One of the most dedicated, productive and helpful Public Relations Officers on the Irish club rugby scene, Shannon RFC’s Andrew McNamara is bowing out after ten fruitful years in the role. In his final club notes, he gives a brilliant insight into his time as the Limerick club’s PRO.
That’s it for another year of club notes and for me, it’s the end of writing 10 years of weekly notes, match reports and other such matters.
The decision to relinquish the role of PRO was made with long and very careful consideration but it’s one that at the moment anyway I have no regrets in making.
10 years has seen an awful lot happen in our club and for me personally. Highs and lows are part and parcel of any tenure, and thankfully, the highs far ascend the lows.
It’s hard to imagine any club official in another club experiencing what I have in those years. The years have wandered and meandered in a myriad of emotional and sometimes poignant occasions.
Births, deaths, marriages, victories, defeats, internal upheaval, external grievances and just the simplicity of being part of Shannon RFC all merge to make my term as PRO, a time of unforgettable memories with experiences that I will be eternally grateful for.
Some of those experiences though, are ones which I would rather not have occurred. The events that have made the memories are just too many to mention, but the constant in every experience is the people of our club and the great many friends that I have made both near and far.
I count myself to be very fortunate to have been involved with the club at a time we added five more All-Ireland League titles, an All-Ireland Cup and a clatter of Senior Cups.
At one stage the All-Ireland trophy was an almost constant presence in the house, sometimes acting as an expensive fruit bowl, which all led to almost taking winning it for granted. It is though, as we have recently seen very difficult to be at the top of the pile all the time.
However, I have to say that any Shannon team winning gave me as much pleasure and enjoyment as when our seniors lifted the blue riband competitions.
Across the club, I’ve seen probably more than my share of rugby games, often managing four of five over a weekend and I’d like to think that I gave all the sides throughout the club their share of glory when the need arose.
I’ve always tried to give a reasonably frank and forthright account of games and happenings when reporting, something which didn’t always sit well in and around the club.
Honesty, however, amongst ourselves and the honesty we portray to others has been one of the staples that has seen our club grow from our humble beginnings in 1884 to what we have become, a giant in Irish rugby. We may not be at the top at this present moment in time, but we’ll get back there again.
Anything I have done, and will do for Shannon is carried out with 100% of my heart and soul, and that in itself, paradoxically, is one of the reasons I depart.
The commitment of this role has become too time consuming to suit my circumstances. Even as I write, one of those grounds that I relinquish the role is an enormous distraction on my choice of office, namely the bed, and distracts the train of thought by climbing over the computer and demonstrating an exuberance that will serve the club well when his time to play comes in a few years’ time.
Three-year-old boys are great levellers, and couple that to a seven-year-old’s burgeoning rugby career than, the decision becomes a little clearer.
The season past has been without doubt the most time consuming ever(if it ever could get busier). The new website, Facebook and Twitter sites are like voracious entities that feed on one’s time and before you know it 1, 2,3 or 4 hours of you day has become consigned to history.
Social media is now the big thing and although it did take up time, I’m glad that we entered into social networking. I’m proud to say that we reached 1,000 followers on Twitter and can now boast almost 1,300 Facebook fans.
Now for those who haven’t a clue what that means – ask the kids or grand kids! I must thank Eoin Naughton for his generosity in allowing us to take over a Facebook page that he created.
The new website, www.shannonrfc.com, has been a triumph and I once again thank Des O’Dea for his ongoing help in its maintenance.
The media, and in particular those individuals locally who have tried hard to keep the club game in the public eye, I express my gratitude.
To thank everyone individually that has helped me over 10 years would be to insult someone that I inadvertently leave out, so to all those that have made my job that bit easier I most sincerely thank ye.
It has been of enormous pride to me that I sat on the executive committee of our club for ten years and been part of decisions that have moulded the future of the club. The headaches and trauma at times has been difficult, but that goes with the territory.
I’ve had my fair share of moments of pride and honour in my time, and to merit each in preference may take a long time.
Without doubt my proudest moment is not an AIL win, but watching my own son wear the black and blue jersey that has meant so much to me since I was 11 years of age in the fields of Coonagh and beyond. Little things, it’s always the little things.
My involvement, in some capacity, will continue, (ye won’t get rid of me that easily) – but it will less arduous role away from the front line, not for a year or two anyway.
I’ll conclude my ramblings (although I could go on), with a note of eternal gratitude to my long suffering wife Eveleen who has shown a patience that the saints in heaven would be envious of.
The back of my head, stuck in a computer, has been the usual conversational posture over the years and who knows, it may turn out to be my best side yet”
The relinquishing of family time so I could go to a thirds friendly or an Under-13 match, or both, has been commonplace and it takes someone with a certain degree of tolerance to allow that to happen. Shannon RFC are in debt to her and others like her.
So that’s it. I bid you adieu with my club philosophy that will stand the test of time forever, ‘Shannon you are my pride, my only hope and glory.’