Message from the Executive Chairman, Pat Finn
I would like to take this opportunity to check in with our Blackrock College RFC family. To our members, players, coaches, staff, and supporters, I hope this message finds you all well and in good health. I am sure, like me, you are missing Blackrock rugby and all the camaraderie that it brings. It is times like these that remind us how important rugby and our place in the community really is. With several of our members still in isolation, and a feeling of uncertainty for all, it is important that we continue to look after one another. If there is anything that people need please reach out and we will help in any way we can, be it shopping or simply just a chat over the phone. Blackrock College RFC is an amazing community of great people, and just as we support the team through good and bad times, we must support each other through these unprecedented times as well.
It has been an honour to serve as the Executive Chairman for the 2019/20 season, a season we won’t soon forget… a season which wasn’t meant to be (due to a global pandemic), a season which left us with a disappointing, abrupt ending… but it was also a season that saw incredibly positive gains on the pitch, in player and coach recruitment and retention, and the addition of the new “Lucey Park” all-weather pitch.
Currently, the grounds at Stradbrook are secured and being maintained while we remain closed in line with government guidelines and until further notice. The IRFU has directed rugby clubs not to operate any rugby activity or organised training during Phase 1 of the Roadmap to Reopening.
While there may not be rugby being played, the Executive Committee are continuing to meet virtually. We await the guidance of both the government and the IRFU on the decision to open our doors again, but in the meantime, we are planning for the season ahead. For safety reasons and to assure as many members are in attendance as possible, please note that the AGM is postponed until later in the summer. We will notify members when the date has been scheduled. Last week should have been our annual dinner, a celebratory end of season where we come together to raise a toast (or several!) to the club and its players and members. At this time, I would like to congratulate Hannah O’Connor on her tremendous AIL Women’s Player of the Year win, a well-deserved award we would have so happily celebrated at the dinner. We look forward to the day we can congratulate Hannah, in person.
When we can return to rugby, we will be invigorated for an exciting 2020/21 season, a season of hope and possibilities, a chance to build on the strength of the last season where both the men’s and women’s XV teams were third in the respective tables (with plenty of rugby to still be played). We look forward to the return of our men’s first XV Head Coach James Blaney and all our players, coaches and management. Competing in the competitive Men’s AIL 2B division will be a challenge which we look forward to, along with the great atmosphere experienced at local derbies against Greystones, Wanderers and Malahide again, and hopefully another overnight in Sligo or Galway. Following this week’s announcement, we are pleased to welcome the newest addition to the Rock family, Women’s Head Coach Ben Martin.
As always, there is a huge cost to running a rugby club, but especially so during a global pandemic. While we are exploring all avenues for financial support to help our club survive the crisis caused by Coronavirus, this will be a very serious challenge. With the indefinite postponement of two major fundraisers, April’s Ladies Lunch and the Golf Outing, and the uncertainty of any future events, coupled with the loss of any all-weather rental income, I must stress how important membership and player subscriptions are. I also appeal to the Life Members to pay the 275 subscription as a gesture of support. We will soon be releasing the link to renew and pay your 2020/21 season sub, and we would be most grateful for a positive response.
Looking at the silver lining of the current situation, I believe that this provides us with an opportunity to renew our passion and support for Blackrock College RFC- by getting behind our club and putting it back in the centre of our community, where it belongs.
Best wishes in health and rugby,
Blackrock College RFC advises all our members, players, coaches and volunteers to follow the HSE for the most up to date guidelines, to enforce social distancing and practice hand hygiene at all times