Dear Members, Supporters and Visitors
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Railway.
It is huge honour to be elected as president of Railway. It's also a huge honour for me to be the first female president in our one hundred and ten year history and be one of only a handful of female presidents in the country. It is a sign of the progressive nature of Railway, our club’s philosophy and I believe it's important to continue to provide strong positive female role models in senior positions for our next generation of players, supporters and volunteers.
I also feel a great responsibility to be entrusted with the role, a role at which I will give my all and will undertake with pride and passion.
I'd like to acknowledge our outgoing president, Francis Roche, and his efforts and successes over the past three years and his role in the transformation of the club. I am also appreciative of the support he continues to provide.
I'd also like to acknowledge the passing of Damian Reade. Even though I only knew him a relatively short time, his welcome and kind words of advice and support helped give me the confidence to believe I can lead Railway, a club he held dearly.
There is a fantastic vibe in the club on the back of our two most successful seasons, where sixteen trophies were captured and all teams in the club have won at least one trophy. The transformation of the club over the last three seasons has been truly remarkable and Railway is now recognised as one of the most vibrant clubs in the country. This is a credit to the hard work of a huge number of truly fantastic, dedicated and ambitious people involved.
The challenge for us as a club is to maintain this momentum, both on and off the pitch.
We have a number of new changes and additions to our coaching team. We welcome Simon Dodd to the club, even though he seems like he's been here for years. Andy Adams also moves from coaching our U20s to our Men's 1sts, whilst Ed Martin also returns to assist the coaching team, and Daire Fitzgerald continues in the role of Club Captain. We wish them and the rest of the coaching team every success this year.
We also see the departure of Matt Brown, a much-loved player, coach and clubman. Our loss is certainly Galwegians gain.
The excitement building for the coming season is palpable. Our Men's 1sts will be looking to challenge in Leinster League, whilst our Men's 2nds will join our Men's 3rds and compete in the Metro League. This will bring new challenges, as well as the benefit of Friday night rugby.
Men's U20s rugby continues to prove to be a challenge for all but a handful of clubs, despite there being more rugby players emerging from schools in Dublin than anywhere in the country. Robbie O'Flynn, John Handley and Joe Kiely are a strong and experienced team and will strive to have us competing in the newly restructured JP Flanagan leagues.
Our Women's 1sts have reached the rarefied air of AIL Division 1 and will now be competing with the best seven teams in the country. Our Women's 2nds have also been promoted to Leinster League Division 2. These successes are linked to the dedication and talent of our players and of our coaching team, led by Mere Baker.
Our Girls U18s and U15s, under the leadership of Ali Nolan, are going from strength to strength and our work with schools in our community is truly pioneering.
Sustaining the successes already achieved in our Men's and Women's senior sides is directly linked to the continued focus on our age-grade teams.
Off the field, providing stability and establishing the platform to continue the growth in the club is one of the most important goals of my presidency. We have, as many clubs do in these economic times, challenges around our revenue model and in keeping pace off the field with the development that is taking place on the field. Running all these teams and investing in the appropriate capital projects to ensure the future sustainability of the club costs money and our efforts on fundraising and sponsorship, in particular, needs focus.
Notwithstanding above, we appreciate the benefit and support given by our sponsors - Cleaning Contractors, Marathon Sports Travel, Whiteside Cullinane, John Nolan & Co and Acumen & Trust. Their support is hugely valuable to us and I hope their association with Railway reaps them all the rewards that they are due. It is our intention that their association with Railway lives up to their expectations on and off the field.
We are delighted that the World Sports Team are once again our charity partner and are displayed proudly on our jerseys.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank JC, Francis, Grant, Alan, Paul and Pat for their support and advice, without which I couldn't begin to manage our operations.
Here's to another great season on and off the field. I hope to see members and supporters in the club and cheering on our teams during the course of the season.
Railway Union RFC