2020 – A year to remember for Arravale Rovers Ladies Football Club
A year that spanned a year and a half in sporting terms – A year that most folk would rather forget has become a year for the history books in Arravale Rovers.
It’s quite unbelievable to think that this report should have gone to press well in advance of the shortest day of the year but we find ourselves reminiscing on our great year in advance of the longest day of the following year.
After a stop/start commencement to competitive football in 2020 it was our Junior Ladies who set the ball rolling.
A fine squad lead into battle – managed and trained by Karl Lowry, James O’Leary, Donie Ryan, Sean Cummins, Annemarie Martin and Dymphna Ryan.
These fantastic, dedicated and hard working ladies put the shoulder to the wheel and walked away as convincing Junior C Champions on a fine September evening in Cappawhite. A very proud night for our club and the start of things to come for this wonderful team.
All the while our brilliant U12s were competing hard in their Peil na Cailini Gold competition under the tutorship of Tom O’ Dwyer, Connie O’Dwyer, Mark Gleeson, Marie Ryan and Carmel Tuohy.
Our U14s within touching distance of their U14 A Plate final, with Helen Cremins, Ronan Kennedy and Anthony Crosse at the helm.
Arravale Rovers U16s, ably led by Annemarie Martin, Paddy Delaney and Pat O’Grady – their place in the U16B final secured when the hammer blow struck.
Without doubt and with absolute understanding we were all fully aware that in the interest of public health and safety, a nationwide cessation of non-elite sport was the right call but that’s not to say that these wonderful players weren’t bitterly disappointed to not see out their respective games and seasons when they had reached such high goals to that point.
We reached an un-natural end to our club year but like anything – forward planning is always at the forefront of club officers, committee members, coaches and volunteers minds.
Zoom and Teams platforms suddenly became our best friend – our annual AGM saw us bid farewell to our fantastic Chairperson of 7 years – Helen Cremins – whose foresight and drive during her tenure played no small part in the clubs achievements to date, not to mention her dedication to training and the wealth of knowledge she shared with her charges as a committed and dedicated trainer.
Our ever-trusted treasurer / registrar Dymphna also took a rest from all things financial, having dedicated years to the cause and keeping us “in the black” and compliant. A marvel with a spreadsheet and still willing to give a hand out if needed (and of course it would be needed).
2021 was going to be a year for change , with new officers at the helm – Tom O’Dwyer bravely accepting the Chairpersons role, Joan Heuston putting the hand up as registrar, Jeanne Dowling heading up the finance department and 3 of our marvellous junior ladies-Clodagh Ryan, Niamh Richardson and Caoimhe Comerford stepping into the PRO role with gusto. Our other officers remained in position with Annemarie Martin staying on as club secretary, Donie Ryan agreeing to the vice-chairpersons role and Patricia McPhillips keeping us all on our toes as Childrens Officer.
Back at the business end of things, a few of our wonderful trainers group were in need of a well deserved break and we bid Helen Cremins, Ronan Kennedy, Paddy Delaney, Mark Gleeson and Barry McGrath adieu ( not goodbye !!!) for a short spell – and we welcomed Paddy Maher, Cormac Maher,
Aaron Hickey and Ruth Butler into the ever growing coaching squad for the season.
The months of online committee meetings, arm twisting (virtual of course ) debate, webinars, online training, organising, public health awareness and discussion paled into insignificance on the first evening that the gates in Sean Treacy Park opened and our girls came back…. in droves !!
Our players were overjoyed – our trainers, equally so.
2021 Trainers – Jeanne Dowling, Ciara Ryan, Steph Walsh, Clodagh Ryan, Caoimhe Comerford, Niamh Richardson, Peter Lambert, Anthony Crosse, Carmel Touhy, Meabh Ryan, Tom O’Dwyer, Connie O’Dwyer, Patricia McPhillips, Laura Ryan , Jurgita Mezele, Pat O’Grady, Marie Ryan, Paddy Maher, Cormac Maher, Ruth Butler, Aaron Hickey, Donie Ryan, Annemarie Martin, Karl Lowry, James O’Leary and Sean Cummins – not to forget our ever willing team helpers Siobhan Kinane, Keira O’Mahony.
With everything running smoothly we got word of the possibility of the 2020 season gaining completion and this was a wow moment with the possibility of no less than 3 finals to play. A scramble to re ignite the passion and the team bond with these 3 teams – who had migrated to their natural age groups, not to mention bringing management squads back together (an easy task to be honest )…. But it was games on and we were delighted, excited and nervous all at once.
In a short 3 week window, insuring no game of the 2021 season was left compromised, we had a job to do.
First up to the plate were our 2020 U14 Squad, their A Plate final to be played against Moyle Rovers in Moyle Rovers and to our utter delight this mighty bunch came home with our second piece of silverware for the 2020 season.
On to our wonderful U12s – the might of Holycross coming to our door to contest the Peil na Cailini Gold 2020 competition – could we dream to come away with 3 from 3…. Well, this crew didn’t waste any time convincing us, a glorious evening that started us thinking about the possibility of a clean sweep.
So- no pressure on the U16s – but with Moyle Rovers coming to Sean Treacy Park on the hottest day of the year so far – did we dare dream – oh yes we did !! Wednesday the 30th June 2021 we sat with the realisation that our lovely club had made our own history – winning 4 from 4 at all competitive age groups in one season.
What we must do at this stage though is understand where this level of success comes from… yes games are won or lost on the day but it’s the work done through our U6, U8 and U10 groups that helps facilitate the calibre of player that enters into competitive ladies football. The training, the knowledge, the desire, the confidence instilled onto these young ladies is remarkable. Followed through with a drive and unequivocal belief from our competition grade trainers – these players are prophets of their own future; our trainers guide them on that journey in a wonderful way – we are truly blessed.
The past, present and future commitment and attitude of our club officers, our wonderful committee, our hard-working trainers, parent groups and our numerous volunteers cannot go unnoticed on any occasion – foresight, dedication and friendship merging to complete an exceptional bond.
We have had a wonderful year, a year that took years to build but we strive to continue to the very best of our ability… all of us …all the time.