ONE of the oldest rugby clubs in Ireland is in danger of closing due to financial difficulties and an ageing executive.
Co Carlow RFC chairman John Carley wrote a letter to members calling for urgent support or face the possibility of selling the land and putting the money aside for a new club several years into the future.
“Among the options we have to be prepared for is the fact the premises may have to be sold and the money put into trust for some other people to come along and start rugby in Carlow at some point in the future,” he said.
“It is one option, not one I am contemplating, but an option.”
Just seven years ago the club competed in AIL Division 1 and could name Felipe Contepomi as a player (although he only lined out once) but a series of relegations has left them second bottom of the Leinster League Division 1A.
“If there is a criticism we may have chased success too much. We may have chased success at any cost and we have paid the price. Now we have to build the club from the grass roots up.
“It is a very stark message. We have €16,000 going out of the club and we need that coming in. We can’t sustain it, and, on top of that, we need help to bring it in. We are at the very minimum of what a club can be run at.”
A failure to recruit members to the executive has been a massive problem too, while the recent cold spell damaged the club’s piping and forced the bar to close.
“The lack of young, enthusiastic volunteers has resulted in an ever aging and rather moribund management in urgent need of rejuvenation. Due to adverse weather conditions it was not possible to hold any events in the clubhouse since November 29. Training sessions and matches were postponed and there was extensive frost damage to the club.
“We will not be fully functional again until March, when all repair works have been completed. All this has impacted negatively on enjoyment of the club’s facilities and our ability to generate income.
“The club is at a critical crossroads in its long and illustrious history. It now requires radical change if it is to realistically face up to the challenges of the next few years so that it will grow and develop into a club we can all be proud of when we celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2023.”
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