The purpose of the Secretary’s report at AGM is to summarise the activity of the Club since the previous AGM. I will try to be as brief as possible and wish to apologise in advance if I have omitted the contribution or achievement of any individual.
Our club is administered by the Executive Committee. We met fortnightly this year, with excellent attendance from the majority of the group. We did however feel the absence of a fundraising representative and a player’s/adult football representative. We have taken steps to ensure that this does not reoccur in 2015. Membership of the Executive Committee is a demanding and time consuming job. All of our outgoing Executive have young families at home and five of them coach at least one team, involving two sessions per week and a game each weekend. This is remarkable dedication from individuals who go the extra mile for their community and I wish on behalf of all members of the club to thank them for their work during the last year. Each member of the Executive has a brief and is accountable to the Committee for the management of that brief. I welcome all new nominees to the new Committee and wish to reassure them that 2015 will be no different.
AGM 2013 saw the club adopt a new Constitution which fully affiliates us to our National Association. This was a timely and progressive decision by our members, as clubs who do not have this constitution, will not be affiliated to Dublin GAA in 2015. The uptake of membership this year has been particularly disappointing. We have adults mentoring and playing for our teams who are not members, yet the same individuals are active fully paid up members of other sporting clubs and facilities. 2015 will be different. We have a new Club Administrator Stephen Galvin who will be actively and robustly applying the rules of our club regarding membership next year.
Our bar continues to be managed on a voluntary basis by Bernie Diaz. Every person who buys a drink in our bar appears to have a degree in bar management and is only too happy to give advice free of charge to Bernie. We are all appreciative of your dedication Bernie, your hard work and the good work of your staff results in this club being the only GAA club, that I know of, with a profitable bar. Your achievements enable the Executive to concentrate on club and games development.
We live in a world today where if you’re not being liked, poked or shared you’re invisible. Karen Harford as PRO for the last number of years has raised the profile of this club, particularly through social media. We are competing with so many other activities for our young people’s attention. Karen has developed Round Towers as a brand. Thanks to Karen, we are a club that celebrates and broadcasts the achievements of our members. Karen projects a vibrant and competent image of our club with up to date photos and news in all media. Unfortunately, Karen is stepping down from the Executive this year and on behalf of all members of the club I wish to express their appreciation to Karen for her contribution to Round Towers. On a positive note, Karen will be continuing to execute the duties of the club PRO, just not as a member of the Executive.
On the 12th August we held an EGM when our members empowered the Executive Committee to progress various capital developments in a pragmatic and progressive manner for the future benefit of the club. These developments are progressing.
Early in the year we reached agreement with MyClubShop.ie to supply our club gear. I believe that this arrangement has improved accessibility for everyone to club gear and dramatically decreased the administrative burden on the club.
Last year was a low-key year for fundraising in the club. We held just two events, the National Club Draw and the Family Fun Day during the summer. I would like to thank all who helped to organise and run these events. I wish to particularly acknowledge the work done by our team coaches in securing up to €15,000 in sponsorship from various businesses to cover team expenses and jerseys. The majority of our teams in 2014 players are wearing new jerseys.
Our Lotto continued with an increased dividend going to the club this year. We had some big winners. Many thanks to Pauline and Willie for all their hard work. The bingo on Monday nights provided a great social outlet for a section of our community who otherwise would possibly not use our facilities. Our Bingo organisers have given their notice that they wish to step down and we thank them for their hard work, persistence and enterprise.
We fielded three teams at CCC this year. AFL5, 10 and minor. We have all seen the standard improve in each team which is a testament to the good preparation and organisation of their coaches and the juvenile section which nurtured them.
The AFL5 Adult team is in the final year of a three year programme, which has seen the structure and organisation of the team transformed. The current AFL5 panel has 28 players in it. In the Junior A Championship we reached the semi finals and were knocked out by the eventual winners St Vincents.
In AFL 5 the team has reached the playoffs with a game still to play. A priority for this team is to get promoted and back to Intermediate football. This goal is now within reach and support at all games would be welcome and a major boost to the team.
The team has made a tremendous effort this year with a well organised training programme overseen by Robert Naughton, Noel Shields and Brian Heffernan, which has seen the team reach fitness and playing levels of teams at higher grades. The team would like to thank Mark and the executive for all their support, our programme was agreed in full and this has allowed us to progress. The programme included a gym programme and access for players, mental conditioning programme with Crede Sheehy Kelly, including one to one sessions and physio expenses. We would also like to thank PRO Karen Harford for all her positive communications.
Adult football continues to progress and the integration of AFL10 and minor teams has been a major plus in the development of our squad. The current management team is Leo Neary, Noel Shiels, Robert Naughton and Pat Taaffe, with club captain Andy Moore.
I mentioned last year that one of the AFL5 squad has been dragged into a Court Case going back to an incident in a game in 2012. I wish to extend the club’s continuing support to this player, who considering the seriousness of the situation, has conducted himself admirably to date.
Our AFL10 team under the management of John Flood and Seamus Murphy competed well this year. They finished third in their league and continue to provide a platform for the development of young and new players. John wishes to thank the Executive for their support, along with Lorcan Harford and the AFL5 and minor team management for their support and co-operation.
