Westport United

Founded 1911

Co. Mayo


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The Annual General Meeting of Westport United took place recently and for the second consecutive year, it was conducted through the Zoom Meeting platform due to Covid-19 reasons and it was well attended.

The meeting was opened with a minute's silence for all the deceased club members over the previous year followed by the adoption of the minutes of the previous AGM.

In his Chairman's Address, Stephen Duffy opened by following up on the progress from the motions submitted at the previous AGM. Mr Duffy's opening remarks on the onfield activities described as yet again another difficult and challenging year for the club but reserved special thanks to all the volunteers: The committee members, coaches, parents, members who help out on match days and of course, last but not least, all the boys, girls, ladies and men who tog out for our great club week in and week out.

Mr Duffy reviewed the season starting with the underage, describing The youth season kicked off on the 26th April 2021 with only odd age groups. For season 2022 The Mayo Youths are hoping to play both odd and even ages. Starting with odds in March and evens to follow in June. The girls age groups are to change to the same as the boy’s format. e.g., a girl who is 15 in 2022, is only eligible to play U16 and U17. When moving onto the junior report, Mr Duffy reflected It was very disappointing to receive an email on 5th February 2021, from The Mayo League, stating they were to null and void the 2020 season with only 5 games remaining. The Super League Team were sitting on top of league winning 8 out of 8 games. We contacted a number of clubs in the county looking for their support in trying to reverse this decision, but only a few clubs backed us and the Mayo League upheld their decision. Nevertheless, we again had 3 Junior teams in the Mayo League. When going through the onfield activities from the Junior teams, Mr Duffy reserved a special word for Philip Keegan, saying I want to give a special mention to Phil Keegan who unfortunately had to retire from playing on medical grounds. Everyone at Westport United is so grateful that Phil is going well and we would like to wish him and his wife Ciara all the very best for the future. Mr Duffy concluded his review on the junior teams announcing The Mayo Football League informed all clubs, starting from April 2022 they will no longer cover the player’s insurance. Going forward these will incur additional costs for the club. We are currently working with our insurance partners in regards to this matter.

Mr Duffy spoke about the club receiving the FAI Club Mark Award, saying A proud day for the Club on 19th August 2021 when Westport United became the 100th Club in Ireland to the achieve the award in the FAI’s Centenary year. FAI President Gerry McAnaney presented us with the club mark award on a great day. Former Minister Michael Ring attended, along with media groups, plus past and present members of the club. Thanks to Biddy Hughes for the use of the car park in Westport House on this prestigious day. To conclude, I am happy to say we have started the process of applying for the FAI 1 Star award. This is the next step in the club’s development and governance. The real benefits will be seen in the streamlining of the club, giving us the right structure to bring the club forward. Application is due on the 31st of May 2022. Mervue Utd is the only club in Connacht to have successfully achieved the 1 star.

Mr Duffy went on to update developments to United Park, highlighting "Down at United Park we are continually looking at ways in which we can further develop and improve the whole experience there. I know Michael Horan from the development committee will be giving us an update later. Here are just a few things that we introduced to United Park over the last 12 months.

Defibrillator – Last April the Club purchased a Defibrillator at a cost of €2,200 (which included an online First Aid course for 12 of our coaches).

I would like to thank local Councillors Brendan Mulroy, John O’Malley and Christy Hyland who contributed €1,300 between them, towards the cost of the Defibrilator.

I would also like to thank Eoghan Cunningham who dug the trench from the clubhouse to the front gate free of charge. A special thanks to our own Sean Kipper Joyce, who brought the power from the building out the to the front gate, where the defibrilator is located.

I think everyone will agree, especially after the Euros last summer, that this is a vital piece of equipment in our armoury. It will not only benefit Westport United but the whole community.

Advertising Hoardings: Last June we started to erect the advertising hoarding boards for both pitches. The signs are 8ft x 2ft in size. I would like to thank all the businesses who have supported us thus far. For any business interested in putting up a sign. We would ask them to purchase the sign themselves, they will own the sign and the cost of renting a space around either pitch is €250 per year or €600 for 3 years. I would like to thank the sub-committee of Adrian McGing, Michael McDonnell and Finian Gardner who were responsible for getting this project off the ground.

Match Day Pod: Last June, one might have noticed Kenneth Gannon doing his live streaming of matches in a new environment. Kenneth’s uncle Jerome Gannon of Nomadic Display, kindly donated a Perspex pod to the club. Primarily so as to keep his nephew dry during his live commentary. I would like to thank Jerome for his very kind gift, along with the great work Kenneth (commentary), Donal (videoing) do during the live streaming of games. I think everyone would agree that the input and expertise of Jesper Frisch has brought the viewing experience to a different level with the use of instant replays, score bar etc, to Dan O’Malley for the live updates during the matches. Thanks also Peter Moore of Westnet for all his help during the year".

Mr Duffy then spoke about the activities undertaken in Coach Education saying " Throughout 2021 United Park held a number of FAI Coaching education courses. These included PDP1, PDP 2 and a Coaching Workshop delivered by The FAI high performance coaches, Ger Nash and Danny O’Leary. It was made available to our underage coaches last July.

We were delighted to facilitate the FAI whilst hosting their Anti-Racism and Non - discrimination workshop.

Earlier this year the club also hosted the UEFA B assessments at United Park".

Mr Duffy went on to highlight the fundraising activities in the club over the last year, saying "Each year the club has a number of fundraisers that we run to enable us to manage the club in the best way we can.

Lotto: The lotto still remains the main earner for the club, with no ticket sales in pubs. The on-line sales are crucial to our existence. Even though it is going well, we still feel as a committee that we should be doing better. I can’t stress enough how important it is that all our committee, coaches, players and members keep forwarding on the lotto message to their contacts each week. At the moment it stands at €22,500. I think one person deserves special praise for all he does with the lotto. Every week Brian ”Techno” McNally brings in €200 plus of sales in the lotto and when one thinks about that, it equals to €10,000 per year. So thanks a million Brian for all you do for the club, and keep it up.

