It gives me great pleasure to present this report on what was an extremely successful year for our club despite the incredible challenges presented by a global pandemic. Whilst it could be argued that we experienced mixed fortunes on the field of play, we have certainly had successes with our Senior Ladies who won an historical victory in 2020 and were denied a bite at Tirconnaught in the Ulster club junior championship. The Minor Ladies also delivered a Division 2 Championship and kept the flag flying high whilst Our Senior men’s team also ensured that Tempo continue to play at the highest level in the county. In his report, Conor will give a much more detailed account of team successes and I will not waste any time duplicating his work. However, I would like to acknowledge the efforts made by all players in all grades, their commitment, dedication, sacrifice and hard work in keeping Tempo at the forefront of county competitions and providing us with the thrills and spills of many exciting footballing encounters.
In terms of involvement at County level and beyond, Aidan Breen, Lorcan McStravick, Ryan Breen and Tiernan Bogue flew the Maroon flag throughout the year, Aidan playing a pivotal role in many inter-county games. Stephen Jackson continues to play a valuable role as county logistics and statistics guru. Aidan and Tiernan also scooped a well-deserved nomination in Teemore’s county club all-star awards. In the ladies county set-up Blaithin Bogue, Cadhla Bogue, Molly Flynn, Ursula Fee, Shannen McQuade all played their part and represented our club with distinction. We should also acknowledge the Lisbellaw u17 squad and the contribution made by our dual players; Ruairi & Liam Moore, Seamus Cleary, Shea Mckeever, Michael Rafferty, Conor Wright, Ryan McCann and Michael Cleary.
From public relations perspective, I believe that we have a had an incredibly successful year and I thank those involved for their hard work on the social media side of the public-relations war. Thanks also go to parents and members who post their own photographs and messages on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. This is the future in terms of communicating with members at home and overseas. It would be a grave mistake not to acknowledge the work of Damian Campbell who updates us all through the local newspaper and has been doing this in his own quiet way for many years. For older members, club notes still remains their only lifeline with the club and for this reason Damian’s work is invaluable. This year more than ever online contact became prevalent and we were fortunate that a number of our players held virtual skills sessions and we were able to feature County webinars – all of which helped keep our club community connected.
On the social side of the club the Townland 7s which took place last St Stephen’s day was an extremely successful venture in bringing people together. Pulled together at the last minute, this was a much-muted affair compared to previous years, still, it was an event which allowed friends, family and neighbours to enjoy the spectacle, indulge in friendly rivalry and provided a chance to catch up. The pandemic has all but destroyed the playing side of the club and has also negatively affected important events such as the Paul and Orla Bogue Memorial Tournament which had to be cancelled for the first time in many years. The Lotto too was for a time reduced to online availability only and I must thank Phil Flanagan and Conor Meehan for managing this throughout lockdown. Teresa McGirr organised a very successful support mechanism which pulled in many volunteers from different parts of the community and was extremely successful in providing care and support at a time of extreme need. Similarily, the club made donations to several organisations working in our community and were instrumental in providing PPE equipment at the height of the pandemic.
On behalf of the club I would extend my congratulations to any members who were engaged, married or had babies in 2020, this Christmas will surely be a very special one for you and we wish you all the best. To members who lost loved ones this year I offer my most sincere condolences and I know from bitter experience just how difficult loss is. When you lose someone that you love, every day is difficult, but Christmas even moreso, please be assured of our best wishes, thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.
As I reflect on my three years as Chairman, I look back on a time seldom equalled in the history of the club. During this period we collected £130000 in our monster draw, secured a grant in excess of £250000 from public funds and were lucky to have subscriptions in of between £1000 and £1200 over a five year period from over 100 very generous members. This bounty enabled us to develop the lower field to the standard that it is at present and I would suggest that our estate is amongst the very best in the county and beyond. We are also breaking ground to begin the building of our new gym thanks to a grant of £20000. I think it necessary to thank the following people for all the work that they have done to help get us to where we are at the minute. Brendan Fee and Gerry Cassidy introduced the Club 100 draw and did a great deal to implement it. Marian Corry and Michael drove the Monster Draw, organising ticket promoters and liaising with clubs all over Ulster to plan selling routes and indeed selling a huge number of tickets themselves. Here, it would be remiss not thank all ticket sellers, and I should mention in particular Tom Doherty and Tony Brennan who were out sometimes 5 nights a week across the province peddling tickets. As intimated above, this project would have been impossible without the Villages Renewal funding and the grant secured by Phil Flanagan who spent many, many hours bringing the project to fruition and continues to seek funding from the most obscure sources. Thank you for this Phil.
The Canon Marron Memorial playing fields are a long way from completion and we still need a path from the upper field, surfaces tarmacked, floodlighting, changing and toileting facilities, retaining walls and the plateau area transformed into a spectator / carparking area – still a great deal to do.
I will always feel lucky that during my tenure, the Senior Men won their division 2 league title and the Ladies won the Ruth McGrath Cup, their league and the 2020 championship – much to be grateful for.
On the social side, my highlight has to be the dinner dance, this event had lain fallow for six years and against some resistance we decided to pull out the event, dust if off and breathe new life into it. As a result, we had a fantastic night in the Killyhevlin with 206 members turning out. We celebrated the victories of our men’s and ladies teams and commemorated the 1970s Senior Championship team. What a night! What made this night more special is that we didn’t know what was coming down the line .… Covid. Who knows when we will do this again? I must thank Colleen Breen, Aine Moane, Mary Murphy and Tom Doherty for an unbelievable job in pulling this event together. They are a credit to the club. I would also like to publicly thank the 70 sponsors who contributed to the night. This was never planned as a fund-raiser, but simply as a night for our community to get together an enjoy each other’s company in the final analysis, the night raised a very welcome £4000 for club funds!
In conclusion, I would like to thank all of our coaches, managers, mentors and selectors at all levels, but most especially at under age and Tempo Og – you are securing the future of our club. Without your work we could not exist. I would like to thank our referee Hugh Breen and his hard work – it’s a difficult and demanding job and perhaps we don’t say thanks often enough. To our coaching officer Stephen Jackson and youth officer Jamie Campbell I say a huge thanks to you for all of your vision and industry. I would also like to thank those who do the unseen work such as making tea, serving in the shop and making themselves available to be at the service in important roles that some might consider menial – you have our most heartfelt thanks. To our stewards, umpires and linesmen you role is key to the success of our club and its reputation throughout the county, thank you.
Without Michael Corry, Phil Flanagan and Conor Meehan, I would have found this job impossible over the past three years. These men have been my counsellors, confidantes, ear-slappers and friends. Our club is truly blessed with extremely competent and hard-working colleagues – gentlemen I offer you my most sincere gratitude. I believe that our club is entering a new era of achievement and success on many fronts and I look forward to it.
There are many ways of measuring success. Many would argue that the acquisition of silverware is the true measure of success for a GAA club. Whilst this may be true, I believe when we reflect on our many achievements and advances throughout the year, 2020 has a been fantastic year for the club in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges .
I closing I apologise if I have missed out on thanking anyone, this was certainly not intentional. And I would like to wish you and your loved ones a happy and peaceful Christmas and a healthy and contented 2021.
Go raibh maith agat.