincing friends and colleagues to do likewise. This season we have commissioned a high-quality club scarf which retails at €50 but will be given free of charge to all new Corporate Members as well as to Ordinary Members who upgrade to Corporate Membership. Existing Corporate Members can avail of the reduced price of €25. From now on, Corporate Members can also avail of free entry to all of our home games in the Mardyke and have priority access to International Tickets where available. Please use the enclosed membership brochure to update your details or to pass on to a potential member. Many thanks to Dr John Kenny and Peter Fitzgerald for heading up this membership drive.

When our players graduate and move on, we have identified the need to improve in our efforts in keeping in contact with them. To this end we are introducing a new category of membership which is free to young graduates for 10 years following the conclusion of their time in UCC. In this way we seek to keep recent graduates connected with their alma mater in the hope that will return as Members when their playing days have come to an end.

Colours Lunch

Please note that the annual Colours Lunchis being held on 1stDecemberthis year and we are delighted to be playing Trinity College in the fixture. Please keep this date free in your diary. In addition, I would encourage you all to come and support our pre-match lunches at the Mardyke and to feel free to bring along a guest. I would sincerely ask those Dublin based Members and Alumni to support the team in their 5 fixtures in the Capital this season.

Yours in rugby,

 Rory Bevan

President UCC Rugby Club 2018-2019

rory.bevan@gmail.com