With just over half the season gone I am delighted to report one trophy in the cabinet and a healthy position in the AIL. Our 2nd XV and J3 are top of their leagues and our under 21s competing well against the big boys and looking like producing some good new players for the senior ranks.
Winning the Leinster Senior League shield is a marvellous achievement for Old Wesley as we have not been competitive in early season competition for a number of seasons. “Credit the boys” for all their effort which paid dividends in the start we had to the AIL. Having lost a number of players, particularly backs, it has been great to see the younger guys take their opportunity at the higher level.
We head into the second phase of the AIL without Tristan Goodbody, who for me, has been our player of the year so far. He has proven that he is one of the best props at this level, is our top try scorer and as captain has led by example throughout the campaign. Nigel Kinlan also leaves for OZ and his direct style will be missed in the centre. Our best wishes go to Tristan and Nigel in their travels and we hope to see them back in a Wesley shirt very soon.
On the plus side the long break over Christmas to our next league game against Queens away on 28th January will give our growing number of injured players time to fully recover. Our schedule after Xmas is going to be challenging when we play the clubs at the top end of the division. However it is wide open and there for the taking and I know we are up for it.
Our J1 have been going well and lie second 4 points behind Greystones in their league. Our J2 qualified for the strong section of phase 2 of their league and have struggled to compete. Injuries, jobs, heavy defeats and other events have reduced numbers at this level and work needs to be done to ensure we continue to field J2 teams. Our J3 are top of their league with only one defeat all season to Belvo. The J3 have a large squad but have been stretched in recent weeks and the break is needed for them also.
Our premier Under 21 rugby side is competing with the universities and premier AIL clubs and more than holding their own in this arena. We have had some great results at both premier and pennant level and our policy of investing coaching expertise and management organisation at this level will, no doubt, continue to bear fruit for the club. Our senior xv has had at least six current under 21s playing this year.
On the social side we had a most successful annual dinner which I was most proud of among my fellow Leinster presidents. Our program is regarded as one of the best around (in literary and financial terms), and our Terenure lunch was a great success. Our Christmas party was a great evening (and morning) and a huge number of players and Old Alex hockey club members thoroughly enjoyed the night. We have reserved Howards Way in Churchtown for New Years Eve for €30 a head and there are still 6 places available.
Again I remind members that we have a large number of players looking for employment. Most of them want a start and will consider anything to get them started. I looked at our team against Greystones and only 3 of the team are in employment – the rest are students or are currently looking for work. Contact me if you have anything going.
Financially, things are more or less on budget. Subscriptions are again slow and we will be ringing around looking for payment in the New Year. Please help us and pay up immediately. Players should note that subs need to be paid for insurance purposes. Discos have been hit again this year and we will struggle to achieve our budget for them as many have had to be cancelled due to fall in numbers. Bar revenue is in line with last year and budget.
We will again be running the “champions” draw in January – this year as well as the Heineken cup final in Twickenham we will include the Irish soccer game against Spain in Gdansk as first prize. This is a vital part of our fundraising and I urge everyone to help sell tickets. We also need helpers in distributing tickets and following up on sales and please contact me if you think you can help.
Bookings are also being taken for AIL lunches – we have Bective at home on 4th Feb and Corinthians on March 3rd.
Finally I hope you all have a great Christmas and look I forward to you continued support in 2012.