AGM reflects on season 2012-13 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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AGM reflects on season 2012-13

published:May  28   2013

BUCCANEERS RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB’S ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING held recently at The Bounty reflected on a relatively successful season. Huge numbers play at youths and minis levels, silverware was won at various grades, half a dozen players represented Ireland and all this was achieved within a fairly modest budget.

Honorary Secretary Mark O’Reilly’s wide-ranging report started off the proceedings and he covered a broad spectrum of activities at the club. Successes included the recent Awards Night which proved hugely enjoyable; the endeavours of Lorna Stuart-Trainor were lauded in this regard. The hosting of Ireland U-20s Six Nations Championship fixtures was particularly highlighted and here the sustained efforts of Senan Downes, Barry Reid, Leo Galvin and the hordes of volunteers were noted in the on-going success of the staging of these prestigious fixtures that are critical to the club’s well-being. The continued support of our sponsors, particularly Audi Athlone, Dubarry and Electric Ireland, was gratefully acknowleged. The Tag Rugby summer league, Athlone Rugby Sevens and the Minis sponsored cycle were successful, well run events but there is a reluctance by some teams to undertake fund-raising events as is the payment of membership subscriptions. Currently, the club is undertaking substantial, costly work on both side pitches so funds need to be generated to maintain these heavily used playing fields. The endeavours of our Ladies Committee and Referees were lauded as was that of all team managers and coaches while our Administrator Geraldine Kenny was singled out for her unstinting work on behalf of all in the club.

Honorary Treasurer Gerard McLaughlin reported a very modest loss of €1,053 on the year’s activities. This was a decent achievement in tough financial times. Fund-raising income dropped by nearly one-third with membership subscriptions difficult to collect in some sectors. The club’s Lotto, in which one lucky member won a €10,000 Jackpot during the year, needs a fresh impetus. Fund-raising is a necessity and more ideas and wider support is required. He acknowleged and thanked our sponsors, especially Dubarry, Audi Athlone and Electric Ireland, for their continuing goodwill and generosity. Gerry added that as Treasurer he was the members’ “watchdog” to ensure that value for money was achieved. Savings were made in various sectors and he was pleased to advise that expenditure was curtailed to somewhat counter-balance reduced income. He too thanked Geraldine Kenny for her assistance with his portfolio and she was the recipient of a bouquet of flowers from the president on behalf of the club.


Chairman of Football Ray Fagan was unavoidably absent but he submitted a written report. The Senior squad, which had a steady drip of players for various reasons including immigration in recent years, fielded a primarily youthful squad. With Hendre Marnitz taking up a coaching position in his native South Africa after just four series of All-Ireland League fixtures, Tony Dolan answered the call to take up the role of Head Coach and guided the team captained by Kolo Kiripati to a very creditable fourth place. Many of the players come from the hinterland and Alex Hayman was named Senior Player of the year, his second time to receive this award.

After a promising start to their campaign, the Development Squad suffered some slippage not helped by a number of players being called up to the Senior panel. Dominic Griffith replaced Darragh Lennon as captain and the team consolidated their position in Division 1B of the Connacht League. Here the input of Tony Hanevy was singled out for merit while Dominic Griffiths endeavours on and off the pitch made him a truly worthy Development Player of the year winner.

The Thirds showed what can be achieved through good organisation and numbers as they enjoyed a remarkable season. They lost just one match, unfortunately in the League final, but made amends by winning the Ard na Cregg Cup in style for the first time in many seasons. Tristan Couper was a merited Thirds Player of the Year.

The U-21 Academy fielded a very youthful squad and management team but secured a creditable position in the South-West Conference. With many of the players again eligible next year, hopes are high for next season. James Donoghue was a deserving Player of the year in this group.

The U-19s proved the club’s most successful mens squad, winning the Connacht League and Cup double. Sean Gallagher was a deserving Player of the year at this level.

The Womens team are, without a doubt, the most improved team in the club. They followed last year’s Cup success with a Connacht League triumph this season. Their attitude and enthusiasm is infectious and theirs is truly an all-round squad effort that culminated in winning promotion to Division 2 of the All-Ireland League after just two seasons….incredible! Here Manager Claire Wyper merits mention for her unstinting work and Elaine Conlon was a highly commendable and popular winner of the Womens player of the year award.

Finally, Ray congratulated all the Buccaneers players who played for various Ireland and Connacht teams and he singled out Robbie Henshaw, who has enjoyed such a magnificent season, for whom the best is surely yet to come.

Outgoing Youths Secretary Fintan O’Reilly complimented the massive numbers playing at Minis levels. Getting numbers to play is the chief objective and this is more challenging at Youths grades where there is wide competition for the attention of U-13s to U-19s. The U-19s were top performers in this area claiming a provincial League and Cup double before bowing out of the All-Ireland in the semi-final. He thanked the Executive, particularly Diarmuid Morrissey and Ted Carty, for the great interest in youth rugby and he was duly grateful for all the mentors who coached and managed these fledgling players. Outgoing President Diarmuid Morrissey thanked all who helped row the boat which took a massive effort and he loudly noted the support of his wife. More volunteers are needed and welcome, especially with some 500 mainly young players now playing regularly. Buccaneers RFC needs to keep the numbers playing and hopefully some more Robbie Henshaw’s will emerge. Alliance with Athlone Institute of Technology and local second level schools must be nurtured and strengthened. He congratulated Marist College on completing the first ever League and Cup “double double”. Off the playing fields, fund-raising warrants close attention as the costs in fielding so many teams are considerable as well as endeavouring to maintain high standards of facilities at the club.

All reports were adopted by the attendance with Leo Galvin thanking the club’s executive committee and volunteers who run the staging of the Ireland U-20 matches brilliantly, a fact that was noted and appreciated by the IRFU.


The election of officers for the coming season then completed the business of the A.G.M. Army officer Frank Sheeran, currently serving with the Defence Forces in Lebanon, was elected President. The Moate native is married to Imelda and they have two children Rebecca and Conal. He won Leinster Colleges medals with Carmelite College, Moate, in 1975 and 1976. The latter team that included outgoing Connacht President Aidan O’Halloran won the All-Ireland title. Frank’s early sporting prowess was on the GAA fields where he has won County Championships at all grades from Minor to Senior with Moate All Whites. Frank joined Athlone RFC following his posting with the Defence Forces to the town in 1980 and he played on various teams winning Connacht leagues and an Ard Na Cregg Cup. He has coached underage teams and has held a number of positions including Fixtures Secretary on the club’s Executive Committee for many years. Interestingly, he was involved in drawing up the event plans for Ireland U-20 fixtures when they first came to Dubarry Park. Frank has served overseas with the Defence Forces on nine different occasions and will take up the position of Club President on his return from south Lebanon in July. In the interim, Diarmuid Morrissey will continue to cover presidential duties in the club.


President Frank Sheeran Secretary Mark O’Reilly Treasurer Gerard McLaughlin Public Relations Officer Michael Silke Football Chairperson Ray Fagan Facilities Chairperson Michael Cleary Commercial & Marketing Chairperson Lorna Stuart-Trainor Membership Secretary Ken Flanagan Representative to Connacht Branch Ted Carty IRFU/Connacht Branch member Leo Galvin