| Hubie Gallagher
It is a huge honour and privilege to become the President of Greystones Rugby club. I am very humbled to have been asked to be President of the Club and it was not without some trepidation that I said yes to Tony Tierney, 3 days after he called me. I realise that being President can take on many different guises and that each President will inevitably bring his own style and ideas to the role. I believe in inclusiveness, sportsmanship, and volunteerism. I feel that while we are a fantastic club there are still areas where we can continue to improve and become a shining example and a leader for others to follow. Above all I want to see a club where members are involved and happy to socialise in, where there will be pride and loyalty in the Club and where the Club can contribute positively to many peoples lives, both within the Club itself, but also in the surrounding Greystones Community. This is my vision for the Club and I hope all members feel the same.
As someone who joined the Club straight from school in 1980/81, I had the privilege of playing with many of the greats of Greystones rugby, some on their way up like Reggie Corrigan and others enjoying 'retirement' in the Junior ranks like Des Guifoyle and Tony Tierney. We were ably supported by a cohort of alicadoos who were always available to give 'advice'. As a young man I swore I would never become an alicadoo however I now find myself officially in that role!
Last season Paddy Elliott was President. I would like to pay a small and heartfelt tribute to Paddy. it is no exaggeration to say that while every President to date has done Greystones proud, Paddy has been one of the best Presidents the Club has ever seen. Modest, self effacing, but with a strong vision of where he feels Greystones should be as a Club, Paddy has supported and been present at games at every level in the Club from U7s to our new Ladies and our Greystones Seagulls team. He has greeted every referee, and made every visitor feel very welcome in Greystones. He has presided over a total of 6 Leinster pennants this year including a fantastic treble from our U19s. He epitomises the ethos and tradition of Greystones RFC and will be a very hard act to follow not that I haven't been reminded of that by about a thousand members already!! If he has a fault, I haven't been able to find one yet!. I did however hear a club member moan that it's 'very hard to drink a pint comfortably with the President while he sips a cup of tea'! Thank you Paddy it has been an honour and privilege to be your understudy this year. I am sure Joy will be delighted to have you back.
That the Club is thriving in the midst of a recession is down to the hard work of our Executive Committee. As senior vice-president last year I was privileged to become part of that committee and see for myself the selfless generosity of time and spirit contributed to the club by the committee.
This Club is run extremely well by any standards. Unlike many clubs, in Leinster and elsewhere, our finances are in good order. Our debt is being actively managed and we are running within our budgets. This is a huge achievement and puts us in a good position to maintain and continue to improve our facilities. I would like to pay particular tribute to Peter Butler our Chairman who has led the Executive for the last 3 years and who has has made the Club his second home. I would also like to thank his wife Eileen who also contributes greatly to our ladies events and who tolerates his absences from home. Thankfully for me Peter has agreed to stay on for another year. I can only say that this is excellent news for the Club
It would be wrong to say that Peter does all the work but his ability to organise and delegate has been outstanding. Our Club Secretary Wendy McGlashan likewise is ruthlessly efficient in organising our meetings and maintaining our paperwork and documentation. Her efforts are greatly appreciated. Shane Power keeps our books and budgets in order. Ali Toolan is stepping down as marketing director but is remaining on the Jubilee sub-committee to help plan any celebrations for our diamond anniversary. Peter McParland is our club PRO making sure we get plenty of publicity within the community. I would also like to thank all other members of the executive, our Junior rugby representative Ricky Wogan, and our youths and minis coordinator Gary Nolan. Conor Gormley has done a great job as Director of Rugby. He and Linda are having another baby in July and we hope all goes well for them in that endeavour. Thank you Conor for your time and efforts. Clive Woollam is standing down as our pavilion director. We thank him for all his efforts. Our Leinster representative is Joe Boyle who coordinates things for us at Leinster branch level and lastly but by no means least our excellent club manager Eddie Lonergan. The efforts you make to help the club a success are greatly appreciated. I would also like to pay tribute to Greg Lynch who with Gary Nolan has had a huge input into raising the standards of coaching at the youths and minis level. Greg is going to coach Wanderers next season and we wish him every success. I would like to welcome Taragh Hanley and Tim Hazelton onto the executive as Marketing and Pavilion Directors respectively.
I am delighted to welcome Reggie Corrigan and Niall Woods back again as Senior Team coaches. The Senior XV had a good season last year and were in with a promotion chance right up until the last day. The experience gained last year should have us very competitive and hopefully operating at the top end of the table again. With a little more luck we should go a lot closer this season. At the time of writing the Club Captain has not been appointed but I would like to thank Barry Holmes for all his contributions to date. He has been an excellent captain and his presence at the U15 league final was much noted and appreciated by those young players on the day.
At this point I would like to acknowledge the generosity of all our sponsors who support us through the year. Without their support the club could not function to the standard to which we aspire. Our club is a community club embedded in Greystones and supported by many individuals and local businesses. I would ask all members to support our sponsors and to let them know that you appreciate the support they give to the club and that their support is a reason why you are using their services, whether in Greystones, Bray or the wider Wicklow area.
