A year in review

2020 has been an extraordinary year at our club for so many reasons. We have experienced great highs and lows, yet we have endured and remained committed throughout. Our greatest strength has always been the collective determination of the people who keep things running on the ground and we owe them a great debt of gratitude. Here we ask the Roscrea RFC team about their view on the past year.

Terry Farrelly     Club President

“last season ended on a high with the underage section doing very well and the senior side winning their league with a superb run of form . Sadly we never had time to celebrate as the whole world was subsequently turned up side down.
Thanks to hard work from lots of members we were able to change our systems and get all our under age groups up and running. It was great to see the way people adapted with sports training returning in a safe manner for our school going children.
For our older under age and especially for adults it has been very tough. They watched professional sport return along with the GAA, while not having any sport at our level in rugby with the exception of a few weeks in October. This group lost out not just in sport,but also the associated craic, the pub, while many have taken a financial hit. They have lost the all important normal social interaction that’s a key part of being young. This group needs competition not friendlies. They enjoy their sport and train and work hard and that provides a sense of achievement.
Looking optimistically forward, the Leinster Branch is planning competitions for the new year. If we continue the infection prevention and vaccines in the new year we will have a super season starting September and we will have an a mighty party to celebrate all the achievements of the past year.
Happy Christmas and look forward to a brilliant 2021”

Ger Stone      Club Captain

“The start to the 2020/2021 season has been a strange one to say the least.
Having a social distanced players meeting to set out our goals for the year, not knowing whether the season would go ahead. Putting in a massive effort into the ever tortuous pre-season training, not knowing if we’d even play a game this season. Like everything else, this season would be full of uncertainty.
If you were to go out and observe a Senior training session in the lead up to the start of this season, you would never have known by looking at the players efforts that they were preparing for a season of uncertainty. The commitment and dedication given by the lads in pre season was immense and as tough as it was, you could really see that the players were reveling in the hardship.
Having went unbeaten in the league last season on the way to promotion, we know once this season kicked off we’d have a massive target on our backs and the lads handled it brilliantly. Tough wins in the Midland League against Birr, Midlands Warriors and Edenderry and a razor close away win over last season’s 2B runners up Arklow, we couldn’t have asked for a better start. Some great performances by our young players gives me great hope for the future of our squad.
Huge thanks must go to our Head Coach John Maher and his Assistant Coach Ray Moloney for all the effort they’ve put in so far and a massive thanks to our Senior Squad COVID Officer Enda Maher. Enda has been a massive help to the squad this year with making sure all COVID 19 requirements were met and all precautions were taken for the players safety. Enda took on a mountain of work for the team and took as much of the burden off players as he could.
We don’t know what the New Year will bring but from the effort and resilience the players & coaching team showed in the first half of the season, I’ve no doubt the squad can handle whatever comes next.”

Ger in his role as Club CCRO in conversation with the Roscrea RFC girls u10s.

Denis Delaney    Minis Coordinator

“Getting  the season  started  was a challenge! As always  the club, the coaches, the  kids and parents got stuck in to try and create some normality during this difficult time. The club, and especially Serena our covid officer and her team left no stone unturned to make sure everybody was kept safe and happy.
The coaches have been very  innovative and created lots of fun games and it’s been fantastic to see kids having lots of fun. Roll on 2021!”

Denis coaching a minis group on a Sunday morning in Streamstown

Brendan Hyland   President 2018 – 2020

“In an unprecedented year of Covid 19 restrictions on all our lives, the players have been a shining Beacon of hope for Roscrea RFC. They have shown up for training, in strictly controlled Pods, complied with all IRFU guidelines and regulations. The senior and youth grade players have been excellent in their observation and compliance with the many rules and guidelines laid out before them. The minis have had great fun, learned the discipline of a team sport and made friends for life.
Our club owes a huge debt of gratitude to all involved, especially our coaches, organisers, parents and above all our Covid Compliance Committee, whose organisation of  training has been exemplary.
With such people in our Club at this time of crisis Roscrea RFC has a very bright future.”

John Maher    Senior team head coach

“2020, Definitely a year to remember between COVID and Rugby. Winning the league while receiving such support from the whole club, from minis players right up to club stalwarts brought great pride to the players. The senior players from 2020 will go down as the first team in the clubs history to go a full calendar year unbeaten which is a massive achievement and one that I feel will inspire the next generation of players to aim high and fight for the chance to wear the Roscrea jersey with the honour it deserves. These player have shown that when a group of player give full commitment, work hard and are honest to themselves and each other anything is achievable.”

Hon Club President Brendan Hyland presents John Maher with a life time achievement award, as he is inducted into the clubs hall of fame.

