Letter from Our President
As President of Blackrock College RFC I am delighted to welcome you all to Stradbrook for the 2023-24 season.
It is a privilege to take up this role on the back of such great success and momentum from our men and women’s teams and I am extremely grateful to be given this opportunity – it is both an exciting and daunting challenge considering the calibre of my predecessor John Colclough and the entire executive committee who put so much into this club.
While the club entered last season in an optimistic mindset, fresh on the back of promotion to Division 2A for the Men’s First squad, it is a mark of their character that they never settled for that and we are now entering this season on the back of another promotion – this time back up to 1B. I won’t burden the team, coaches and management with the question on everyone’s mind (dare we dream) but I will say that this is a team with an attitude worth backing. I wish Mick Hearty, James Blaney, Stan McDowell and the recently returned Ian Madigan ably supported by Manager John Colclough the very best of luck for the coming season. I also wish to recognise the support of Mark Fallon, Ian Connaughton and Tristan Wood – these are the people who give so much of their time and are not centre stage, thank you guys.
The Men’s Second XV are managed by Aidan Finn and coached by Joe Halpin for this season – we wish them both the very best of luck and of course we extend this to all the players.
Our Women’s team are also off the back of another hugely impressive season with the AIL win in December leaving them as the undefeated, reigning champions. However they also marked another significant milestone on November 5th last year where they celebrated 30 years of women’s rugby in Blackrock. It is great to see the achievements of the current women’s squad aligned to the vision of the pioneering group of women who started all of this three decades ago. It’s an extraordinary journey and one which does the club proud. I wish Ben Martin and Jen Moore, along with all the players another successful season.
I also wish Mark MacGinty and Paul Graham success with the Under 20s. This is an important age group for any club as the bridge between school and senior rugby. It is an opportunity to start player’s participation in club rugby in a positive way and the squad deserve all the support the club can give it to achieve this.
Our underage structure, comprising of both youths and minis, is another source of pride and inspiration. As a club we ran our own rugby camps under the guidance of Ian Madigan this summer for the very first time and saw first hand that we have a great opportunity to grow this critically important base of players. People want to come to Blackrock RFC and we need to support all avenues to get them here and then keep them.
To all new players joining the club – you are very welcome. I hope you, your families and friends experience what makes this club great – success but also fun and the company of good people.
To all our sponsors, a sincere thank you. The club is a commercial entity and requires commercial support, for this we are extremely grateful. I would also like to welcome back for their second year Blackrock AFC and congratulate them on their promotion. Success breeds success!
To our loyal supporters – thank you. Your commitment and belief over the years is why we are here, I hope you see it as time well spent!
I briefly touched on this but a debt of gratitude must go towards the team in the background ensuring the show goes on! To Pat Finn (Chairman), Mick Hearty (Director of Rugby), the entire executive committee and particularly Conor and Molly in the office – thank you. I never appreciated how much you all did until I saw it first-hand these past few months.
A personal thank you to last season’s President, John Colclough, for convincing me this was an appointment I’d thank him for. I suspect he’s right – time will tell!
Finally, to all our visitors I wish you a day of good hospitality and friendship. I hope we witness some great rugby with the welfare of the players front and centre. See you out there.
President of Blackrock RFC, 2023-2024