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Memorable event celebrates a wonderful President

Memorable event celebrates a wonderful President

Michael Gallagher31 Mar - 09:39
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President's Dinner is spectacular success

There have been many great days on Creggs Road when the joy of sport and the wonder of humanity merged as one, but yesterday, Saturday, March 30, 2024 will match any of them.
Our own Adrian Bourke, hosted his President's Dinner in the clubhouse and it proved to be a wonderful meeting of friends from far and near.
Adrian's love of and devotion to Ballina Rugby Football Club is legendary and it was fitting to see crowds flock into the beautiful venue to celebrate with the big man and his family.
Club Chairman, Alan Rowe was Master of Ceremonies and among all his wonderful words was one sentence which stood out.
“People forget what you said, people forget what you did, but people never forget how you made them feel.”
Alan's words were entirely fitting as the large gathering celebrated a wonderful club president and remembered the finest of people no longer with us.
Alan welcomed the many guests including Adrian's family and his siblings, former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson and Henry Bourke. Also present were Gerry Casey from the IRFU, Jimmy Staunton President-elect of the Connacht Branch and friends and officials from Omagh RFC.
Alan spoke about Adrian's love of the club and his generosity of spirit. He spoke about his own great friendship with Adrian and the fun and advice received from a man with great experience of life. The chairman spoke about the Bourke siblings, Mary, Adrian, Oliver, Aubrey and Henry and what they have done for the club over the years. Their drive and energy made everyone proud to be associated with them, and very proud of their love of the club.
Alan spoke about the late great Gerry O'Donnell and how the club is building from the ashes of Gerry's loss. Alan recounted a conversation with Gerry when the doyen of Ballina RFC wondered how the club would survive the passing of such a great man as Aubrey Bourke. “Of course, Gerry stood into that gap and took up the mantel to drive the club forward. Now, we as an entity must step forward and take the club onwaards into a place Gerry always dreamt of. “We have great people, we have great energy and drive and we're building again,” he added.
Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, spoke about the energy in the club, the vitality of people and the growth of Girls rugby in the club. She spoke about her granddaughter loving the game and being involved at the Ireland Women's match in the RDS today.
She spoke about her time as President when she advocated for the continued development of female sport and she commented about her pride at the amazing progress being made by the female section of Ballina RFC.
The proud Ballina native stated she grew up by the Moy with four rugby-mad brothers and how she would go do to Belleek and later to Creggs Road to watch them play. She spoke of her pride at the wonderful developments at the club, the ongoing expansions and how Ballina RFC is held in such high-esteem around the country.
She spoke of her pride at being awarded life-time membership of Ballina Rugby Club, which she holds very dearly.
Alan Rowe then presented President Robinson with a framed picture of the then-president of Ballina RFC, Seamus Quinn, presenting her with he life-membership. He also presented her with a Michael Collins rug from Foxford Woolen Mills, embroidered with her initials and the yesterday's date.
The food and drink enjoyed by all was of the highest quality as usual and the boys of St Muredach's Senior squad, wonderfully kitted out in their team attire, were very-attentive to all the guests while the professionalism to Gerry Luskin and Alan Murphy knew no bounds.
The President of Ballina RFC, Adrian Bourke, then took the floor and said how privileged he was to hold such a position in the 2023/24 season. He told of his joy at each and every aspect of the club and thanked all who made Ballina RFC a living, breathing entity.
He had special words for his family who were the fuel driving him through life. Adrian also thanked Club Chairman Alan Rowe and Vice-Presidents Sandra Cribben and Ed Gunning for all the help they had given him throughout the year. He thanked Deirdre Whyte for all the help she gave him when he assumed the role of President.
The day was filled with friendship, energy and the sense of togetherness sport engenders.
Alan Rowe ended the event by saying “Ballina Rugby Club nurtures and develops young girls and boys into the future of Ballina and the surrounding community. The club works with all clubs and organisations in the community for the betterment of all and we're very proud of what we do and where we and where we're going.
The final element of the wonderful gathering was the birthday celebration of Adrian as Alan Rowe and Alan Murphy brought out a beautiful birthday cake and at the cue of President Robinson, the clubhouse echoed to the sound of 'Happy Birthday.'
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