Presentation RFC will this season take part in the Gleeson League
FOUNDED in 1917, this year was to be a very special one for city junior club Presentation RFC.
A decision followed through last Friday, however, which saw their application to withdraw from the Munster Junior League 2 accepted by the North Munster Branch, was hardly the way to celebrate their centenary.
A number of reasons have been given for the move, such as a significant drop in player numbers, key players moving to other city clubs, no underage structure and a general feeling within Presentation that the current squad would not have the experience to compete in what is a very demanding junior league season.
The club denied that the decision had been based on financial issues but a spokesman did agree that the annual insurance of €2,500 per team is putting extra pressure on local clubs.
The decision at the recent club EGM last week means that the MJL2 will be a team less for the season.
“Our decision was inevitable and unavoidable,” Presentation RFC team manager Danny Lillis told us this week.
“This time last year, for instance, we had 45 players training for the new season. Last week we had 19 and most of them were young and inexperienced. We lost players to other clubs like Thomond and St Mary’s but you can’t avoid that. Of course, we are very disappointed that we had to make this decision but player welfare had to be taken into account. Last season we were depending on the ‘old reliables’ like myself and John Higgins in the front-row and Shane Enright in the second-row. I have played with Pres for the last 20 years and that takes its toll. You need good talent coming through.”
With the century chalked up, Pres are now hoping for a renaissance. They have handed Eoin Lynch the captaincy, Brendan Fleming is in charge of recruitment and they have appointed Niall McNamara, winner of an AIL medal with Young Munster in 1993, formerly of Thomond and coach of Newcastle West for the past few seasons, to take over the Gleeson League team.
Emphasis will be on grooming young talent for the future and the appointment of this new coach could provide the first step on the road to recovery.