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  • Alan Duffy

Update on Club Activities - January 2021

Dear Players, Managers, Coaches and Supporters,

The Executive Committee met recently to review the past year and to make tentative plans for the coming year insofar as it is possible to do so in the current climate.


Covid

The past year has been marred by interruptions to our activities and an on-going uncertainty regarding when training and more importantly when competitive fixtures can resume. Unfortunately, such matters are way beyond our control and we must be guided by Government policy and by the directives of the Sports Council and the FAI. We are in regular contact with the FAI on this issue but as you can imagine it is impossible to make any definite forecasts on a likely date for a resumption. We will of course keep the membership informed of any developments but, in the meantime, we would ask you to adhere to the current guidelines as they apply to our sport. This situation will change over time but a full resumption of activity is unlikely in the foreseeable future.


A Resurgent Academy

However not everything has been doom and gloom and we are proud and delighted that our Saturday morning Academy has taken on a new lease of life so much so that, prior to the current lockdown, more than 170 boys and girls aged 4 -7 had enrolled as members of the RUFC Academy. Coaching sessions had been in full swing when we were forced to close but we understand that the enthusiasm remains high among the “Academicals” and that the reopening is eagerly awaited. We would like to thank the Academy organisers Aidan O’Looney, Barry Carroll and Alan Tyndell, not forgetting their able administrators Laura O’Looney and Marie Prunty. We would also like to thank Pat Browne and Richie Murray for their work particularly in promoting the Girls section on Saturday mornings. The whole operation has been run with great efficiency particularly considering the additional burden imposed by COVID restrictions. We would like to express our special thanks to a group of young coaches, boys and girls, from within the Club who volunteered their services supervising and coaching our newest recruits. Parents too deserve mention for the support they show and for the interest they take in proceedings and for lending a hand when needed. The future is bright – the future is black and white.


27 Years of Progress

The introduction of over 170 new Academy members before Christmas brings our total playing membership to over 760 and, apart from the Academy, we now have 40 teams, boys and girls, ranging in age from Under 8s to Over 35s. The Club is now a bigger institution than many of our local schools and is managed entirely by voluntary effort. Considering that, when the Club was founded 27 years ago we had no more than 6 or 7 teams, the dying embers of our two founding clubs Raheny Boys and Dunseedy United, what has been achieved in the intervening years is truly remarkable and is a tribute to the hard work put in by many dedicated people some of whom, sadly, are no longer with us.


New Club Register

The figure of 760 members has been provided by our Club Registrar, Paddy Moore. Working remotely from his apartment in the sunny south east, Paddy has been working diligently during the lockdown compiling the new register. Many of you will have been plagued with his emails requesting details of your teams and he is now happy to report that the initial stage of the project has been completed. Next up will be a register of Managers and Coaches to include a database of their footballing qualifications. Following that Paddy has plans to compile a formal register of current and past Committee members and others, including Trustees, who have served the Club and who would be deemed eligible for voting membership under the Club constitution.


AGM

The Club constitution requires that an Annual General Meeting be held each year in May or June. We didn’t convene one last year due to the Covid restrictions and we cannot be sure that restrictions on such gatherings will be lifted in time to organise one this year. Later in the year we will review the situation and, in the event that holding a “live” meeting appears to be in doubt, the Committee will examine the option of holding a “virtual” meeting so that the normal functions of an AGM can be carried out. While formal elections to the Committee were not held last year, the current office holders agreed to remain in office for a further year or until such time as a “live” meeting could be called. But with the “on/off” nature of restrictions continuing to apply well into the year, the intention to hold the 2020 AGM sometime during 2020 was abandoned and the plan now is to hold it in conjunction with the 2021 AGM either “live” or “virtually”.


Finances 2019

One of the main functions of an AGM is to consider and adopt the Annual Accounts for the preceding year, in this case 2019. These accounts were signed off by our auditors (F.G. Cassidy and Co.) on 10th November 2020. The good news is that the figures show the Club recorded an overall surplus for 2019 of €6,578. The accounts also show a Capital Expenditure figure of €12,171 which will be of interest to members. This money was spent in two main areas, firstly on the refurbishment and redecoration of the Bar and Function Room, including the installation of a new screen, and secondly on the conversion of one of the changing rooms to a fully equipped Strength and Conditioning Room. THE S&C Room will be available to the older teams once we are allowed to reopen the Clubhouse.

