As we finish the season 2021-22, we have many reasons to reflect on a year of progress for our great club Galwegians RFC. Let’s remember that before the season started last autumn, we had just endured 18 months of lockdown, when we had virtually no rugby nor even any social activity. So to end a season which saw all of our teams able to field and compete, and with social occasions near back to normal, we have many reasons to be grateful for the season past.
Of course there were some significant milestones along the way. We are well into our centenary year, and there are some exciting plans about to be unveiled by our centenary working committee in the coming weeks. However as well as celebrating 100 years past, I want us to look forward with optimism that our club will be around for the next 100 years.
The sale of our grounds Crowley Park in December was a hugely significant moment in this. Remember that the deal negotiated sees our new landlords GMIT (or now the ATU) giving us a lease of up to 10 years to remain in Glenina, until we find our new home. In the coming weeks we will be spending our recent Sports Capital grant on some vital upgrading of facilities. And with the sale out of the way, the committee, and especially the Development sub-committee, can now really focus its attention on finding a location to develop fit-for-purpose grounds. This will safeguard our long-term future as a vibrant thriving club serving the needs of our local community.
In terms of the here and now, it’s time to focus on our exciting plans for next season on and off the field. Work has already started, and I believe that our adult teams, men’s and women’s, have good reason to be optimistic for 2022-23. Our underage structure is of course vital, and last week our Youths coaches and managers had a very energetic and inspiring session to set out our stall for the season ahead. We all know that we are in a very competitive space with other clubs, and not just rugby. But we are up for the challenge and ready to play to our strengths to put our best foot forward.
Let’s not forget though that to run a successful amateur club, we will always rely hugely on volunteers. We are blessed to have some terrific role model volunteers in Galwegians, who give so selflessly of your time. One of my most difficult tasks this year was choosing the Club Person of the Year. Abe Afolabi was a hugely deserving winner, but there were so many stand-out contenders to choose from. We just need to find a few more to spread the load.
This weekend gives a perfect opportunity to demonstrate this. We have ca. 30 volunteers signed up to roll up their sleeves and help out in the Club Clean-Up to spruce up the clubhouse and grounds. If you haven’t yet signed up, please lend us a hand if you can.
Can I also encourage as many people as possible to attend our AGM next Wednesday evening (June 15th 7pm) to reflect on the year past, and make some positive contributions for next year.
Finally, to all our volunteers who have helped out this year on or off the field in whatever capacity, I just want to express my sincere thanks for all that you have done. There were so many highlights that I will treasure for many years in remembering my term as club President. It has been a real privilege to serve you. While I hand over to my successor next week, I will certainly remain active next season. We all have a role to play, and I really look forward to working with you all to help us restore our rightful place as the leading club in Connacht.