CLUB ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING: The Club Annual General Meeting took place on Thursday December 7 with a strong attendance present. Aedin Foley commenced the meeting with her Secretary’s Report. She was delighted with the progress made in 2023 and thanked club members, supporters and contributors for their commitment and hard work.
The standout social event was the Homecoming Night to celebrate Limerick’s All-Ireland victory and Cian Lynch’s captaincy of the team. The event was organised at short notice, but it was a testament to the hard-working crew of organisers, stewards, caterers, etc that the night was a great success. The Car Draw was a key fundraiser for the club and straddled both 2022 and 2023. The community was thrilled when local lady Mary Balfry was drawn as the winner of the Toyota C-HR Hybrid car. On that same night, Professor Dominic Harmon was presented with a Distinguished Service Award and Maurice Fitzgerald was named Club Person of the Year 2022. There was more excitement when Ireland AM visited Patrickswell GAA in the days leading up to the All-Ireland Final.
In terms of generating regular income, there are three principal sources. Firstly, the membership is now processed through ClubZap and there was a significant rise in membership revenue during 2023. The Weekly Club Lotto is a mainstay of the club, thanks to the trojan work of Maurice Fitzgerald, Tommy Reidy, Seamus O’Riordan and the ticket sellers. Finally, the Club Limerick Draw remains an important source of funding due to the continued support of our subscribers. Seamus O’Riordan and James McCarthy were thanked for their excellent work coordinating this draw.
As mentioned previously, the Car Draw was a significant event for the club and it was extremely successful. The draw was launched in 2022 and the winning ticket was pulled in April 2023. The profits from the Car Draw are ring-fenced for the Club Field Development Fund. Aedin was extremely grateful to the organising committee and the many ticket sellers who ensured a positive outcome. Tom O’Brien and his sub-committee were thanked for looking after Facilities Management. Ann Rice was commended for keeping the clubhouse in great shape and Niamh Geoghegan was complimented for managing the field bookings.
The Secretary then summarised the performances of the various adult men’s teams. The Senior hurlers emerged from the City Senior Hurling League with a record of four wins and one defeat. Unfortunately, they lost out to Mungret in the County League semi-final. The County Senior Hurling Championship started with an impressive win over Na Piarsaigh. The remainer of the group yielded two wins (Ahane and Kildimo-Pallaskenry) and two defeats (Kilmallock and Doon). Patrickswell needed resilience to see off neighbours Ballybrown in the quarter-final and we delivered a tactical masterclass to defeat Kilmallock in the semi-final. Unfortunately, Na Piarsaigh were too strong in the County Final and thwarted our bid for the Daly Cup. Aedin thanked the management and backroom staff for their endeavours throughout the season. She also thanked the volunteers who decorated the village in the lead-up to the final and Brendan Cawley for his excellent work in compiling the match programme.
The Junior As stepped up to the Intermediate City East League and performed strongly in the group to win five matches out of seven. Ultimately, Patrickswell won the Intermediate City East League before losing narrowly to Knockainey in the County Final. The Junior A Championship was a stiff test, but Patrickswell maintained their status. Our U-21 hurlers were obligated to play all their matches on astroturf as pitches were unplayable. This young team drew one match and lost three.
Aedin noted that the Camogie and Juvenile Club has 183 members combined. She expressed her gratitude to the coaches and trainers who invested so much time and effort into the players. The U-13 hurlers came very close to winning a County Final, but they were pipped at the post.
For the first time ever, the Camogie Club fielded two adult teams. They were rewarded with an Intermediate League and Junior Championship double. The Parish League was again the final event of the juvenile season, thanks to the continued sponsorship of O’Brien’s Pharmacy. It was also great to see Cian, Aaron and Diarmaid awarding the medals. The interface with the senior club works well and Aedin thanked John Murphy, Peter Maher, Kevin O’Brien and Donna Slattery. During the year, the club purchased helmets and hurls for Patrickswell National School. On the Scor front, Juvenile and Senior Scor went ahead.
Aedin congratulated Cian, Aaron and Diarmaid for delivering four-in-a-row All Ireland Championships. The two All-Stars for Aaron and Diarmaid put Patrickswell in third place on the national leaderboard. Aaron’s Hurler of the Year success was Patrickswell’s third success in a row. On February 10, the club will hold a Club Evening to mark this achievement. Aedin finished her report by thanking her fellow officers John McDermott and Michael McDermott for their assistance throughout the year. She also acknowledged the work of Michael Joyce, Martin Ryan, James McCarthy, Paul Foley, PJ O’Grady, the committee and sub-committees.
Afterwards, Michael McDermott delivered his Treasurer’s Report. In summary, 2023 had been a very good year for club finances. Michael noted that it was critically important to raise money to improve club facilities. He thanked everyone for their support in making 2023 a success and he expressed his gratitude to John and Aedin for their support throughout the year.
