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 the Malone Rugby Football Club for the 2016-17 season.
Malone have a great history in Ulster and Irish Rugby going back to 1892 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 great facilities at Gibson Park, four adult teams, vibrant youth and mini sections and, importantly, now women’s and girl’s rugby teams. Indeed the improvement work done in recent years to the clubhouse and pitches makes Gibson Park a superb facility for rugby players, both past and present.
Malone have also made a tremendous contribution to Ulster and Ireland rugby, both on and off the pitch and both the Ulster Branch and IRFU are very grateful for this. I have no doubt that this valuable contribution will continue going forward.
On the pitch, the club’s 1st XV consolidated their position in Division 2A of the All Ireland League last season and the 4th XV had success in winning the Forster Cup while the 5th XV got through to the McCambley Cup Final.
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 Malone are well blessed with great volunteer support. Indeed Ulster Rugby is indebted to the volunteers in clubs whose contributions is 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 Malone RFC and Gibson Park during the season and I wish the club a successful and enjoyable 2016-17 season.
IRFU (Ulster Branch)