As President of the Ulster Branch, I am pleased to be able to extend both my own, and the Ulster Branch’s best wishes to City of Armagh Rugby Football Club for the 2016-17 season.
Armagh has a great history in Ulster Rugby going back to the 1870s and it is testament to the commitment and work of its members throughout the years that today the club is the envy of most with its superb facilities at the Palace Grounds, four adult teams, vibrant youth and mini sections and a ladies team.
On the pitch, the 1st XV have consolidated their position in Division 2B of the All Ireland League and finished a very credible third in last season’s SONI Ulster Senior League while the other adult sides all competed well throughout the season. The youth teams at all levels competed well in their leagues and the U18 side won the Ulster U18 Youth Cup Final at Kingspan Stadium. It is also pleasing to see two clubs combining to ensure that they provide rugby for young players and the combined Armagh/Clogher Valley U18 ladies side is an excellent initiative which was rewarded with winning the Ulster U18 ladies cup.
Success on the pitch is not just down to players but also to the club officials and volunteers who put in a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to keep clubs going and ensure that players get the opportunity to play. It is clear that Armagh are well blessed with great volunteer support. Indeed Ulster Rugby is indebted to the volunteers in clubs whose contributions are essential to the game. Suffice to say that volunteers don’t get paid. It is not because they are worthless, it is because they are priceless.
I am looking forward to visiting City of Armagh RFC and the Palace Grounds during the season and I wish the club a successful and enjoyable 2016-17 season.
President, IRFU (Ulster Branch)