The keynote speech was the Chairman’s Address from John McDermott. John expressed his excitement for 2024 and the hopes that we would achieve our objectives on and off the pitch. He thanked the committee, sub-committees, officers and members for their support throughout the year. John was delighted with the Financial Statements and he attributed it to the power of people, which makes anything possible. John noted that there are so many great volunteers in Patrickswell, with the good of the club in their hearts.
The Chairman acknowledged that it is very expensive to run a GAA club. He placed the community at the heart of everything. Player welfare is so important and the club must ensure to follow the principles of Leadership, Control and Accountability. Every player must be given a chance to play, with high standards of coaching and mentoring.
John was very satisfied that membership numbers had remained solid, while membership revenue had increased significantly. The new housing developments in Patrickswell should spur an increase in playing numbers and overall club membership. John requested that more club members should become involved in day-to-day activities to spread the load of running the club.
He was enthusiastic that Field Development Phase One was on the cusp of launching because it had been a long time coming. John looked forward to a great new playing surface with floodlights and a walking track. The old pitch has served the club well, but a change is long overdue. Unfortunately the pitch will have to close for months and we will need to hire pitches to meet our requirements. A design consultant has been engaged and all the preparatory work has been completed.
On the playing front, the Chairman was delighted to be living in a golden era for Inter-county hurling. He expressed his pride in the achievements of Cian, Aaron and Diarmaid which has enriched our lives. He thanked all the Patrickswell team managers and backroom staff for the extensive time and commitment they invest. John also recognised the work of John Murphy, Kevin O’Brien and Natal O’Grady with the youngsters. The Chairman praised the continued support and generosity of our sponsors, Duggan Systems Limited, over the course of two decades and more. Working with Bernard and John Duggan was a pleasure for John and their sponsorship was an integral part of the club’s finances.
At the conclusion of his address, John confirmed that 2023 was his final year as Chairman. He was honoured to hold the position for five years and he had the opportunity to meet so many people. In particular, John paid tribute to his fellow officers – Michael McDermott and Aedin Foley. Michael was a thorough professional, who ran the club like a proper business. Aedin has the toughest job in the club as Secretary, but she had a solution for every problem and was respected at club and county level alike. PJ O’Grady was also thanked for his support to the Chairman. John expressed his condolences for bereaved families. In his closing remarks, John predicted that 2024 would herald a new chapter for Patrickswell GAA, with a new Chairman and fresh energy. He looked forward to Pairc Antoin O’Briain become a top-class pitch and a Daly Cup returning to Patrickswell.
There were subsequent addresses from President PJ O’Grady and Central Council delegate Paul Foley. The President remarked that Patrickswell GAA were handling significant amounts of money, but we are lucky to have three sound people at the helm to administer it. He said that the three officers worked full-time day jobs, but found time to run the club effectively. In his time as Chairman in 1977, a clubhouse was built and Patrickswell won Club of the Year in 1981. Today, we have great servants who want to redevelop the club again in line with modern standards. PJ was immensely proud of our three Inter-county hurlers, who are known the length and breadth of the land. He complimented the Homecoming Night and finished by hoping that we could get the pitch right and build a successful team.
Paul Foley paid tribute to John’s five years as chairman. He understood the huge sacrifice in terms of family and work. He also thanked Michael and Aedin for their immense work as Treasurer and Secretary respectively. Paul believed that a Daly Cup success is not far away and he took many positives from the season. At underage level, he urged more members to become involved as the coaching staff need help.
The election of officers was held as follows – Chairman Raymond Fitzgerald, Vice Chairman Seamus O’Riordan, Secretary Aedin Foley, Assistant Secretary Maureen O’Grady, Treasurer Michael McDermott, Assistant Treasurer Maurice Fitzgerald, PRO James McCarthy, Registrar Maurice Fitzgerald and Culture & Language Officer Muirne Bennis.
Raymond Fitzgerald then addressed the gathering in his maiden speech as Chairman. He acknowledged the great honour bestowed on him and the task ahead. He thanked his predecessor John McDermott for five years of great work and cautioned that we should never take people’s work for granted. Raymond paid tribute to every member who have given their time so freely to the community and the club. He is looking forward to working with Michael and Aedin.
Raymond moved on to his priorities as Chairman – a level pitch, floodlights, a second pitch, resurfacing the astroturf, extending the gymnasium and potentially additional dressing rooms. Ultimately, the top priority is a flat, drained, floodlit pitch with a second pitch for juvenile use. Raymond is mindful of accumulating crippling debts that can’t be serviced; hence the club will have to cut its cloth accordingly through a sensible ongoing process.
CLUB LOTTO: The Club Lotto draw on Monday December 4 was not won. The numbers drawn were 3, 10, 13 and 16. The bonus number was 21. The €100 Lucky Dip was won by Donie O’Gorman and the €20 prizes were claimed by John McCarthy, Teresa Griffin, Jack Ruttle, Breda Griffin and Kieran Darcy. This week’s jackpot is €6,200.