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History made at Portlaoise Rugby Club AGM as first ever female club captain elected

It was an historic day at the Portlaoise Rugby Club AGM on Wednesday August 18 as a woman was elected Captain of the Rugby Club for the first time ever.

Amy O’Callaghan from Portlaoise, was elected as Rugby Club Captain and Martin Reddin from Portlaoise was elected as the first ever Chairperson of Portlaoise Rugby Club.

The Constitution of the rugby club was recently changed at an EGM in order to ensure good governance.

It now includes the role of Club Chairperson as well as chairs of a number of other committees including facilities and grounds, rugby, youths rugby, public relations and social media, clubhouse bar and disciplinary committees.

Amy O’ Callaghan is a French and PE teacher in Heywood CS. She is well known in sporting circles in Laois playing both football for Sarsfields and camogie for O’Moores on top of her busy rugby schedule.

Originally from Portlaoise, Amy started playing rugby in Portlaoise 2007. She moved to Highfield in Cork in 2010 to attend UCC and while there she played many years in division one AIL.

Amy earned caps for both Connacht and Munster before returning to Portlaoise in 2017.

The women’s team have had many successful seasons winning Division 3, Division 2 and eventually graduating to AIL Division 1 in 2008/2009 under Gordon Matthews – who is head coach again this year – Alan Flynn and Cormac Gilman.

Amy O’Callaghan said: “I am honoured and very proud to be elected as Club Captain in Portlaoise.

“It speaks volumes about the support and confidence the club has in its Women’s teams to break with tradition and elect a woman to the role for the first time.

“I am especially delighted as it paves the way for the young girls in our club to see that they are viewed as equals in the eyes of their club.

“Traditionally rugby is a male dominated game, but our girls can see that they have as much a role in the club as everyone else and that their skills and knowledge are valued.”

Martin Reddin, who is a well-known construction businessman in Portlaoise, expressed his delight at being appointed Chair of the Club.

He said: “This is an honour for me to be the first ever Chairperson of Portlaoise Rugby Club.

“I have been a member for many years and I’m delighted that my three sons also play rugby with PRFC.

“I firmly believe that everyone in the club wants the same thing – and that is to play our part in developing the club to its fullest potential.

“I hope that the Executive Committee and the Chairs of the new committees will help in developing a Strategic Plan for Portlaoise Rugby Club that will not only help existing members, but also play its part in bringing in new members into this great club.”

Phillip Bradley was delighted to be voted in again as President and he commented: “There is no doubt but that last year was a strange year to be President due to the COVID pandemic.

“I greatly look forward to meeting players, parents and members of all ages over the coming season physically in Togher, rather than over Zoom and emails.”

Trevor Flanagan, the Secretary of the Club began the meeting by expressing condolences to the Delaney family on the recent loss of Ellen Delaney, who had just joined Portlaoise Rugby Club the year before.

He also thanked all committee members for their extensive work done throughout the year.

Significant work has been undertaken in the past year at the Club including the development of a new gym, installation of a disabled toilet and upgrade of ladies facilities as well as drainage works and much much more.

Additionally, work also continues with a major green infrastructure plan, spearheaded by Rugby Club member Johnny Fingleton, which could see the grounds located in Togher, Portlaoise, potentially cater for the likes of basketball, hockey, tennis and athletics.

Those elected at Portlaoise Rugby AGM include:

President- Philip Bradley
Vice President- Harry Nichols
PRO- Pauline Flanagan
Club Captain- Amy O Callaghan
Chairperson- Martin Reddin
Vice Chairman- Trevor Flanagan
Hon Secretary- Trevor Flanagan
Hon Treasurer- John Brennan
Club Welfare Officer- Jenny Keegan
Chairperson of Rugby- Roy Glynn
Chairperson of Facilities and Grounds- Ger McEvoy
Chairperson of Youths Rugby- Philip Bradley
Chairperson of Public Relations and Social Media- Denis Croke
Chairperson of Disciplinary Committee- Jason Meaney
Chairperson of Clubhouse (Bar), Functions and Social- Harry Nicholls

Men’s 1st Fifteen Captain- Ross Cooper

Women’s 1st Fifteen Captain- Amy O Callaghan

The new Chairs will be targeting key members of the committee to set up sub-committees over the coming season.

Portlaoise Rugby Club always welcomes new members.

Costs are as follows:
Full membership: €130
Student/Youth Membership: €80
Family: €300.

All details can be found on Portlaoise Rugby Club facebook page or at bit.ly/joinpr

For further information please contact Pauline Flanagan, PRFC PRO at 0879984574.

SEE ALSO – Introducing the updated 2020 LaoisToday Senior football Team of the Year

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