In a season that has brought so many accolades, one more was added on Friday night last when Cashel RFC was accorded a civic reception by Cashel Town Council.
In a packed to capacity council chamber Mayor Maribel Wood welcomed the distinguished guests, officers, players and supporters of the club.
“Your list of achievements over the past season is not just lengthy but very impressive. It includes the first team’s Munster Junior League title; Munster Challenge Cup; The Munster Junior Cup, and Munster 7s Cup. The second team has chalked up honours in the Munster Gleeson League; the Webb Cup and Munster 2nds Cup while there were also a number of under age cups and of course your award as the Munster Junior Club of the year for 2010/ 2011,” the mayor listed the club’s achievements.
“While I don’t for a minute pretend to understand the rules of the game or indeed its distinctive vocabulary with references to mauls, rucks, scrums, loose heads, tight heads etc, I do however recognise the superb skills and standard of excellence the players aspire to.
In all sports, and indeed Cashel people are fortunate in having so many to choose from, success does not come easy or overnight. Its built up over many years and I am sure some of you have experienced the lean years when trophies were scarce and keeping a club together was trying and difficult.
“Of course success is not achieved solely by the players performance on the field. Many are involved at different levels throughout the organisation and we also recognise them for their dedication, time and generosity. Indeed on many a cold, miserable Sunday morning while most of Cashel slept, I witnessed from my home, fathers and mothers bringing their young sons, the players of the future, to the Main Street as they awaited transport to games around the country. Its that type of commitment that breeds success.
“There was a time when your present playing pitch at Spafield was isolated in the countryside, just green fields between it and the old National School. A time when a proud Willie Byrnes distributed orange segments to the players on the pitch at half time as a means of energising them for the second half,” Mayor Wood recalled days past.
A Cashel Newsletter dated Spring 1970 reports, “There was flood lighting put up around the field and even though we admit it was an expensive item, and some may even say unnecessary, yet it was well worth the cost. Lack of training facilities in previous years had hindered our progress. Now the number training at each session is very good. A further report in the newsletter of 1972 read, “The Clubs Dress Dance was a huge success with an attendance of 300. The forthnightly dances are also going very well. We hope to purchase our own field in the not too distant future”.
The Mayor went on to say that Cashel rugby has become hugely respected. Former players have excelled and continue to do so at Provincial and International level.
“The Club, established in 1919, has a colourful and interesting history. And where to next? Well only recently I was surprised to discover that a club had just been established in my town of Ecija in the deep south of Spain. They would surely benefit from your experiences and the weather isn’t too bad either.
“Your success has brought honour to Cashel and tonight we thank you for that and wish the Club every success in the future.”
Responding on behalf of the club former president Peter Silke, deputising for the recovering Padraig Ryan, thanked the council for bestowing the tremendous honour on the club. “To be in receipt of the highest distinction that the Town Council can accord is a wonderful honour and everyone in the club is delighted and appreciative of it.” He went on to say that when the new clubhouse was being built a number of years ago both the town and county councils were very supportive and helpful and without which they would not have been able the construct the clubhouse that the did.
The club he said has a long history. That history is being written at the moment, and it is hoped to have it in circulation by Christmas.
“ We’ve has some tremendous years with the last ten years being exceptional and the season just finished was probably the best the club has ever had,” he said. The trophies he said “just don’t walk on to the table as you don’t walk on to the pitch to win them somebody and some people make them happen.” The club he said is blessed with the current pool of players who’s talents and commitment are second to none. He complemented all the coaches and in particular head coach Ian Dunne on a tremendous job. He thanked the parent who entrust their children to the club and charge it to make good rugby players of them. The club takes great pride in the fact that it has nurtured the likes of Denis Leamy, the Fogarty brothers John and Denis, as well as the eight other players who have represented their country at various levels. He thanked the committee, the sponsors, the local traders in the town, the supporters who travel in big numbers on match days. The people who kept the club going over the ninety two years it is in existence, many of whom are no longer with us, it is opportune he said that they be remembered tonight, and the volunteers who give of their time and expertise.
He concluded by mentioning the new challenges facing the club in senior rugby, playing at a higher grade, the challenged will be bigger, the teams bigger, the hits bigger but the players, the structures and the will are in place to keep the name of Cashel Rugby Club to the forefront in Irish rugby.