David Wilson reporting for the Sean McCaffrey Foundation.
Last Friday night, the Glencarn played host to Blayney Rovers as they celebrated their 10-year anniversary. An evening of celebration, reflection and engagement contributed to a wonderful night for both club members and supporters alike.
The FAI Festival of Football came to Monaghan in 2009, as plans for a new football club in Castleblayney where devised. For years clubs fluctuated in the Castleblayney area before a committee with the help of FAI officer John Crudden established a functioning team to provide football for the area.
Blayney Rovers has developed to more than just a football club. The new development of their own pitch has seen an end to its nomadic years, previously having to play home games in Monaghan or Cootehill. Chairperson Gerry Callan spoke poignantly on stage, declaring they had no home.
The development of the new field in Drumillard has shown the incredible grit and determination of the committee members and volunteers to attain a home facility. The achievement of acquiring this amenity in just 10 years demonstrates the ambition of this club.
Next on the agenda is the construction of proper toilet facilities. This is in tandem with the ever-expanding youth structures which are being provided by the club.
As always, the need for volunteers, coaches, as well as players are essential. Without those who organise for the club, football would struggle in the area.
The evolution of girls’ football is another exciting project. Recently, girls’ teams have been set up with the help of some female coaches who have been involved in the educatory coaching pathway.
Stephen Marron was also honoured for his amazing contribution to the club. A club stalwart, he undertook many roles such as club secretary, treasurer, CMUL delegate and many more. One of the key driving forces behind the club, his inspiration continues to inspire those who continue his legacy.
Annette Hanley and the committee organised a brilliant list of speakers who spoke on a range of topics, not only football matters. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys spoke of how the club had first developed from her initial involvement. John Crudden also spoke of how his wish of a team in ‘Blayney was now benefitting from the initial organising of the club.
‘Mes que un club’ (A Catalan term meaning more than a club), is a slogan entrenched in the traditions of F.C. Barcelona, but also could also be used to describe Blayney Rovers. The club has had its ups and downs over the last ten years, but the club has now developed into an important hub for people to engage, interact and compete all through the medium of football.
Blayney Rovers isn’t just a club for the people of Castleblaney. The club represents the surrounding areas such as Aughnamullen, Cremartin, Doohamlet, Donaghmoyne and more. The club encapsulates people from all traditions and backgrounds and will continue to do so.
The future of the club is bright, Rovers are on the up. They have provided numerous players who have represented the Cavan/Monaghan Underage League and gone on to achieve magnificently on and off the pitch. The awards and accolades which were given out on the night indicate the successes and achievements of the club.
The Sean McCaffrey foundation would like to congratulate Blayney Rovers on ten years, thank them for their invite, and wish them every success in the future.