As the AIL begins tomorrow and all of the City of Derry teams are settling into their competitive schedule, Club Captain Stephen Corr would like to take this opportunity to wish all the sides this weekend and for the coming season, the best of luck.
"It is with great pride that I address you as Club Captain of City of Derry RFC for the 2018-19 season. Eleven years have gone by since I was last bestowed this honour and I hope that with the experience gained in that time, and with help from the other senior players such as David Ferguson, Adam Bratton, Simon Logue and David Graham, I am capable of leading the club forward this season towards success on all fronts. Tomorrow marks the start of the Ulster Bank All Ireland League with our 1st XV beginning our campaign in Division 2C following a disappointing season last year, resulting in relegation from Division 2B. Over the summer, the club has seen somewhat of a facelift with a new Director of Rugby installed in the shape of Paul O’Kane, along with an influx of players from both our promising under age contingent and those that have made the step up from local Junior clubs.
Kanesy has come in and completely rejuvenated the atmosphere within the club, right up from the youth section to the Ladies team and to the senior men’s teams. He has taken the role on whole-heartedly and his passion and dedication is starting to reflect onto the pitch through the rugby that is being played. Kanesy met with the senior squad on the last day of last season and the way he presented his ideas for the coming season gave the boys a massive lift; we left the changing rooms that evening feeling enthusiastic about playing rugby and looking forward to getting back to the training pitch ASAP, despite having been relegated only hours beforehand. This feeling was highlighted in the numbers that were showing up to training on a Tuesday and Thursday from early June. There would have been a minimum of fifty players out each night and numbers haven’t dwindled since. On a Thursday night there would still be at least thirty 1st and 2nd players training together with a panel of the Mighty Thirds and under 18s training together.
The enthusiasm and love for the game is undoubtedly back within the club after somewhat of a hiatus over the last couple of years and it is fantastic to be a part of. There is a real buzz around the teams and Kanesy along with Richie McCarter, Ian Orr and Joey Gallanagh have massive decisions to be made over selection for Saturday’s teams, given the amount of quality we now have in most, if not all, positions. Kanesy sold it to us that he wants to make Derry the stand out senior rugby team in the area and that we should be back dining at the top table of Ulster club rugby, if not Irish club rugby, and, starting tomorrow against a big, abrasive team in Tullamore, we hope to sell that idea to our fantastic support.
As well as Kanesy and the coaches, I would like to thank all of our volunteers, helpers and supporters throughout the whole club and at all levels. Along with the club sponsors, we as a club could not grow and progress without your help and support, so on behalf of everyone at City of Derry RFC, I want to thank everyone who has contributed in any way to the club in the past, the present, and in preparation for the future."
Stephen Corr, Club Captain