After a very difficult 18 months, 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 continue to follow IRFU recommended return-to-play and clubhouse protocols and I would ask all players and supporters to respect this guidance.
Rugby players most of all want to play, so it was extremely disappointing that the 2020/21 season was effectively cancelled with the 1st Team playing only 5 games, the U20s 1 game, with no games for the other terms. This disappointment was particularly acute for our Club Captain, Max Kearney and our Women’s Captain, Honor McNamara, who unfortunately could not fully experience the honour of their roles. However, as compensation Max can proudly hold the record of the only unbeaten captain in a season!
Despite the lack of activity in College Park our players continue to make progress on the representative stage with Ryan Baird getting capped for Ireland during the Six Nations and 8 other players now contracted with Leinster / Leinster Academy & Ulster Academy.
Our players are excited to start the new season and we are all looking forward to playing and watching entertaining and competitive rugby at all levels across the club. The 1st XV has the Leinster League to compete for in September, which will be an opportunity to resume competitive rugby, while giving the players challenging games that will help prepare them for the AIL starting in October.
As the oldest rugby club in the world, we are acutely aware of our responsibility to safeguard the heritage of Trinity Rugby for current and future generations of players, alumni, parents and supporters by providing: “A Unique University Rugby Experience”, “ A Club for Life” and “An opportunity to add to what’s gone before”.
Preserving this philosophy comes with challenges, particularly with the impact of Covid-19; however, the Club has had committed leaders in our Trustees, Executive Management Committee, Coaches and players, who understand the importance of our tradition and are working to ensure that D.U.F.C. is well positioned to offer the next generation of players and supporters similar experiences and opportunities to those who have gone before.
We are grateful to our Sponsors, Patrons and Members who have contributed so much to our success by providing the necessary financial support to compete as an elite club; thank you so much for your support. However, given the current and increasing 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.
For prospective sponsors, we have a number of ‘packages’ that align Trinity Rugby to your values and needs and we would be delighted to discuss the potential benefits with you. We are also asking individuals to take out Club Membership, or if you are already a member, please consider taking a ‘higher-level’ membership that better supports the club and offers you additional privileges. I would also ask for your support at our various games, lunches, 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 sons’/daughters’ experience of university rugby all the more special.
Finally, and most importantly, I wish our Club Captain, Micheál O’Kennedy, our Women’s Captain, Ciara Black, 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; 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 and 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 to that rugby offers us all!