Welcome to Lansdowne FC!! Words I have been chomping at the bit to say to members, visitors and guests for the last 18 months. Thankfully as I write we are able to welcome all back to the club and are almost through the worst of it! it is looking like towards the end of October 2021 we should be back on the path to normality!
First and foremost, it is my great honour that the members and officers of Lansdowne FC have put me forward for and elected me to a second term as President of this great club. This could not have happened without the encouragement and cooperation of my Vice Presidents who facilitated and agreed without hesitation to put my name forward, special thanks to Stephen Rooney whose year it was meant to be but selflessly returned to the role of Junior Vice President. Whilst we saw no rugby last year, it was a busy time for the club executive who still had a club to run and on behalf of all of our members I would to thank last season’s executive along with Michael Diskin and Elayne Power in the office who kept the club on a sound footing and managed to steer us calmly through troubled waters. Thank you all!
If our 18 months away from the club taught us anything, it reinforced how much we love the club game, how we missed the comradery and chat with our friends and visitors on match day in the club. I have received so many calls from people delighted to be back watching rugby and sorting out the world’s problems in the bar. Lansdowne FC is a special place, a place with great history, a family club enjoyed by all and missed when taken away and made unavailable to us. Lansdowne is a club for life, a club that means so much to us all. It is a club ran by members for the enjoyment of members. A club where excited kids bring their parents to mini rugby in all types of weather, bright and breezy on a Sunday morning, to parents coming to watch their adult children tog out at the weekend and enjoy the occasion with family and friends on the side-lines and in the club house. We have all suffered in our own ways and as a club over the last 18 months. It was very timely and very apt that when presenting the senior squad with their jersey’s ahead of our first All-Ireland League game this season, that I was reminded of the origins of our club colours. Our Founder Henry J Dunlop, was not overly keen on our original club colours which were red and navy. Dunlop was a great admirer of the I Zingari English amateur cricket club founded in 1845 to foster the spirit of amateur cricket. This was something Dunlop admired and wanted to emulate in Lansdowne, so he decided to change our club colours to that of the I Zingari. Those colours as we all know now are black, red and gold but it is what those colours symbolize that continues almost 150 years later to be as relevant now as they were meant to be then. The colours, our colours symbolize the motto “out of darkness, through fire, into light” They are so apt as we emerge from this pandemic to a brighter future.
On and off the pitch there have been a few changes. Mark McHugh continues as Head Coach of the senior team and is assisted by Phil Horan and Damian McCabe with Mark Flanagan hanging up his boots and joining the coaching set up alongside S&C coach Dan Moore and Physio John Flanagan. Stephen Rooney continues in his role as Director of Senior Rugby as well as being Junior VP. We say goodbye to Ben Armstrong, who leaves to take up a coaching role back home in Australia in November, and we thank Ben for his time in Lansdowne both with the 20s and seniors and wish him and his wife Amy and family all the best in their future pursuits. Charlie Doel moves to Under 20’s, alongside veteran head coach Declan Fassbender with Rhys Ruddock coming on board to assist both as well. Mark MacMahon continues his great work as Under 20’s Director of Rugby. Good numbers continue at under 20’s and Seb Berti and Clive Ross take control of the Pennant under 20’s and past president Kieran Mulligan is also on board helping with the pennant squad. Phil Donnellan moves up to take charge of the J1’s whilst Mick Quinn Junior, Dave Tunney and Director of Junior Rugby Ian Hopkins continue to oversee our expanding group of J2’s & J3’s . Our behind the scenes team managers Paddy Gore, John Kilroy, & Brian Whelan all thankfully continue again this year.
Enda Bohan continues to work tirelessly and oversee all of rugby in his role as Chairman of Rugby. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of the coaches, players, physios and managers the very best this season. Their work on and off the field is the reason we continue to be successful at all levels. Although the seniors get most of the headlines, Lansdowne FC could not operate without the 20’s or other junior teams they are part of our DNA and as important as each and every other team within the club.
