The champagne was flowing in Portarlington RFC last weekend as club President Padraig Maree cut the ribbon to officially reopen the newly renovated clubhouse at Lea Road.
After weeks of hard work from club members and players, the cosy venue had been completely transformed into what members hope will become one of Portarlington’s premier venues for parties as well as clubhouse that they can proudly host visiting teams in.
In his speech Padraig Maree thanked everyone who had contributed to the renovations as he highlighted the willingness of skilled members to row in behind the project. Minis Coordinator Darran Hennessy had managed the project brilliantly with senior players Mark Petriw and Declan Hennessy looking after the electrical work and minis parent John O Sullivan adding a professional finish with his brush strokes.
As the night moved to the presentation of awards Maree thanked all minis and youths coaches by name and highlighted the success on the pitch achieved by their U-13s, U-17s and U-19s who secured titles this term. This success was just one of the reasons that the Club Person of the Year Award was given to Youths Coordinator Pádraig Mahon. As well as leading the 17s and 19s to silverware, Mahon has served on the club’s Finance Committee, run their teenage discos, helped to develop girl’s rugby in the club, and had run their summer camp as well as coaching the Leinster North Midlands Development squad.
The President then moved to the Senior Player of the Year Award and he pointed out that the winner Mark ‘Pica’ Petriw, who had been selected by a ballot of players and coaches, could easily have been given the previous award due to the long hours he put into the redevelopment project.
The dynamic back row player had been outstanding again this season as he led by example in a pack that had inspired the club’s run in the Provincial Town’s Plate. In a difficult league campaign Portarlington had needed to fight until the final whistle in all games to earn victories and losing bonus points and Petriw had often defied injuries to play a leaders role every Sunday. This was the second time that Mark had won the award and everyone involved will hope that he will make himself available for selection again next season as the club looks to bounce back up from Division 2A.
Having spent two years at the helm, Padraig Maree will step down from his role as President at this week’s club AGM. He has worked hard and achieved some wonderful development across the club as well as spearheading the twice sold out Strictly Come Dancing events. And, as he cut the ribbon to reopen the new look clubhouse he will surely have felt pride in this, his final project as President.