Little did I know when penning my President’s massage at the outset of last season that I would be entrusted with this great honour for a second season in a row, the first since Albert Beasley back in 1971/72 to do so.
I’m sure the circumstances of Albert’s reappointment were entirely different to mine but the impact of the Coronavirus has meant that the vast majority of last season was concentrated on matters off the field to ensure the club remained in a strong position to hit the ground running when competitive action returned.
Thankfully all our teams, from the mini and youth sections, right up to the senior side, are now back in action as normal rugby activity resumes. We’ve all missed the interaction and vibrancy that surrounds a busy weekend of activity around the clubhouse and playing fields of Temple Hill.
We may have been devoid of action on the field last season, but the manner with which our membership rallied to the cause in the clubs hour of need to generate much needed funds, when staple fundraising events such as the Business of Sport lunch and Cheltenham race day had to be cancelled, was heartwarming.
Chief in this was the initiative to construct our Unity Wall. Apart altogether from the finance raised, it proved a brilliant exercise in reaching out and connecting with so many great people who have contributed to this club for well over a century. The names captured on the wall not only represent our storied past but our present and, indeed, our future.
Covid-19 had a significant financial impact on all sporting organisations and served to highlight, even more forcibly, the vital role our sponsors play in keeping the club game alive in this country.
Energia proved an outstanding new partner in their inaugural season as AIL sponsors in 2019/20, despite the complications imposed by the pandemic, and one hopes they continue to get the support they so richly deserve.
We were extremely fortunate to have such a loyal and committed sponsor in Keary’s Hyundai, who continued to support us last season despite the lack of activity and have extended their valued relationship with the club for a ninth season. Likewise, the juvenile section has benefitted massively from the generous support we receive from Zurich. We are thrilled that they too have committed to supporting this key sector for another three years.
I would like to thank Nike, the world’s leading sports brand, for their new gear sponsorship of the senior side in a move that will filter down to all team over the coming seasons. To have an association with such an iconic brand is really exciting and we look for to building on that in the years to come.
In doing so, I would also like to acknowledge the magnificent support we received from our previous suppliers O Neill’s and for their loyal commitment to this club for over two decades.
Like all clubs, we are hugely dependent on volunteerism. The necessary requirements set by the health authorities in order to keep everyone safe necessitated a huge commitment from many people.
In this respect, I would like to express my thanks for the incredible work carried out by our Covid safety officer Don O Riordan and his team of Compliance officers over the last 18 months.
Finally, I would like to offer my best wishes to new club captain Aidan Moynihan and to a cohort of excellent coaches, under the direction of Brian Hickey, that operate at all levels throughout the club. Cork Constitution has a long and proud tradition across the rugby spectrum in Munster and Ireland and has contributed greatly to the fabric of the game in this country and beyond. We pride ourselves in the welcome afforded to all visitors to Temple Hill and, after such a long absence, we look forward to welcoming teams, coaches, parents, and supporters from far and wide.