On behalf of Railway Union RFC, it gives me great pleasure to extend a very warm welcome to all members, players, coaches, dedicated volunteers, visiting teams and supporters.
I am privileged to be involved with Railway for the last nine years, both on and off the field, and I am honoured to continue my Presidency into the 2021/2022 Season.
In our eight season in the Energia AIL, we have finally been recognised as a senior club. This is the first time in our 117th year that we can say that.
This recognition of equality was tremendously important to me, our members and players. We also know it is tremendously important for the progress of the women’s game in Ireland, in terms of both representation and resources. There is much yet to do for women’s rugby in Ireland and we will continue to strive for higher standards and a voice for the players in how their game is run.
We look forward to welcoming clubs who will now be senior by virtue of their Women’s 1st XV playing in the Energia AIL. I am particularly looking forward to welcoming our old friends Wicklow in their first season in the competition and our new friends from Ballincollig, where we have so many connections not least being our former club captain Vinnie Browne, who will have their first visit to Sandymount.
As a club we have come such a long way in the last number of years and it has taken an enormous effort.
To our committees and volunteers throughout the club I would like to express sincere thanks and applaud them for their passion, dedication and innovation that continues to grow and develop our club and I look forward to working alongside them this season. We will continue to strive to offer our players the very best high performance facilities and player pathway.
To Mike and our men’s sides as their prepare for Leinster and Metro league campaigns, good luck. I know you’ve had an excellent start at pre-season and I’m confident that this will pay dividend come season end.
I also want to wish JC and our women’s sides, who seek to defend both an AIL and a Leinster division 1 title, the best of luck too. Their program is, quite frankly, outstanding and unprecedented for women’s rugby in Ireland. The dedication of our athletes, the coaches and the management team are a credit to themselves, our club and to our community.
With a World Cup on the horizon, I am sure many of you will have just reward.
All our teams are ably supported by JR and his player welfare team, who continue their trojan work and for which we are all grateful.
Like all clubs, we remain enormously grateful to our sponsors and partners, without whose significant support we would have difficulty running our various programs for the benefit and enjoyment of all of our community.
We will have a number of new initiatives this season. Our Inclusion Rugby team will start in September, having missed its debut in April 2020 due to Covid. Our #ChangeTheGame event, which was also postponed, will take place this year. Our Futures program , which provides equity of opportunity for female age-grade athletes, and a to-be-announced inclusivity initiative will be big additions to our community. These are some of the things we are very excited about.
It will be almost therapeutic to get back on a pitch or a sideline watching rugby again. Normality finally returning after such a difficult time for the country. This season more than ever, I am looking forward to meeting you all in person and watching people re-connect through the love of our sport.
President, Railway Union RFC