It is my great pleasure as President of our wonderful club to extend Christmas greetings to all members and to thank you for all of your support in this rugby season to date.
Throughout the year the Club Officers and many volunteers have worked assiduously on our behalf to run the Club and I wish to pay a special tribute here to our Executive Committee for their industry, enthusiasm and their energy – to Paul Whelan, John Duffy, Edel Nolan, John Ryan, Joe and Liam McDermott, Allan Brownlee, Jessica Kickham, Dermot Rafter, Paul Ryan and Eoghan Nihill a big thank you.
Sadly, we lost some great Wanderers during 2022, including a number of past Presidents and past Captains of the Club and we extend our thoughts to their families especially at this time of year. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha.
Rugby is naturally at the forefront of everything we do in Wanderers and rightly so! Most weeks we field five adult teams in addition to a number of Mini and Youths, boys and girls. The players would love your support on the side-line so I would ask you all to make a new year’s resolution to come and cheer them on in 2023.
Our men’s 1st XV retained their Leinster Senior League title in September, defeating Skerries and Greystones along the way and a strong Barnhall team in the final. Since then, results and performances in the AIL have been mixed with a couple of fabulous victories but equally some agonising defeats. We remain very much in the hunt for promotion and the players, coaches and management will give their utmost to achieve that goal.
It’s a similar tale with our Women’s 1st XV who stand 3rd in their league at present despite having had an unlucky spate of injuries in recent weeks.
Our men’s 2nd XV, 3rd XV and U.20’s have performed admirably in tough leagues and all are enjoying their rugby. Another big thank you to the dedication of the coaches and management of these teams.
An enormous amount of work has been undertaken on your behalf by our various sub-committees, particularly those involved in Fundraising, Build & Design, and Business Operations.
1. Fundraising: We continue to raise more funds from both Club Members and under the governments Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP). To date, over 356 members have generously donated, and in recent months our player groups have dug deep to show their support
2. IIP: At our club information meeting held on 31st May 2022, we informed our members that we had selected four contractors, subsequently narrowed down to two to discuss the building of our new pavilion. This was reduced to one contractor to obtain an accurate costing and determine how much funds would be required.
It quickly became apparent that due to cost inflation we would need to apply for more IIP finance.
3. New IIP Application: As a result of these rising costs, last July our IIP sub-committee, including John FitzPatrick, Neil Metchette and John Duffy, prepared a supplemental application seeking additional donors and submitted this to the Department of Justice & Equality (DOJ). This funding application not only includes the new Pavilion but also the possibility of two new Pitches, Floodlighting, Padel Tennis, Exercise Track, and the possible retention of our existing pavilion. These additional elements would of course be subject to planning permission and the approval of members. The DOJ Evaluation Committee have reviewed our application and I’m delighted to inform you that we have been approved.
4. Pre-Tender Phase 1: Detailed design is finalised, and a full tender process has been completed. We now have a fully designed building with an accurate price as to what it will cost to complete the new pavilion albeit with some items still listed as provisional sum amounts to allow for decisions by relevant parties at a future stage. Our architects SBA have issued a letter to our preferred contractor that we are not yet in a position to award a contract at this stage.
5. Post -Tender & Phase 2 works: This exercise includes the scoping of proposed works on the overall development including the Pavilion, the installation of two new Pitches, Floodlights, Padel. Like Phase 1, this expenditure is necessary, and it is essential to allow construction to commence. At its conclusion, we will be in a position to nominate a contractor with a fixed price contract and including sufficient contingencies.
All of this is subject to:
a. Funding in place
b. Club Members agreeing to proposal from the Development & Executive Committees
c. Preferred Contractor in position to commence construction
We would like to pay tribute to all our development sub-committee members and in particular, those of our Build & Design and Business Operations teams, Stephen Bennett, Declan O’Brien, and John Mockler for their excellent contribution as volunteers over the past 12 months and of course to our Development Committee Chair John FitzPatrick for his tireless efforts.
6. Down Syndrome Centre & Together Academy: to date we have enjoyed an excellent relationship with both of our charity partners. The Together Café has opened and is getting great support from both members and the public.
7. Archive: This sub-committee met in November. We have received some exciting memorabilia from members and hope to bring some proposals to the committee in 2023. Please remember to search your attic for suitable archive after Christmas when storing your decorations safely away.
We established a Remediation Sub-Committee to determine our policies and procedures concerning aspects such as Codes of Conduct for our players, management teams and for parents, guardians and spectators. An Anti-Bullying Statement has been drawn up and we are currently reviewing Age Grade Players Alcohol and Supplements regulations, Positive Mental Health and Diversity, Equality and Inclusion best practices.
Our Entertainments & Events Committee, under the chair of Greg Hopkins, have done a tremendous job especially in reinvigorating our pre-AIL match lunches which anyone who has attended will attest to. There are five more home matches between January and the end of the season so see you there!
Brian Tector and his merry men, George Stringer, Michael McAuley, Niall Crowley and Frank Murray ran a hugely successful and enjoyable golf outing in Portmarnock Golf Club in September. Thanks go out to them and especially all of the members and guests who entered teams, donated prizes and sponsored holes on the day.
I hope you enjoy this time of year with family and friends, and I look forward to meeting with you again in 2023, whether it be in Merrion Road, Lansdowne Road or on the side of a pitch somewhere!