Annual Report of the Club for 2023
In this Report, we provide a brief overview of Club activities throughout 2023 – another exciting year for our Club, with many highlights but also with efforts underway to overcome key challenges which our growing Club needs to address.
It was another great year to be involved in the club; Never have we had more teams, never have we had more people involved, never have we had more young boys and girls from the community wearing club colours. To see the Black and Amber throughout the community suggests that our Club is a major and positive part of our community.
It is especially gratifying to see our membership numbers approach a 50/50 gender balance. Female participation at all levels, all ages, all teams and all codes has greatly enriched our Club both in a sporting and a cultural manner. We are a ‘One Club’ and proud of it!
Review of 2023 on the field of play
While most competitions are finished, our season is not!
Our Adult Men’s Div. 5 team are waiting for their Promotion Play Off Final, our Adult Hurlers are in their Championship quarter final, our U15 girls & U14 girls are in Semi-Finals, our U13 boys likewise. And there is no doubt a team I have missed! Apologies in advance
For the teams finished playing, it was another successful and enjoyable year for all teams. While not all will have won trophies or medals, the true ethos of our games – playing with friends in a competitive but friendly environment – showed throughout the year. Long may it continue.
Our Adult Ladies won their league again for 2 promotions in 2 years and were runners-up in their League Cup so a special ‘bualadh bos’ to them!
Special mention also to St Brigid Boys School whose footballers – with 20 Gers players – won their Cumann na mBunscoil final in Croke Park. A great day for all the players (and probably enjoyed more by their parents!). This highlights the great work which our Games Devel. Officer Johnny Magee has done, and of course the effort made by the St Brigid’s teachers.
Special mention to our U9 & U8 girls who became the first ever Juvenile Camogie teams in the 137 year history of our Club. While the Club fielded an Adult Camogie team in the 1960’s we have never had a Juvenile team before. Congratulations to these girls, who will hopefully end up playing Adult Camogie with The Gers. A special thanks to their mentors and team administrators for their efforts. It is great to see the girls getting such enjoyment from our national game.
In terms of teams, we had 26 teams lining out in competitions from go-games to adult men and women.
1 Intermediate Football - Adult Men
1 Junior Football - Adult Men
1 Junior Hurling - Adult Men
1 Minor Football - male
1 Junior Football - Adult Female
Juvenile Boys & Girls
13 Football teams from Under 8 to Under 16
8 Hurling & Camogie teams from Under 8 to Under 15
Academy - Catering for 120 kids (4- to 7-year-olds).
In addition to this, we also have the G4MOs and the Dad & Lads, so in total there were 28 active teams in the club in 2023.
It is especially satisfying to see all the young faces at Academy on Saturday mornings. The support provided by Club Coaches, and in particular the U15 & U14 girls and boys, is fantastic to see – true Role models for our youngsters.
A significant focus in the past year at Executive level has been placed on the following:
· How do we gather, listen and act on feedback from all our players
· How do we develop the skills, strength and conditioning etc in all our players
· How do we improve the levels of retention and engagement in the teenage years
· How do we retain the high levels of coaching in the club and provide ongoing support to our coaches
A couple of key initiatives were very successfully undertaken and a number more will be in place in the new year. These included the Summer Skills programme, the Strength & Conditioning programme and a Feedback Session with younger players coordinated by E. MacMaoilir. We will be introducing more structure to the Players Forum with both an Adult & Juvenile forum planned. There are ongoing plans to provide greater support to our coaches and to formalise The Gers Coaching & Skills development standards and practices.
Club Marketing & Communications
This has been another major focus in 2023 and we have increased our presence on various social media platforms. This has increased our profile and has generated very positive feedback from both current and former players and from the wider community. A highlight was the ‘who we are’ video which was watched over 33,000 times in it’s first week from release.
This area will continue to be a key priority for us in the coming year.
A detailed note will be circulated at the AGM on club finances: However, as a growing club, it is getting more costly to run our activities and while we have a positive bank balance, our accounts for 2023 will show an operating deficit of €7,000 for the year. This deficit (and the similar one in 2022) have arisen as we have increased our expenditure across the club: on coaching, facilities, pitch rental, marketing, promotion etc. Our income has not grown in tandem with this and this will be a key focus for 2024 with excellent planning work already underway. We do need to broaden our funding base which remains skewed towards registrations which makes up more that 80% of our income base. On a more positive note, our finances indicate a growing club and our annual turnover continues to increase.
In 2023 the Club had access to pitches in Cornelscourt, Ballyogan and Meadowvale to play home matches. In addition we had winter (floodlit) training facilities in Stepaside, Loreto, Beckett Park and St Laurence’s. We did have access to Newpark and Seapoint RC pitches but, due to improvement works this has been – hopefully temporarily – lost. We have agreed access to Bective, Glenamuck Road going forward and only the recent very wet weather has prevented us starting to use this facility. This facility is not suitable for all our teams but will help to share the load re training facilities. As always, the club would like to express our thanks to all the above Facility providers but especially Loreto College, Foxrock – without the use of Loreto facilities, the majority of juvenile teams would be lacking winter facilities.
