In these strange times it is with particular gratitude and pleasure that I welcome all members, visiting teams, supporters and guests to Dublin University Football Club. I encourage ex-players and alumni to reconnect with the Club in order to ‘re-live’ the unique experience offered by Trinity Rugby, meeting old and new friends while supporting the continued success and vibrancy of our Club.
As rugby resumes, we are mindful of ensuring a safe environment for our players and supporters on and off the field. Our Covid-19 Safety and Compliance Officers have implemented the IRFU recommended return-to-play and clubhouse protocols and I would ask all players and supporters to respect this guidance.
As our players want to play at the most competitive level, it was disappointing that the AIL was cancelled last season and will not return to normal until the 21/22 season. However, the plan to split this season between provincial competitions in 2020 followed by a 9-game AIL competition with semis and finals next year, is I believe a good compromise given the landscape. For those of us who played Leinster competitions in the past, it will be exciting to resume old rivalries among a wider group of local clubs, while giving the players competitive games that will help prepare them for the AIL starting in January.
As the oldest continuous rugby Club in the world, we are acutely aware of our responsibilities and endeavour to uphold the ethos of the game and our Club. Preserving this philosophy comes with challenges, particularly at this time; however, the Club has had great leaders, in our Trustees, Executive Management Committee and coaches, who understand the importance of ‘living this philosophy’ and ensuring that DUFC is well positioned to offer the next generation of players and supporters, exciting rugby, a ‘Club for life’ and the opportunity to build on what has gone before.
We are grateful to our Sponsors, Patrons and Members who have contributed to our success; thank you so much for your support. However, given the current financial pressures on the Club, and rugby in general, it is crucial that we widen our support base to maintain the ability to execute on the Club’s vision. We are asking you to take out Club membership, or if already a member consider taking a ‘higher-level’ membership that supports the Club and offers you additional privileges. I would also ask for your support at our various games, activities and events throughout the year.
A big thank you to all who support the Club for your time and effort, in particular, the Trustees and the Executive Management team. To all our Parents, thank you for your support, enthusiasm and commitment to the Club. I believe that it makes your son/daughters’ experience of university rugby all the more special.
Finally, and most importantly, I wish our Club Captain, Max Kearney, our Women’s Captain, Honor MacNamara, Team Captains & Coaches, led by Director of Rugby, Tony Smeeth, and their players best wishes for the season ahead. Whatever the season brings, I hope you enjoy the challenge and experience and gain life-long memories.
On a personal note I am honoured to be President of a Club that I love dearly. It gave me the opportunity to play rugby at a very competitive level – to develop, learn and progress in rugby but also as a person while making life-long friendships. For this experience I am truly grateful and I am excited to play my part in helping ensure that our current and future players get the same opportunities to develop a life-long relationship with the Club.
I am looking forward to meeting you all throughout the season. Enjoy the journey and let us be thankful for the opportunity it affords us all!
President, D.U.F.C. 2020/21