Robert Dempsey   Director of Rugby

“A very strange year but we really found out what Roscrea RFC is all about,  rolling the sleeves up and getting stuck in. A daunting challenge was put to everyone and I think we handled it with great spirit. Great job done by everyone.”

Ciara Maher    Girls rugby coordinator

“This season saw a start to the rugby season like we have never seen before, we had to change the way we think and play rugby. While doing our very best to keep all our players and coaches as safe a possible. We were fortunate that we could continue playing and coaching  the sport we all enjoy so much. We didn’t get to take part in many games but the commitment shown by our girls was outstanding even in this strange time that we all find ourselves in. They still turned up every week and crucially, we had fun. We joined with Birr this season to form the Ravens for U14 + U16 girls which is a huge achievement for both girls and coaches hopefully they will get to participate in some games in 2021 . We have seen a lot of girls joining to start playing rugby this season in Roscrea who have never played the sport before especially in our U8 + U10 + U12 age groups.  I would like to thank and compliment all the parents, girls and coaches who are part of Roscrea RFC girls rugby. Wishing everyone a safe and prosperous 2021.”

Santa visiting the Girls minis in early December was a nice way to finish the year for Roscrea RFC girls rugby.

Serena Cooper Brady    Club covid officer

“One of the ironies of being a Club covid officer is the job detail didn’t even exist 12 months ago, now every single thing that happens at club level is influenced by covid compliance and player safety. We are fortunate at Roscrea RFC to have a great bunch of covid compliance officers who turn up every week to help things run smoothly. The coaches, players and parents have been really good when following the guidelines and have shown great support and respect. Thanks to everyone consistently observing the rules, we were even able to have Santa visit the minis by Helicopter in December. Hopefully 2021 will see an improvement in our fortunes and eventually some day the title of covid officer will be saved for the history books, until then we will stay committed to endeavour to keep our members safe.”

Sunday minis training Club covid compliance officers Serena Cooper, Gillian Pearson, Moya Crampton, Natasha Sloan. not in pic Vytenis Miciuta

Enda Maher   Senior team manager and covid compliance officer

“2020 was a great year for the club. After a tough couple of seasons, we have finally got a super squad of players that will push the club on for years to come. The winning mentality and never say die attitude in this squad is  testament to the work and determination of head coach coach John Maher, team Captain Ger Stone and senior players like veteran Malachy Maher and the Treacy brothers who lead from the front whether it be training or game day. I want to thank all the players for their commitment and hard work throughout the year.”

The Roscrea RFC senior team after their season defining win in Portarlinton RFC in february.

James Marks   Club Secretary

“The year 2020 will never be forgotten for both good and bad reasons. I would like to pass on the deepest sympathy to all who lost loved ones during the year. 2020 has also been extremely challenging for members and our sponsors from a financial point of view and we would like to thank everyone for their support.

The early part of the year was dominated from the clubs point of view with success on the field of play. Our 1st team won the league winning every league match which was an amazing achievement. Our youths both boys and girls were extremely successful with huge numbers in all age groups. Our minis were going from strength to strength  .

Then the pandemic turned everything upside down. Our covid19 committee led by Serena Cooper Brady and indeed the committee and coaches did an incredible job to get rugby up and running again when government regulations allowed. Despite everything the club kept things moving in a positive direction. The planning committee worked extremely hard under the leadership of Jim Dwyer working on developing a strategy for the club for the next few years. The finance committee has been very proactive to insure a sound financial footing through the current crisis and going forward into the future.

The grounds have never looked so well under the leadership of Aidan Keneally. The club would like to thank North Tipperary Leader partnership and CEO Michael Murray for the grant approval towards the feasibility study for the development of the club.

We would also like to thank The National lottery Capital grants , Tipperary County council and Tipperary sports partnership for grant aid which enabled us to purchase a tractor and mower, rugby equipment ,an AED, fencing along the drain and other equipment. In particular we would like to thank Michael Smith MCC who was personally involved in helping us get each of these grants. He has been brilliant to the club.

In September we had our AGM and had a change of the guard with former Club President Brendan Hyland’s term of office coming to a close and Terry Farrelly being elected to the role. We all thank Brendan for his sterling work during his term of office and wish the best of luck to Terry while offering him our full support into the future. We also had a number of people retiring from the committee and we would like to thank them for all their efforts and dedication on behalf of the club. We have welcomed new members to our committee and we thank each and everyone of them for putting themselves forward and for giving so generously with their time and effort.  Finally on a personal note, I wish that each of you have a happy and safe new year”

Club Officers with Tipp Co Co Chairman Michael Smith.