It is my expectation that our time at AFL10 is drawing to a close. With the quality of the minor teams coming through, the improved strength and conditioning of our players and competitition for places on teams, promotion from AFL10 is a very realistic aspiration for our club.
Our minors have had a fantastic year and continue to develop individually and as a team under the expert training of Robert and assisted by Noel. It is a young side with most players u16 and u17. They are a team which are turning heads in the county, not just because of their hair cuts. They raised €5,000 for Crumlin Childrens Hospital with a sponsored head shave organised and lead by Eoin Gaffney. They finished fourth in their league and are still in with a chance in the championship. In previous years our minors played very few games. Stephen and Padraig have done a fantastic job arranging 7 friendlies and the St Margaret’s League.
We were proud to have Darragh Sheppard representing the club as referee on the biggest stage in Dublin football this year. The standards that Darragh and his team of noble flag-bearers set are an example to all of us.
Over the last 8 years our underage teams have been playing hurling. At CCC1 level all of our teams play hurling. At U15 and U13 we have competitive hurling teams with the potential for an adult team emerging from these players. However, in order for these players to develop and safely mature into adult players, we must have an adult team developed. To this end, David Power has rounded up a group of athletic young men from around the parish to form a Junior Hurling team. The training has been going well with the numbers growing each week. We intend to enter a Junior hurling team into the league next year. I hope that this will not be seen as a threat to football in Lusk. It is our mission as a club to facilitate all players to reach their potential in our National games. This legitimately and equally includes hurling.
Since the last AGM we have seen some major developments within the Ladies Section. This section is going from strength to strength. For the first time in the clubs history we now have a Senior Ladies Team, this team will be a feeder team for all of our juvenile teams coming up through the club. They have performed well in the League and are currently in the semi final of the Championship. Particular mention must go to Chloe Lawless and her coach Paul O’Hara who reached the All-Ireland Final with the Dublin U16 team.
We are fielding U9s, U11s, U13s and U16s ladies teams. The U13s finished second in their league and the U16s finished fourth. Both teams have huge potential and certainly benefited from expert coaching this year.
Going forward for 2015 we will have an U8’s, U10’s, U12’s, 14’s, U17’s and a Senior Ladies Team and we have had enquiries about a Gaelic4Mothers Team so this is a very positive situation but just highlights the need for our new pitch and more playing facilities.
Our juvenile section had a very busy year this year. They fielded 18 teams. In CCC2, our U16s have been having a great year. They’re County Champions and top of their league. Well done to all involved. The U15s have also had a good year; top of their hurling league and currently lying in third in the football. The U13s too are top of their league in football and have been very competitive in the hurling. In CCC1 our teams are still playing in non-competitive leagues. However, there is some serious potential coming through. All teams report increased competition from soccer in the village. This is a challenge which as a club we need to take very seriously. Our club needs to do more to make GAA the glamour sport in Lusk for kids. They’re watching multi-millionaire hairstyles in luminous boots in slow motion on Sky Sports every day. We need to have our Dublin Development Squad players and AFL5 players interacting with our young teams. Our All-Stars awards night was a step in the right direction and I wish to thank all involved in its’ organisation. I know that this years’ event will be an even bigger affair.
Earlier this year Shane Treanor, our former GPO moved on. Shane came to this club a number of years back and surpassed every target that was ever set for him. His intensity and uncompromising professionalism set a marker for everyone in the club. His results can clearly be seen in the success and standard of our CCC2 teams and coaches. Many thanks to Shane who has been instrumental in the transformation of our club. I also wish to welcome James Costelloe our new GPO. Despite coming from Meath, James has settled in well and we are all looking forward to working with him in the coming years.
Our juvenile section is full of fantastic volunteers doing invaluable work. The academy on Saturday mornings, the various camps and street leagues, the U7s, 8s, 9s, 10s, 11s and 12s teams all take dedication and enormous amounts of time to organise and run. Thanks to all involved, particularly the Juvenile Committee with David Power as Chair. Their Secretary Fran Cadogan is stepping down this year. Thanks to Fran for all his work.
The last year has presented huge challenges to us. We are running out of space due to the enormous demand from all of our teams. Our ball-stops blew down in January and had to be replaced and upgraded. We got rid of our portacabin and are using the secure container. Our new scoreboard is up. Our clubhouse has been painted. Upstairs we have a proper office, a decent meeting room and a kitchenette.
Our Chairman Mark McCann will outline our plans to address our challenges regarding pitches and training grounds. However, I wish to forewarn you all, that without immediate and substantial fundraising there will be no new grounds or premises for our children and players. It is not the job of the Executive Committee to fundraise. We administrate and manage the operation of the various sections of the club. We cannot do everything and I call on all members to get active, initiate and support any fundraising that occurs next year. I wish to thank Mark for steering us through a difficult year. Mark’s commercial and financial expertise has been a huge benefit to this club and he has been instrumental in establishing our sound financial management structures.
In conclusion, I wish to report a year of continued success for Round Towers Lusk. We continue to incrementally improve year on year, getting a little bit better at everything we do. On the field of play we are competing well at all levels. We continue to provide a social outlet for our community and to facilitate the safe and healthy development of our children. I hereby submit my report to the meeting and wish to thank you all for your support over the past 12 months.