Santa Dash: For the second year running, members took part in a Santa Dash over the weekend of the 3rd, 4th & 5th of December, either as a group or an individual to raise funds for the club and Martin Keane’s Winter Food & Fuel appeal. Thanks to everyone who took part. It is great to say, we raised €2,000 for Martin’s worthy cause. Well done to our PRO Kenneth Gannon, who made the trek by foot from Louisburgh to Westport dressed as Santa Claus, not an easy task.

Others to mention were Last Man Standing, which was run twice over the Premier League season. Our Flag Day was in November. The Westport United and FAI Summer Camps were as usual well run and attended.

Thank you to everyone for your help and support. Mr Duffy turned his attention to the club sponsors by sayingFinally. I would like to thank all our sponsors, who supported us again during Covid -19 during these difficult times.

To Joe and Ann Corcoran of the Castlecourt Group. Who every year support us with great loyalty, thank you so much.

To Hastings Insurance who got onboard this year and sponsors our Academy. Many thanks to Paul McDermott and his team for their support.

To our sponsors of the live streaming of matches: The Creel, Danny’s Bar and ProTherapy. Many thanks for all your support and a special mention to our own Chris McGauley for coming up with the idea and coordinating it.

Thanks to Cosgrove’s Garage for their support of our junior B team this year.

Ronan Lally kindly sponsors our lotto tickets.

Thanks also to all the supervisors of the Community Employment Schemes: Noel Mulroy, Mark Reid, Olivia Ketterick, Maura Murphy and Ann O’Connor who provided us with workers in United Park and the Sports Park over the last year. Thank you to those who we’ve got to know well, Michael McHale, Stephen Whelan, Brian Coffey, Dave McCallum, Dave Ryan, Patrick Grady and Michael Cusack. Thanks for everything lads. I better not forget to mention Brian Cusack, who is always on the lookout for help for the club. We’d be lost without ya Brian!

Thanks to Jako for their continued support and for recently sponsoring our Football for All players’ kit, which will be presented to the players in early spring".

Mr Duffy concluded his address in his gratitude by acknowledging "I like to acknowledge the continued support of our games & coaching committee throughout the year, which consists of Emma O’Toole (Club Children’s Officer), Maria Moran and Jim Rocliffe. Last but not least. I want to thank everyone on this committee who show the club and I such patience and dedication in what again was a challenging year.

It’s hard to quantify all the work that these people carry out behind the scenes throughout the year but I’m sure it doesn’t go unnoticed and thank you so much during the last 2 years".

The floor took the opportunity following the Chairman's Address to pay tribute to outgoing Secretary, Claire Reilly for her Trojan work and her efforts were truly appreciated.

Outgoing Secretary, Claire Reilly gave a comprehensive report on all the club teams that partook in the activities of the club and how every team performed throughout the season.

The outgoing Treasurer, Michelle O'Toole gave a very detailed Treasurer's Report with the COVID-19 Pandemic highlighted in hitting the club's fundraising activities . Ms O'Toole highlighted a need to expand on the captive audience for the club's fundraising activities to generate extra revenue, being of the opinion that the reach to members on our fundraising activities is too narrow and as to how to improve the message for better engagement. Considering the impact on the club in fundraising activities, the club did very well under the circumstances over the past year. The outgoing Treasurer was thanked for all her work in managing the club's finances.

In the Development Committee Report, Michael Horan was delighted to say that planning permission has been obtained for the site at United Park for the development of houses. The monies raised through the sale of the site with planning will go towards the development of a third pitch and a 4G astroturf pitch with floodlights. However, to help with the forthcoming development to ensure its progress, the Development Committee is looking for more patrons to sign to the Westport United Patron Scheme.

There were a number of motions put forward at the AGM. The addition of the role of Club Registrar for the Committee was adopted as was a motion to reduce the Quorum for an AGM/EGM from 25 to 15. The motion to change the term from committee members being elected from one year to two years was defeated. The motion that any member of the committee cannot hold the same position for more than four consecutive terms. The motion was debated with an amendment to the wording proposed. The motion that only one Junior team should be entered into the Connaught Cup in any given competition year saw a healthy engagement from the floor with squad selections ultimately left to the discretion of the various team managers with more than one team allowed to enter.

The floor gave their appreciation to the Committee for all their work and also thanks to all the coaches who volunteer for the Football for All programme. Tributes were also paid to Aiden King, who was wished well by everybody.

Election of Officers and Committee: President: Willie Kelly Vice Presidents: Peter Flynn Snr, Frank Dolan, Tom Tarmey, Martin Keane, Aiden King, Sean McKenna Chairperson: Stephen Duffy Vice Chairperson: Keelan Moran Interim Secretary: Claire Reilly Assistant Secretary: Victoria Large Fixtures Secretary: Maura O'Toole Treasurer: Michelle O'Toole Assistant Treasurer: Donal Fahy PRO: Kenneth Gannon Youths PRO: Finian Treanor Registrar: Victoria Large Club Mark Officer: Mark McDonagh Fundraising Officer: Chris McGauley Safety Officer: Josh Moran Volunteers Co-Ordinator: Victoria Large Coach Co-Ordinator: Joe Kelly Child Welfare Officer: Mike McGeough Player Welfare Officer: Gary Cunningham Sports Park Directors: Doug Whittaker, Martin Barrett Committee: Sean Joyce, John Casey, Adrian Mc Ging, Colm McLoughlin, Brian Hope, Gerry Needham, Brian Coffey, Khalid Boukhari

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