As we enter into Spring, we hope the worst of the dark winter mornings and evenings are behind us and as we finally begin to see the Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out to the most vulnerable in our society, there is finally cause to be optimistic and look forward to better times ahead. A quote from Nicholas M. Butler the great American philosopher, educator and diplomat seems very apt:
“Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.”
Usually this time of year, Lansdowne clubhouse would be a hive of activity with a busy club rugby programme at all levels and a general excitement re the upcoming 6 Nations. Unfortunately, that is not to be this year. Sitting down last August as an executive we were contemplating disaster for our great club as our funding model is hugely dependent on mass gatherings such as corporate events, club dinners and most importantly filling the clubhouse during international and Champions Cup weekends with our many great members and sponsors. Thankfully, I can report that through hard work, sacrifices, prudent management and the fantastic support of you our members and sponsors that we have managed to cope well financially and are well positioned to finish out this season and start afresh next season as normal. The goal this year as set out by the executive was to minimise the loss that would inevitably occur, there was never a question of making any profit this season without spectators being allowed at matches or events, so I wish to thank our full time staff and coaches who have all suffered this season one way or another and to the players for sticking with us!!
The senior squad & J1s are in a fitness competition with Trinity, Terenure & Naas rugby clubs to keep occupied and to keep the competitive juices flowing and I am delighted to report our props won the 2.4km run by a tight 5 second average. The 2nd rows did not fair as well but finishing behind Trinity 20s & Seniors and Naas over to the back rows next. Our 20s are competing against their own internal groups as they have over 70 involved between both teams. Good luck to all and a great format drawn up by the coaches and S&C staff, well done!
Talking of out of the box and creative thinking I would like to thank our Business lunch committee (For which I hope you are all registered to attend later this afternoon – Link HERE) for organising our first ever virtual Business Lunch on Thursday February 4th at 5pm live from Fuel HQ Studios who have a huge Lansdowne contingent working behind the scenes with owners Brian McDermott and Jamie Deasy being backed up by Will Matthews, Nikki Tunney (suffering wife of Dave T) and Ntinga Mpiko who are all doing a great job looking after us. The Lunch is kindly sponsored once again by Bryan Moloney and his MMPI Group who have been very good to us in sponsoring such an event in these Covid times. The Committee include Gav Lee, Will Sparks, Michael Ryan and is chaired by past president Ciaran “Caesar” O’Reilly a really top team who have come up with the virtual idea and made it possible. A top team deserve a great host and we are lucky to have ”The Great” Mano Ryan as host for the event. Mano’s wit, energy and great personality will make it a great event with our guest Speaker AerCap CEO Aengus Kelly. Aengus although a former Wanderers player currently helps coach our minis and youths. Aengus is one of Ireland’s top CEO’s and a leader in the worldwide Aviation industry and someone we should be very proud of. Aengus has a wealth of knowledge to offer all of us with any interest in business now or in the future, he has suffered highs and lows and is well placed to share his experience and thoughts on how to deal with what lies ahead. So please register with the link below and join us on Thursday afternoon at 5pm.
As we approach our 150th year planning has been ongoing for the last two years and I would like to introduce you to the hard working and very capable committee that have been very busy and will no doubt get busier over the next 18 months or so. Michael Ryan Chairs the committee, with Mick Kearney heading the Gala Dinner, Simon Coyle heading the Golf Day & Night, Ciaran O’Reilly heading the Business Lunch, Mark Dawson in charge of a very exciting project which will be publishing a 150th year Lansdowne FC book, John Kearney over the celebratory rugby match, Brian Sparks over PR and Joe Leddin handling sponsorship. They are joined by many others such as myself and Mick Dawson who represent the executive but the club still has to function day to day while this is ongoing so the executive needs to avoid the distraction of being too involved and as such are delighted with the progress of such a capable team. I would like to thank Michael Ryan and his committee for their great work to date. They have been busy! They will over the next few months release a calendar of events and a save the date notices. This will be a huge year in our history, and we will be calling on all members to play their part young and old Senior,20’s, Junior’s, mini & youths will all be involved.
By now you should all have received notice of our club draw recommencing and thank you to Conor Shaw whom along with Michael and Elayne in the office have bee working behind the scenes to keep the draw going. This is a vital fund raiser annually for the club and with great cash prizes as listed below. I urge all who can to join and register. We will do a live draw each month by video and send results out to all. Along with keeping up your membership payments I can not stress how crucial this is to keep the club going especially in a year such as we are having. Thank you all for your continued support with these vital cogs in our club.
It has been a difficult job and one we were not too eager to commence but I am delighted to announce Ricky Geraghty as our new Fixtures Secretary. Ricky a Lansdowne stalwart and replaces the late and great Colm O’Shea who over many years went about his business behind the scenes handling the very complex issues we have with pitches and timings of games with a great dignity and class that upheld all that is good about Lansdowne FC, we miss him dearly and know he would be delighted that someone of Ricky’s character and history with the club in stepping into the role.
We also welcome John Delaney as PRO with responsibility for day to day PR who will be mentored with current PRO Joe Leddin who has given us great service and will continue to do so with our dealings with the Union and other outside traditional media outlets. John of course is from another great Lansdowne Family and has been around the club since he was in nappies, he knows intimately the workings of the club and how we operate and will bring a young vibrant and energetic attitude with him. John will work closely with Elayne in the office, rugby management as well as our well established social media team.
This next few months and the upcoming 6 nations with an empty clubhouse and a deserted pitch will remind us all of what we are missing and how important Lansdowne FC is to us all. A massive thank you to all of you our members and sponsors for continuing to stick with us and supporting us. We are a member’s club and without that support quiet simply we would not survive do not underestimate your contribution.
Finally, to all of our friends and members who are not as healthy as they would hope we offer you al our very best wishes and prayers, stay positive stay safe and stay engaged with each other.
Club President 2020/21