Buccaneers reflect on club’s year during annual general meeting

Outgoing President, Gordon Ballantyne, welcomed a good attendance to the recent Buccaneers Rugby Football Club AGM in The Bounty. The club had mixed success on the playing fields, winning another Connacht Senior League and Cup double but being relegated in the All-Ireland League. Off the playing fields he was pleased to report that the club had “got control of its financial shortfall”, which was one of his key priorities in office.

Mr. Ballantyne thanked the Executive Committee for their sterling endeavours and he was especially grateful for the efforts by our many coaches and managers and the numerous others who volunteered at the club. He thanked Kay Moran and the Ladies Committee for their help throughout the season and he acknowledged the courtesy and assistance provided by all the staff at The Bounty.

Club Administrator, Geraldine Kenny, was singled out for her work above and beyond the call of duty during the year while the “herculean efforts” put in by Ronan Bushell and everyone involved in the successful staging of ‘Buccs OsKaRs’ was noted. He gratefully acknowledged the continued support of our main sponsors.

Gordon continued that the club can be very proud of our 12 international players and he hoped that Robbie Henshaw and Jack Carty would be selected on the Ireland squad for the World Cup finals later in the year. Overall, he enjoyed his role as President, adding that “it was a pleasure to work with those who are club people at heart”.

Honorary Secretary, Michael Cleary, commenced his wide-ranging report by complimenting the club’s Facilities Manager, Pat Hynes, who “carried out his duties in his inimitable, relentless style”. Continued improvements including pitch drainage had been carried out while a proper greasetrap was finally in place.

Media Officer, Michael Silke, was commended on the “many angles” he covers while Ronan Bushell “rose to the occasion in spectacular fashion” with ‘Buccs OsKaRs’.

Membership subscriptions have risen to near 90 percent paid up, the enhanced online system maximising this. He strongly believes that “everyone who plays should pay” and that “annual fundraising and initiatives must be engaged by all the membership”.

He thanked all the club’s sponsors and patrons, in particular title sponsors Audi Athlone, ground sponsors Dubarry of Ireland, Oliver Carty Meats and Direct Medical. The club has “a unique model operating with The Bounty” with a new lease in place and he expressed “genuine thanks to Tom, Paschal and staff”.

Mr. Cleary also presented the financial report to the meeting. “It was ironic”, he stated, “that matters improved despite the absence of a Treasurer!” Following three years of deficits, the club’s financial situation greatly improved as the club reported a modest surplus whilst reducing debt.

Chairman of Football, Billy McMickan, commenced his detailed report on playing matters by thanking the numerous players, coaches and managers. Relegation of the First XV was a massive disappointment with “selection continuity being a major problem”. Ideally the club must “reduce its reliance on contracted players”. Buccaneers won a fourth successive Connacht Senior League title and also claimed the Connacht Senior Cup for the third time in four seasons.

Trojan work is being done at underage and two teams are now being fielded at some age grades. Billy complimented Charlie Couper “on the volume of work” he is doing with underage rugby, as minis rugby continues to mushroom, ensuring a bright future for the club.

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