Secretary's Address to Club AGM - 29 November 2020
In what has been a very strange and difficult year for the GAA, it has definitely been the best year I have experienced being secretary of this club!
What started off as another normal year, quickly turned into the unknown by March. Covid-19 brought many challenges to each aspect of the club this year but thanks to each and every person involved, things ran as smoothly as they possibly could during a pandemic.
Fundraising, unfortunately, was something that had to take a major hit during 2020, but we can only hope that come 2021, as we slowly move out of this current climate, we can re-focus on fundraising again – even if it has to be virtually. We all know the importance of fundraising to help keep up with the daily running costs of the club. This will be even more important next year due to the lack of fundraising this year but also due to the pitch redevelopment. The Park Committee have made significant progress with regards to the development and hope to hold a fundraiser as soon as it is permittable to do so. I ask that all Aodh Ruadh members get behind this fundraiser as the pitch redevelopment is something that can only benefit all members & players of this club.
I would like to thank all sponsors who donated so generously during what was a very challenging year for businesses. Your support to Aodh Ruadh is very much appreciated by the club and by the teams and I urge all members to support these local businesses as much as possible.
The weekly lotto plays a huge part in bringing money into the club and as with everything else, we faced some challenges with keeping it running throughout the year. I want to thank Catherine Mc Kee and Gerard Ferguson for all their work with the lotto. Thanks to all the sub committees for ensuring all slots were covered on a weekly basis and thanks also to those who helped with the recording of the weekly draws.
Thanks must go to the Park Committee for their continued work in both Fr Tierney Park and Pairc Aoidh Ruaidh. A lot of hard work went into getting both grounds ready to re-open after lockdown and since reopening, park maintenance and work has continued at a steady pace. Thank you also to Peter & Johnny Gallagher for their continued work in getting grounds and pitches match ready.
This month seen new gear being launched and credit must go to Chris Kelly for all the work he put into the selling of this gear.
I would now like to take this opportunity to thank all managers and coaches across all codes and age groups. During the short season, regulations changed constantly, sometimes from day to day, but all managers worked cooperatively with me at all times and I thank them for their hard work throughout the season.
Bord na nOg seen all age groups return to train at the start of the year and again after lockdown but unfortunately the season had to come to an early end due to Covid-19 restrictions being enforced again in September. 2021 will see the underage teams play at odd age groups and will have teams from U5 – U17. Acknowledgments must go to Packie Mc Grath for all the work he has done with the academy since the launch of Oige Aoidh Ruaidh.
As with Bord na nOg, the juvenile hurlers had a very short compact season with a number of games not being played due to Covid-19. Congratulations must go to the U14 management and team on their County final win.
The juvenile hurling AGM seen John Rooney step down as Chairperson. In a position he held for many years, it is safe to say that John has dedicated a huge part of his life to underage hurling in Ballyshannon. I want to thank John for his commitment and wish him all the very best.
The Ladies AGM was held on Sunday 15th Nov and from reading through the managers reports, it is evident that ladies football is going from strength to strength within the club. Many thanks to the managers and coaches of all age groups for the hard work and commitment to ladies football. The AGM saw Patricia Hill step down as Chairperson. I would like to thank Patricia for all her work over the last 4 years. She was a fantastic ambassador for ladies football, not only in the club but at County level also. Sarah Daly was proposed and second as the new Ladies Chairperson and I wish Sarah the very best of luck in her new role!
Many thanks to the senior hurling committee and players for your cooperation throughout the year. This AGM seen Conal Gallagher step down as the committee secretary and I would like to thank Conal for his work with this team over the years but especially since our adult team was reformed 2 years ago.
A special mention must go to the following people – Josephine Warnock, Lorraine Mc Namee, Claire Downey, the U14 ladies management, Leah O’Brien, Barry O’Neill, Sabrina Brosnan, Sinead Kane, Geraldine Rodgers, Linda Clyne, Shauna Sheridan, Michelle Gillespie, Sharon Reynolds, Michael Mc Grath, Andy Brennan & David O’Donnell. They signed up to be Covid Officers, a role we thought would only be for a couple of weeks but ended up being for the whole season, with responsibilities greater as the weeks went by. Without these people taking on this role for the individual teams, training & games would not have been able to go ahead. As club secretary and Covid Supervisor, I really appreciate what you undertook in this role and thank you for your cooperation and help!
Thank you to Peter Gallagher, Michael Ward and Gerry Mc Intyre for taking on the management of the reserve football team. A goal at the start of this year was to build up the reserve team and whilst it was no normal year, it was good to see reserve training start positively with good numbers and some new faces on the panel also. Unfortunately it was a season that came to a sudden end when the County Board called a halt to the Championship, however I believe given the numbers that will potentially be available for the 2021 season, this structure can only develop further.
During my years in this role, working with the senior management and team has always been part of the job description. However, this year, due to me also being the team Covid Officer, I was lucky enough to work closely with them all season.
A huge thank you to Barry Ward, who brings a high standard of professionalism and management skills to the senior set up. He has brought this senior team to a new level and I hope that this can continue into 2021. Thanks also to the dedicated backroom team of Damien Stewart, Gregory Sweeney, John Lunny, Yvette Morrow, Ronan Matthews and Brian Mc Guinness.
And of course a special thanks must go to the players themselves whose dedication and commitment never wavered throughout the year. When returning to play in June it was very much the unknown but this group of players always did what was asked of them and this was largely down to the relentless work of joint captains Johnny Gethins & Nathan Boyle and to say that I could not have been prouder of these two when they went up the steps in O’Donnell Park to lift the Cathal Mc Laughlin Cup would definitely be an understatement!!
A massive congratulations to the senior management and players on winning the 2020 Intermediate Championship – it was very much deserved, and I wish you all the very best of luck for 2021.
Finally and by no means least, a huge thank you to William & Sabrina. They make every day in this role a joy and it is an absolute pleasure to work alongside them both. They have definitely kept me sane during the difficult times we faced during the season.
As we currently sit in level 5, we can only look forward to moving into 2021 with the hope that our games return to somewhat of a normality. Whatever the case may be, it is evident from how we dealt with the challenges put in front of us this year, that if we work together as one, we can only become stronger as a club!
Take care and stay safe.
Lisa Nic Thiarnán
Last modified: Friday, 4 December 2020 at 8:17pm