Since my last update, a lot has changed and, indeed, much has stayed the same. Off the field the Covid – 19 pandemic continues to affect our day to day lives and not in a positive way. The numbers are extremely worrying, but thankfully the death rate isn’t keeping pace. If not vaccinated already, I would appeal to you all to get vaccinated as soon as you can. To those of you in the Lansdowne family who continue to work in the frontline, and there are many, you have our gratitude and respect. To those who have suffered and lost loved ones, you have our deepest sympathies!
On a positive front, we have been delighted to run events once again in the club and bring in much needed income. I hosted the inaugural Seasca lunch in October in the Zurich Room and it was a great success. We had a large crowd of Lansdowne members spanning the generations and generally not acting their age which was great to see. Thanks to John Kearney and Elayne in the office for putting so much work into getting people there and making the day and evening very enjoyable. As requested, we will look again in late March/ early April to running another lunch and possibly a combined Daichead/Caoga as well at a later date.
We have hosted two AIL lunches and last weekend we hosted our first International with our corporate sponsors for the Japan match which was restricted more than usual due to Covid compliance measures but great to see crowds back in Lansdowne. The match was noted for Johnny Sextons 100th Irish Cap and Tadgh Furlongs 50th cap and we congratulate them both, but our focus was on Dan Sheehan getting his very first cap. Huge congratulations to Dan and his family and it was great to see them all celebrating in the club after the match. The Sheehan’s and Shaws know how to celebrate! Also, of note on the day, was that both the Irish starting hookers, Ronan Kelleher and substitute hooker, Dan Sheehan, are Lansdowne FC men, something that is very rarely seen at international level. Two finer men you couldn’t wish to represent our club, who along with former players, Tadgh Beirne and James Ryan made it 4 representatives in the Irish squad.
We welcome the All Blacks this weekend and although the stadium will host a full crowd, we are still restricted with numbers due to covid compliance in the bar and with our corporates. If you are not booked into the members bar already then you may not get entry upstairs as unfortunately, we can only have less than half of our usual crowd due to restrictions imposed on us. If space becomes available, you must first have a current membership card and a vaccination cert. Without both of these, there will be no entry, so please don’t put Elayne and Michael and the rest of the staff under pressure. They are just doing their job as instructed by the executive and complying with the law. We do have a covered Marquee and full outside bar in the car park to try and facilitate as many members and visitors as possible.
Dan was not the only Lansdowne FC man to receive his first Irish cap as David Donohue was capped in the Irish Under 18s club match away to Italy. The Irish call ups keep coming and we are delighted that Lansdowne players Charlie Tector, Sam Prendergast, Ben Popplewell and Oisin Michael have all made the Irish squad for the upcoming 6 Nations. Well, done to all and to their families on such a great achievement a proud time for all. Commiserations to those who did not make the final cut but as we know from experience, use your disappointment in a constructive manner and do your talking on the pitch and anything can happen.
We are delighted with all of our teams start to the season and the seniors sit 3rd in a tight Energia AIL division 1A league table, the same league position as the J1s in division 1 and J3s in division 5 with the J2s going the right way and climbing the Division 2 table.
The 20s stand undefeated and top of the table in the JP Fanagan Premier division but face the highly rated Old Belvedere who are also undefeated with a game in hand, in Ollie Campbell Park this Sunday at 2.30pm. The Pennant 20s are the only other team in action this weekend and they host Blackrock at home on the back pitch also on Sunday at 2.30pm. As always, your support has been great this year so far so lets keep it going and have a big turnout at both matches this Sunday.
It is a credit to our players, coaches, managers, directors of rugby and back room staff that all teams are going so well. All of them put their shoulder to the wheel for all things Lansdowne FC and long may that continue.
Great strides are also being made by the 150th committee and a special thank you to all of our 150th committee members who are doing trojan work. We will be releasing a laminated card to all members by February 2022 which will detail all events planned for next season.
As you know your club your country tickets are again available to purchase online at www.lansdownerugby.com/shop this year. This has become a very important fundraiser for us as all monies received go 100% to the club. Although rugby is back, and we are hosting internationals, costs continue to rack up as bar numbers and corporate numbers are greatly reduced and have a big effect on our income. We continue to strive to be the most professional amateur club in the country and can only continue to try and maintain that goal with your support. We have had commercial rates charged to us for the first time recently and along with increasing energy and maintenance costs the monthly outgoings are frightening. There are great prizes on offer as well from the IRFU and their sponsors, so please do your best and give as generously as you can and encourage friends and family to do the same. The draw closes in 3 weeks so donate now.
A few diary dates for you all: Friday November 19th, we have our 1st XV v Trinity pre match dinner kindly sponsored by Ronan Group. This is always an entertaining fixture and a popular dinner so please pre-book with Elayne in the office early to avoid disappointment
Wednesday November 24th, we have our Annual Commemorative Service for the Deceased in the club house at 7pm and all members and their families are invited to attend . The service will again be jointly conducted by Fr. Paul Lavelle PP and Rev Peter Campion. Unfortunately, we have far too many members and loved ones to remember this year.
Saturday December 4th, we have our 1st XV v UCD pre match lunch kindly sponsored by the Madigan Group. This will be our last home game before Christmas so the mistletoe and wine will be rolled out (hopefully the only thing to be rolled out of the club on the night!) This will also be our club Christmas party that evening as well so again a very popular lunch so book early!
Friday January 21st 2022 is a very important annual fundraiser, our Business Lunch. We are delighted to have this back in the club house in January. Ciaran O’Reilly, Michael Ryan and their committee have another very impressive guest speaker lined up for us in Tommy Kelly founder and CEO of eShopworld (ESW), a global retail technology company based in Swords, Co. Dublin. The company, which had a huge surge in online shopping during the pandemic, was sold earlier this year for a sum rumoured to be in the region of 1 billion euros. Tommy’s story should be an amazing and interesting one to hear and we urge people to book early as this is proving to be a very popular event.
Finally, as I just finish this newsletter I have learnt of the passing, peacefully at home with his family, of yet another great Lansdowne man, honorary life member Martin Rafferty. Martin was a great supporter and very generous to the club – he always had a table with his long time mates at every home AIL match and was such a great friend to many in the club. Martin had only lost his wife Betty last June and hopefully they are both at peace together. Martin will be missed – May he Rest in Peace.
Stay safe & stay well!
Club President 2020/22