Any member of the Club wishing to receive a copy of the Audited Accounts should send an email request to the Club Treasurer at treasurer@rahenyunited.ie .


Finances 2020

The figures for 2020 are currently being compiled and the Committee is pleased to report that, despite the turbulent year we have just gone through, the indications are that the finances remain intact. The lockdowns affected the collection of registration fees and also disrupted our ability to organise fund raising events during the summer months. Sponsorship income has also came under pressure and we had the added pressure of having to purchase Covid related sanitising supplies and equipment. However, the Committee is glad to report that the Club was recently approved for a Sports Council/FAI Covid Club grant to support the Club finances in these difficult times. The grant is greatly appreciated.

Following the collection difficulties in the early months of the year, registration fee income improved considerably due to the influx of new members and also due to a concerted effort by team mangers in collecting the annual fee. Unfortunately, a number of teams have had difficulties gathering all monies due and there is still a significant amount of fee income overdue for 2020/21. An all-out effort will have to be made to clear arrears once normal activities resume and the success or otherwise in collecting these arrears will have an impact on the level of fees for next year. Assuming that the bulk of this money is collectable, the Committee feels that a further reduction in fees can be achieved for next year which would be in addition to the €25/€30 reduction granted in the current season.

We should also mention that we suffered a cruel blow to our finances in August when our Lotto Jackpot of €12,600 was won by our very own Paddy Moore. Fortunately, we had the money put aside so there will be no long term damage to our finances. While on the subject of the Lotto, the Committee will be looking at ways to increase participation in the weekly draw. With the new influx of members and their families, we believe there is huge untapped potential in the Lotto which if, properly marketed and managed, could provide a valuable source of income for the Club in the future.


Administration

You may have noticed that our long serving Office Administrator, Martina Downes, resigned from the Club in October to take up a new position in the commercial world. We wish Martina all the best in her new job and thank her for her dedicated service to the Club.

With the bar being closed for business and with no activity taking place on the playing field, the Committee decided to close the office for the time being with the office routines being allocated to Committee members and some willing volunteers. The office phone is unmanned and for general enquiries callers are asked to contact us by email at officeadmin@rahenyunited.ie. Among the unusual emails received have been one from a local laundry advising that they had a set of unclaimed RUFC jerseys, one from a Pakistani clothing company offering to supply us with kit and an interesting one from a 17 year old coach with a UEFA C licence offering her services. All emails were followed up.

Apart from that, Dave Cregan continues to keep a watchful eye over the premises and makes sure that the facilities are maintained to the highest standard even while not in use. Dave has been a bit like the Grand Old Duke of York (look him up) a couple times during the summer when, having been given the go-ahead to open the bar and having marched his kegs to the top of the stairs, he had to bring them all down again a couple of days later. Hang in there Dave. It won’t last forever.


Sports Capital Grant

The Committee is currently working on an application for a Sports Capital Grant. The plan is to refurbish and upgrade the downstairs toilets and shower area, to erect a one-storey extension to the rear of the building to accommodate a new fitness studio to complement our new (but as yet unused) Strength and Conditioning Room and finally to erect a wheelchair accessible lift. We will keep you advised of progress.


2021

It’s impossible to know at this stage what lies ahead in terms of the resumption of training and the commencement/continuation of league and cup fixtures. Unfortunately, we don’t qualify for elite status, so for us it may be some time before we can tog out again.

We will continue to liaise with the FAI and the various leagues but realistically it looks like things will not return to any kind of normality until the vaccination programme is well underway and is seen to be effective. There is no point in speculating about dates at this stage. We can only wait and hope that things improve more quickly than expected and that will be down to every one of us adhering to the guidelines and respecting each other.


Ger Kelly

The Committee would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Ger Kelly, who sadly passed away before Christmas.


Ger was a stalwart of the old Dunseedy United and a very loyal and passionate supporter of Raheny United. He was a driving force in the construction of the original clubhouse and helped maintain / refurbish the facility over the years, most recently with the major refurbishment of the bar & function room and the installation of our strength and conditioning room. His contribution within our club will be felt by our players and members for many a year to come.


In recognition of this we recently unveiled a commemorative plaque in Ger’s honour to thank him for everything he has done for us. Fittingly this plaque was hung on one of the original walls that Ger helped build all those years ago.


Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.


And finally


If anybody has any comments or questions, please email them to committee@rahenyunited.ie


Thank you and stay safe until we can all meet up again somewhere sometime.

The Executive Committee

January 2021


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