BUCCANEERS AGM REPORT 2018-19 | News | Buccaneers Rugby Football Club Athlone

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published:Jun  04   2019

Outgoing President Gordon Ballantyne welcomed a good attendance to the Annual General Meeting of Buccaneers Rugby Football Club 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. Our 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. Our Media Officer Michael Silke was commended on the “many angles” he covers while Ronan Bushell “rose to the occasion in spectacular fashion” with our major fund-raising project ‘Buccs OsKaRs’. Mr. Cleary said that the club “was deeply indebted to all involved. The Business Lunch again proved highly successful and the club looked forward to Ray McLoughlin speaking again at next year’s event.


Membership subscriptions have risen to near 90% paid up, the enhanced on-line system maximising this. He strongly believes that “everyone who plays should pay” and that “annual fund-raising 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”.


On the playing front, our Senior team recorded a Connacht League and Cup double but suffered relegation in the All-Ireland League. Underage rugby continues to thrive and the club had no less than a dozen players wear the green of Ireland during the season. He thanked our myriad of volunteers and noted that our Administrator Geraldine “was the rock that we all lean on”.


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. However, finance is an area “that will need constant attention”.


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.


The Junior 1A’s had a much improved season and were competitive throughout while a Thirds side is a target for next season. The Under-20’s gave a very good account of themselves in the Leinster, finishing third in their League and reaching the Cup semi-final. Quite a number of U-20’s also gained game time with the Senior team. Buccaneers Youths teams were generally competitive in their various competitions with the U-17’s winning the Connacht Cup while the U-18.5’s were pipped by a single point in their final. They had five players on the all-conquering Connacht interpro winners whilst the U-17’s had seven players on the Connacht squad.


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. Minis rugby continues to mushroom.


As with last season, twelve Buccaneers players were capped by Ireland with Jack Carty and Robbie Henshaw playing on the Senior squad while a trio in a new group, Touch Rugby, competed in the recent World Cup in Malaysia.


Womens team manager Sandra Feary reported that the club had “difficulty fielding teams for various reasons”. We need to attract more women players” with or without playing experience. It was generally agreed that “the ladies are a great asset to the club”.


The following Officers of Buccaneers Rugby Football Club were elected for season 2019-20:-

President                                          Patrick O’Meara

Senior Vice-President                   Eamonn Collins

Secretary                                          Michael Cleary

Treasurer                                          Ken Flanagan

Media Officer                                   Michael Silke

Chairman of Football                    Billy McMickan

Facilities Chairperson                   Patrick Hynes

Minis Representative                    Michael Dolan

Senior Representative to Connacht Branch IRFU    Ray Fagan

Ex-Officio                                          Gordon Ballantyne


Patrick O’Meara new club President


Incoming President Dr. Patrick O’Meara thanked his predecessor Gordon Ballantyne “for his efforts over the past years”. It was “a signal honour to be elected President but also a responsibility”. He would do his utmost to ensure “to keep the club operating smoothly and fostering rugby”. He was really “looking forward to the volunteerism that is so evident” at Buccaneers.


Patrick O’Meara has been a member of Athlone RFC and then Buccaneers RFC for over 30 years. He moved to Athlone from Cork to take up General Medical Practice with one of the original Athlone RFC members, Dr. John O’Meara. Another uncle, Michael O’Meara, was the club’s first captain in 1951.


Patrick is married to Anne and they have four grown-up children and six grand-children. He firmly believes that “Buccaneers is a community focussed and volunteer driven club” and he “looks forward to meeting many members and guests” in the coming season. He has served the club as an honorary medical officer for many years.