It is my privilege as President of the Irish Rugby Football Union to extend my best wishes to City of Armagh RFC for the 2018-'19 season.
I am delighted also for the opportunity to congratulate the club on their magnificent 2017 – '18 season when being nominated Ulster Club of the Year, winning the Ulster Senior Cup for the first time and being promoted to Division 1 b of the AIL.
Through your President Willie Boyd I wish all your teams and supporters continued enjoyment and success for the current campaign.
I am aware that, as I write, discussions are being held regarding the future of the AIL and it is as yet uncertain what the format will be for 2019/2020.
Since its introduction in 1990/91 it has been the primary inter-club competition in Irish rugby and year on year its significance is evidenced by the substantial number of talented players who progress to Provincial and National sides as a consequence of having showcased their talents on club pitches throughout the campaign.
This recognition of talent, while creating some short term issues for clubs, also creates a pride and a ‘feel good’ factor within for those who have coached and encouraged these players, often from Mini Rugby days.
Such is in keeping with the wishes of the IRFU who are committed in their resolve to have in place a healthy club and grass roots environment across the Island of Ireland.
I will continue to be an advocate for clubs and for those within them who work tirelessly and largely without recognition, towards the personal and rugby development of young men and women, boys and girls.
On behalf of my Union colleagues I thank all club volunteers for their loyal and much appreciated support.
We are hugely indebted to you.
Enjoy the season
President – IRFU