It struck me earlier tonight that in the last month the first XV have beaten three Senior clubs from divisions above them, one Former division one team now playing in Div. 2 and two Div. 1 clubs. As little as three years ago these teams were beating us by 60 and 70 points in the Senior Cup.
Now I remember some years ago being at a game in which the last penalty decided whether we would be demoted to Junior Division three and discussing the ramifications of that in Keatings bar well into the early hours of the morning with John “Bull” Hayes, Pat Dunne, Pat “Scoby” O’ Callaghan along with our host Ger Whelan.
In the years in between we have won under 16, under 18 and under twenty All-Irelands. We have taken on the most famous, most glamorous and have come through. We have numerous Community games wins, We have won all of the Munster under-age competitions and Munster Junior competitions (except the Junior Cup which evaded us, due in no small part to the great rivalry with Nenagh Ormond). We have been through three AIL Round Robin series having won the Munster Junior league three times, qualifying finally on the third attempt with a clean sweep. In the three years as a senior club we are reigning Division three champions and have now laid our hands on the Limerick Charity Cup, both for the first time. We have a referee in the International and Heineken cup series, we have had players or former players on all of the provincial and National representative sides, including Lions. We have had former players return to play in their own provincial leagues in the southern hemisphere.
We have a great solid membership, a good clubhouse, fine grounds, nice facilities improving constantly, are getting match standard floodlighting to enable nighttime matches when we are required to do so. We have introduced the game of rugby football to many, many, primary and secondary schools throughout the county, where it had never been seen before. We have spread the good word and continue to do so.
We now “Box above our weight” on a regular basis.
When other clubs have folded under the pressure we have met all the challenges and have raised the bar constantly. We are recognised throughout the length and breadth of the country as one of the most progressive clubs in all facets of our development (It’s true, I’m not simply blowing our own trumpet).
We’re not doing too bad at all for a small little country club in the middle of County Limerick. We evolved, we did it our way (to paraphrase the great Frank). We need to keep evolving, together, changing to meet the challenges of the future as we have done in the past.
We cannot rest on our laurels.