Our minis and youths continue to be a huge success story, with almost 450 mini & youths all proudly wearing the Lansdowne jersey. A huge thank you to all the parents and coaches involved and especially to Brian Moran who oversees our mini and youth set up and all who give their time so generously to develop the next generation. It is both great and scary to see second and third generation minis such as the Twomey’s, Quinn’s, Gahan’s, McCarron’s, O’Connor’s, Whelan’s, Smyth’s, Forrest’s, Lee’s and Geraghty’s to name but a few with a special mention to my godson Harry Glennon. The future is in safe hands!
It is wonderful that we, as a club, continue attract so many different types of people from all types of backgrounds from all over the country to Lansdowne. Our recent successful Senior Leinster League team had 9 different counties represented in the squad with just under 75% coming through our 20’s system and a growing number coming through again from our mini and youths. Great to see!
We were delighted to have 4 players, Mark Roche, Ian Fitzpatrick, Foster Horan and Adam Leavy represent Ireland at the Summer Olympics with the national 7’s side. Tadgh Beirne continued his amazing progression to become a British and Irish Lion, a proud moment for him and his family and a very proud moment for Lansdowne FC to have Tadgh as a player. Similarly, Ronan Kelleher got called into the Lions squad but unfortunately did not get capped but great recognition for Ronan and we congratulate them both on a fantastic achievement. Congratulations to Dan Sheehan and Harry Byrne who have progressed in the provincial ranks and hopefully will soon burst onto the international stage as well. Congratulations also to Temi Lasisi and Mark Hernan who, along with another former mini and youth player Lee Baron (now with DUFC), have all received Leinster Academy contracts. Greg McGrath has been contracted with Connacht and Cillian Redmond secured a deal with London Irish, well done and best of luck to all. We also had a number of players with the Leinster 18’s, 19’s and 20’s during the summer and we will see them progress through the 20’s and seniors this season and beyond.
I am delighted to welcome Jack O’Sullivan as captain for the upcoming season, Jack is someone I know very well and have tracked him as a player since his Castleknock days where he also captained his Senior Cup Team & was always destined to be a Lansdowne club captain. Jack who has also captained Lansdowne under 20’s typifies a Lansdowne man. His spirit , enthusiasm and commitment are unwavering he is focused and determined to be the best he can be on and off the field. I have been very lucky in my two seasons as President that I have had two men who represent themselves, their families and Lansdowne FC with pride and to the best of their ability. Jack O’Sullivan continues in that vein where Jack Dwan left off as the captain for the previous two years. Men that make you proud to be part of Lansdowne FC.
The legend, the myth that is Joe Leddin steps down from his tenure as a club trustee and is replaced by the very capable former Club Chairman Michael Ryan who also chairs our 150th committee and brings a different skill set to the group ensuring that the club is in safe hands. Joe as always remains and will continue to work away in the background in his own unique way. Michael joins a group of trustees who take the guardianship of our club very seriously and we are extremely lucky to have such a strong group of trustees’ and I thank them for their continued great service to Lansdowne FC
We are blessed throughout the club to have very capable and hardworking people in all of the key areas of the club. Such as our Honorary Secretary Kieran Walsh and Treasurer Karl Cleere along with our Club Registrar Noel Boyle and Fixtures Secretary Ricky Geraghty, Gerry Maloney continues his great work being our rep for Ballycorous and Mick Daly and Mick O’Brien continue to record and write our history as we continue to make more every week. We are also lucky to have great staff in the club with Elayne, Michael and Louis proving invaluable and going above and beyond for the good of the club. To them and others too numerous to name thank you for your continued great work on all things Lansdowne. We owe all a huge thank you!
Thank you to our main club sponsors Zurich who have supported us through thick and thin and along with all of our various corporate sponsors we are extremely grateful for your continued support which is vital in our day to day running of the club. Thank you all.
We thank all of you have supported the club through the club draw and Your Club Your Country draw. These are vital fund raisers for the club, and I would ask all those that can to support both.
Finally, I wish to thank my wife Liz and daughter Meghan, my friends, family and fellow Lansdowne members who have helped, advised and put up with me over the years and allowed me to continue with my passion and being involved in all things Lansdowne FC. To those members, we have lost in the past year, and unfortunately there have been too many, please accept all of our sincere condolences. Life is too short so let us continue to look out for and support each other in the here and now. I look forward to seeing all on the side lines and in the clubhouse in the very near future. #LFCTID
Yours in rugby,