President James Murphy's address last Saturday.

June 11, 2015

I am delighted to begin the opening ceremony of our new pitch and training area today.

Thank you to everyone attending today. A particular welcome to

-          our own Joe Schmidt, National Team Coach Ireland

-          Robbie McDermott, President of Leinster Rugby

-          Declan Leonard, Westmeath Co Council

-          TDs Robert Troy, Willie Penrose &

-          Our Neighbours who put up with the hassle of the construction

-          And all of our players, members, supporters and officers of our club


I was elected as your President at the AGM only 4 weeks ago, so Mick Lambe has been Club President for most of the term of this Capital Development and should be congratulated on what has been achieved in his term. I have big boots to fill with 11 trophies last season, covering youths and all sections of senior rugby. We won’t take any success for granted but as a club – we will keep aiming to improve and to develop the great game of rugby for everyone in our community.

We are a rugby club, our mission is to develop the game of rugby in the Mullingar community. We are now two years into a five year plan. The Foundation of what we do is our clubs RUGBY DEVELOPMENT PLAN. You will see signs in and outside the clubhouse, take a minute and look at them. It is a plan AND a structure to manage the development of ALL playing members & coaches regardless of age or ability, boys and girls, men and women. We are implementing that plan very effectively with qualified coaches at every level and new coaches coming through our own ranks. We are very lucky to have Derek Maybury as our Director of Rugby, Pete Faulkner as Chairman of Rugby Development Committee, and a strong team of coaches and managers. I chose Sean Og Brennan as my Vice President because he as Youth Coordinator was a huge part of the development plan being put into practice, Next season he is Age Grade Chairman with Tony Doolin as Youth Coordinator and Paul Ennis as Minis Coordinator, we are in safe hands on the rugby front. The work Dave Farrelly is doing as CCRO in bringing rugby to the local schools is part of that and of course, our strong traditional links with Wilsons Hospital school.  The womens section didn’t exist 6 years ago and is hugely successful, with players now coming through our 15s and 18s girls teams. We have a great Tag Rugby section run by Johnny Butler so we have all year rugby activity and we have the Special Needs section run by Barry Coade, Martin Noonan, Frank Hunt amongst others. It is an absolute joy to see the Mullingar Lions play at half time in the Aviva. 

We are on track with our rugby targets under the five year plan, I want to thank First Team Coach Dermot Dunne, Womens coaches Dave Farrelly and Davie Miller together with last years Club Captain of 3 years, Daryl Quinn, & last years womens captain, Niamh Kennedy for bringing home the trophies and gaining promotion to Division 1 and the AIL qualifying league respectively. To incoming club captain Alan Brabazon, whose ancestor was a founder of this club back in 1924, to Sarah Crosbie, incoming Womens Captain and Eugene Smyth as continuing seconds captain; to Mike Walls and Dermot Dunne coaching the firsts and Kevin O’ Brien coaching the seconds, to all our Minis and Youths coaches and managers - let’s keep the positive momentum going and with commitment from players together with these new facilities, we will see all of our boys and girls and young men and women develop both as rugby players and as people as they discover the ups and downs of life through the discipline of our great team sport rugby.

I will shortly hand over to Joe Schmidt for the opening itself but before I do, there are a lot of people to thank.

We wish to thank the Dept of Sports, Minister Ring in particular who couldn’t be with us today and the work put in by Brendan Leahy and Tony Doolin on the club side, and all of the local councillors who facilitated getting a positive decision on funding.

We could not have had our new pitches without our generous sponsors.

We thank our corporate sponsors:  Our main club sponsors Newbrook Group, our sponsors Green Farm Foods, Shay Murtagh Group for the naming of the grounds, Globoserv, and our many hoarding sponsors. I would like to thank the sub committee who organised the fundraising from businesses of Mick Lambe, Enda O’Reilly, Larry Hannon, John Hunt, Paul Isdell and Paul Ennis for their time and ideas and hard work.  In addition we have had hugely generous support from donors who prefer to stay anonymous.

Thank you to the group who made the Members Pathway happen so successfully; Tony Doolin and his committee of Donal Coade, John Murray and Ray Murphy.

Thank you to PST Sports, of Tralee, who did such a wonderful job on time and within agreed budget, and again thanks to Brendan Leahy for his knowledge and experience and hard work in getting the construction project to run so well.

Finally to the Trustees, John Fagan, Paddy Cooney and in particular……….. Terry Short ………..who oversaw the project to make sure we were on track and not getting bogged down in detail.

The simple fact is that we could not have delivered this development without our generous sponsors, donors, members and the Dept of Sports so can I ask everyone here to put your hands together to show our appreciation.


In the five year plan we identified that we need more revenue to develop and to run the club. Events are a big part of that and we have had a number of successful fundraiser events,

-          The 5k/10k run organised by Alwyn Gibney

-          The Golf Classic organised by Eamon Dunne and John Fagan

-          The Fashion Show organised by the players and Jan Rae Lindsay

-          We have a cracker coming up ‘ Strictly Scrum Dancing’ organised by Charlie McGrath andthree weeks after Ireland win the World Cup on November 21st

Contact Tony Doolin and his team if interested in contributing to the members pathway, and Donal Coade if interested in fundraising or contributing to Phase 2, which is the car park, showers & changing facilities, and making the clubhouse more fit for purpose. If YOU want to get involved as a volunteer we have some leaflets around the clubhouse with contact names and PLEASE, don’t be shy in coming forward because we need all the help we can get.

We are now setting out to do Phase 2 of our capital development project and anyone interested in getting involved is invited to a workshop in the clubhouse next Saturday at 5pm – we want everyone to have the opportunity to give their input and we will draw up a plan to make it happen.

So back to today, thank you to all who prepared for the day, our executive committee, particularly Alexis Tipper our Hon Club secretary, Willie Macken our Communications manager, Conal Fitzgerald, grounds and food, Damian McCarthy, house, Robbie Gunne, Barry Coade, Danny Purcell, Liz and Paul Rock & Sean Og Brennan, Se Purcell and there are many more.  Without their work and efforts we would not have a rugby club. THANK YOU, and please enjoy the rest of today!

As we recover from the celebrations of the Pitch Opening ceremonies, I would like to thank all who put in so much work to make bot the Project and the day itself such a success and to remind everyone that Phase 2 begins at 5pm in the clubhouse this Saturday 13th June. The initial meeting is a ‘workshop’ where everybody connected to the club is invited to contribute to what our next development phase should be.


Our overall target is to have better changing facilities, gym, and clubhouse/car park.  The more it costs - the more we have to fundraise; so we need to be realistic – but ambitious!  It will be an open session and we will bring the proposed ideas together into an overall project plan and budget based on the workshop.


I am really looking forward to the new season, with both our mens and womens senior teams playing in more competitive leagues and a lot to follow in terms of keeping momentum going with the minis, junior and Mullingar Lions. The senior fixtures should be available in late June and we will begin pre season training probably in early August with our Wilsons PPU opener in late August.


In the meantime, TAG rugby continues on Thursday nights, with a comedy night planned for Fridy 3rd July; maintenance of the new pitch needs to be implemented, and we have ‘Strictly Scrum Dancing’ pencilled in as a major event on November 21st 2015 – just three weeks after the World Cup Final.


Yours in Rugby


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