We are acutely aware that the facilities at our ‘Home’ pitch in Cornelscourt are not fit for purpose. The Club has been in constant contact with our Landlords in Cornelscourt, Foxrock Parish Council and would hope to be in a position to start improvement works in the near future. This will be a key work area for the club to progress this issue in 2024. The bottom line is that we need modern facilities in Cornelscourt and we also want a hurling wall. Temporary training nets are due to be installed (blame the bad weather again!) this month but this is a short term solution only. Of course, this will involve more expenditure and therefore more fund raising but that is the nature of the beast!
Our pitch in Ballyogan, which has an excellent surface and is getting fantastic use, is also limited by the fact that there are not toilet and changing facilities at the venue. It is difficult to use public facilities, especially for girl’s games, in the absence of basic toilet facilities and little progress has been made with DLR Council in 2023. This however is a work-in-progress.
Discussions to access other facilities in the area are ongoing as always. We know from talking to the other Clubs – of all codes – that pitches are always a problem. The supply of new pitches has not kept pace with the growth of population in South Dublin but this will be a difficult problem to fix. There is no easy solution and we are working with various groups and planning reviews which are underway in DLR.
2023 – Off the pitch.
Our Club Stalwart Austie Hynes was honoured for his 70 years involvement with The Gers with a Special Event and a Book marking his involvement in Club Life. Many thanks to St Brigid’s Boys School for the use of their facilities as we honoured Austie. New Perpetual Trophies for both Adult Football & Hurling Players of The Year were presented and are now officially known as the Austie Hynes Footballer of The Year Trophy and the Andy Gibbons Hurler of The Year Trophy (if you don’t know Andy, well you should make it your business to meet him – Andy is the Club’s Hurling Maestro and an original Patrick Moran member before the merger with Foxrock Geraldines)
The Christmas Party, which was a great success last year (2022) is happening again shortly, on Saturday 25 November 2023. We had a great night last year and encourage all our adult members and players to attend – a great night with your fellow members! As mentioned last year, it’s not all about what happens on the pitch!
Our Club is an integral part of the community but we do feel that we are missing out on more Social activities/events for our members and a greater effort must be made in 2024. These events help to generate the Club atmosphere required to sustain our Club. Volunteers to help run Social events are very welcome to assist.
The pace of growth that the club has experienced over the last period in particular brings its challenges, even if they are welcome ones. We do have challenges but, with the support of active members, these become opportunities not challenges.
We need to:-
1. Improve facilities
2. Get much better at fundraising and get more from current sources such as the Club Lotto and the Club Golf Outing and get new sources of income especially from sponsorship.
3. Ensure a Player pathway for each age group. This not only aids teams in retaining numbers but has been proven time and again to be of major benefit, both mentally & physically, to all our younger members.
We are continually reminded that the reason children play sports is to play/socialise with their friends. We need to ensure that our Club provides this opportunity to all our juvenile members.
4. Develop a broader club with a greater range of activities which will enhance the club brand – it does not just have to be Gaelic Games.
5. Involve more members in the running and volunteering roles within the club – many hands make light work.
6. Agree our coaching standards and practices and support our coaches in their implementation in a consistent manner across the club.
7. Define, with our members, a compelling vision and strategy for the club and use this as a springboard for the next phase in our club’s development.
A word of thanks
All our players, from Academy to Mothers & Others/Dads & Lads, could not participate if there were no volunteers to mentor, organise training, admin for their teams etc. We are building a great army of volunteers and to each and all, we say thanks. We want in particular to mention those mentors who are learning as they go! We all started at the bottom of the Knowledge game! Hopefully you are enjoying it as much as the children.
It is always easier if the load is shared so please step forward to assist if possible. Even if it’s only collecting balls at the end of a session, it means another Volunteer is free to help elsewhere.
To those who work behind the scenes in roles within the committee and executive and to those who arrange the pitch schedules and training rotations and also who get pitches cut and lined, well done.
To the organisers who go the extra mile, such as our Mini-All Ireland and the social night.
To those who made an extra contribution such as to golf outing and sponsorship of teams.
To the boys, girls, men and women who played for the club this year: You are our ambassadors and make the club proud every time you wear the black and amber.
To our Referees across all levels, thank you for your availability, flexibility with assisting neighbouring clubs and management of games. We are all aware of the shortage of referees across many clubs and we are very appreciative of the group of Referees in the club and wish those undertaking this training in the coming year the best of luck.
To our Committee members who give additional time to provide oversight on all club activities.
Finally, a thanks to our Games Development Officer: without Johnny, it would not have been possible to get to where we are!
This is a great club and we have a lot to be proud of. It gives us great satisfaction to present this annual report on behalf of the club committee. Here’s to 2024 and to exciting times throughout the oncoming year
on behalf of
_____________ __________ ____________
Chairperson Juv. Chairperson Juv. Secretary
Ger Moffatt Tom Purcell Mary Browne