Jack Kyle was guest of honour at our Club dinner. He was thrilled to be present, but above all he could not get believe how well our club was run, how hospitable and friendly were its members. He thought clubs such as ours were long gone but he was delighted to see that the Greystones of today is still imbued with all the old traditions, spirit and hospitality. This is no accident. Greystones has always been a friendly club. When I was playing every team who visited commented on the generosity of the Club and it's members. Vincent and Margaret Byrne led the hospitality in those days with meals after games for the players followed by some craic in the bar. In these difficult times it is easy to go home after matches but we would like to maintain the Greystones tradition of hospitality, with the warmest of welcomes before matches, a roasting on the pitch, followed by a cooling off with a few pints with our opponents afterwards. Vincent and Margaret were a hard act to follow but Eddie Lonergan has done a fantastic job with our pre match lunches and I would encourage members to get together and support your club by joining the pre-match and indeed post match celebrations. It's a great way to meet old friends, make new friends and enjoy an afternoon.
We celebrate the 75th anniversary of our foundation this coming season and we are indebted to Eric Archer and his friends who co-founded this club in 1937. Throughout 75 years the club has flourished and gone from strength to strength. We are now a flourishing club with more than 1100 members and our Minis and Youths section has in excess of 600 children every weekend. We honour Eric Archer our surviving founder member, who was incidentally also involved in the formation of Rathdrum. We plan to have a gala dinner here in the Club at the end of the coming season with up to 500 people to celebrating the night in a marquee outside.
We have a Jubilee cup which we hope to use as a trophy for a new club competition at J1 level involving Arklow, Wicklow and Rathdrum. This will take place in August during the pre-season and will be an all day affair ending in a BBQ in the evening. This will be a Wicklow County Championship and will rotate around the clubs every 4 years. We may also decide to add in a U19s or U21s component. We hope this will continue to foster good relationships with our local neighbours and be mutually beneficial for all involved.
Funding for the Club continues to be an major issue for capital projects. There are many things the club needs to develop in the future that will involve capital investment, things such as improving disabled access, better facilities for our female players, an improved gym for our players, and pitch renovation. Such improvements require significant capital investment. To that end the government has announced a capital sports programme whereby sports clubs can apply for funding for capital investment in the sports facilities in the club. Amounts granted will vary from €25k to €300k. In order to avail of these grants the club must have 15% of the total grant available in the bank before it can avail of the fund. That means for every €100k applied for 15k must be in the bank beforehand. For us to try and avail of such a funds we need to set up a capital fund similar to a sinking fund so that we can use it to show good club management should grants become available or perhaps to offset against any future loans. There is no guarantee we will be successful with our application but such a capital fund will help with planning for the long term future of the club.
We have decided to name this capital fund after our remaining founder member Eric Archer. In honour of the year we have set up the Eric Archer Jubilee Fund. We ask members to contribute if at all possible. There is no limit, high or low, but when you renew your subscription you will receive a request for a donation to the Eric Archer Jubilee Fund. There will be a box you can tick to make a donation to the Jubilee Fund. This starts at the highly original Jubilee Patron level at €75, Gold Patron at €250, Platinum Patron at €500 and a Diamond Patron level at €1000. All donations will be gratefully acknowledged and you will know that your donation will be securing the club for generations to come. I would also emphasise that these monies will be ring fenced for capital investment only.
What vision do I have for Greystones on the field? (This is where I begin to stray into alicadoo territory!) I want to see us play Greystones style rugby - fast, expansive and exciting utilising all 15, indeed all 22 team members. This rugby ethos starts at Minis, progresses at Youths and then culminates in the Senior Squad. I want players to develop to their fullest potential, and if that means losing players to the professional ranks, we should embrace their success as it will serve to enhance our reputation and profile. Of course it would be fantastic if those players retained their roots and came back at the end of their careers and contributed once more to the club. By building a strong and vibrant youth section we can maintain and enhance the strength of the Club in this community for the next number of generations.
As a member what can you do to enhance your enjoyment of the Club? Participation is the key. If you are an active member you will be at the core of the club rather than on the periphery. We want all members to be active, to participate, enjoy their time in the club, and to be a presence. In the immortal words of JFK albeit bastardised, Ask not what your Club can do for you, but what can you do for your Club! This Club runs on volunteers, if you have time or a skill we can always find a role for you that will enhance your enjoyment of the Club, and allow you to make many more friends. Can you recruit new members? Can you help on a Committee? Can you coach or manage a team? Have you a suggestion that might improve the Club? Then this Club needs you and we want you. I thank sincerely all those volunteers who already contribute hugely to the Club at many levels.
In 2037 we will celebrate our 100th anniversary. I will be 75 years old and hopefully a grandfather!!! My hope is that my grandsons and (granddaughters) will be playing here and I will be healthy enough to be watching and enjoying their successes, and also the successes of their friends on the pitch. I have made many friends in Greystones, I have had some of my most memorable moments in this Club and if there is anything I can do to improve this Club or enhance the experience for other members, I am more than willing to help, to listen, and to work to the betterment of the Club.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message. Thank you for honouring me with the presidency of Greystones RFC , I promise to do my best to further the interests of the Club and I look forward to meeting you all during the year. Paddy has left me a tough legacy to follow but I will do my utmost to work for the betterment of the club over the next 12 months.
President Greystones RFC 2012-13
Celebrating 75 years.