As the 2018 season approaches, with game 1 for the Cowboys tomorrow, we spoke with Club President Jo Buchanan to find out a bit about the behind the scenes work in the off season and his thoughts on the upcoming IAFL 1 season.
As the 2018 season approaches, I’m sure it is a relief to finally be on the verge of some football with a lot of hard work gone on in the background at the Cowboys?
“Yes definitely, everyone can’t wait to get back to it tomorrow. As disappointing as the IAFL 1 Bowl loss was last year, we had to immediately switch our attention to 2018 – such is the nature of football! It has certainly been a busy off season, between planning, rookie camp and training. But the board of management and the committees have all worked hard to improve the club as a whole and we are certainly in a great position going into this season.”
There has been a big drive towards recruitment this season and it seems to have paid dividends with the highest number of club members in a long time, what do you put the increase in numbers down to and how hard has it been to attract the new members?
“We have recruited a really talented group of rookies this year, and we are excited to see how they progress and improve throughout the season. In terms of the increase in number of members, that’s down to a number of factors. Our success last year certainly helped get our name out there in the local community. But it’s mostly down to the board of management and committees and the huge amounts of time and effort put in to running the club as well as improving our methods on how we go about advertising our events and rookie camp etc. We also have an associate membership scheme to be launched soon for those who are unable to play so keep your eyes on the website and social media for that.”
There are new uniforms for the upcoming season as well as new club sponsors. Was there a lot of work behind the scenes to organise?
“This was one of our main projects in the past offseason. We partnered with 4 new sponsors: Bada Bing Pizza Portadown, Ciaran Mulholland Construction, Dromore Physiotherapy Clinic and the Parkside Bar, who we are very thankful to for supporting the club. The new uniforms are similar to our 2012 – 2014 uniforms with the addition of our white away jersey.”
A really successful period off the pitch for the Cowboys with a run of hugely popular events like the Beer Pong Tournament, Superbowl Party and last year’s Quiz Night, is this a sign of the club coming together and moving forward?
“The Cowboys is more than just playing matches on a Sunday, it’s a club with 3 teams as one family. We place great importance on our activities off the pitch, to bring everyone together and build relationships as well as give back to the community, such as our 5k run last year in aid of Marie Curie. In 2017, we made it a priority objective to have more social events as well as try and reconnect with old Cowboys from the 80s and 90s. All our events last year where hugely successful and we are aiming to build on that for 2018. Our history project was also extremely successful, allowing us to reconnect with old players and coaches, create the history section on the website and host the inaugural alumni game. Mark Beattie played a huge part in this and our thanks to him for his hard work.”
As Club President what are your aims for the 2018 season?
“We have worked relentlessly in the last few years to set the foundations for the club to grow, it’s now time to build on that. Our aim for the senior team is to go one better than last year and win IAFL 1, which will be tricky. That starts tomorrow with our game against the Cill Dara Crusaders. However, recruitment was great, our preseason training has been strong, and our friendly game against the Louth Mavericks was very encouraging, so hopefully the good start to the year will continue right through. We hope to rejuvenate the junior team with plans already being made. Our flag team is ready to get back to action to hopefully reclaim their all Ireland title. Off the field, we are planning bigger and better social events, starting with the Quiz Night on Friday 6th April. There are also a few exciting projects in the pipeline so it’s going a busy and, hopefully, a very rewarding year.“
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