1983 was my first encounter with Barnhall Rugby Club as it was then having settled in Leixlip with my wife Mary and our first daughter Sarah. I recall coming in the old entrance gate off the lane that leads to Castletown to find a playing field with two rugby posts and a black Barna shed in the middle of the field as I remember.

There I first met Eddie Fitzgerald who was still togging out at the time. He was an inspiration then and still is today. The Barnhall legacy is that of Eddie and all the 69’rs. You just must look at what Barnhall has become today to see how that legacy has been delivered upon.

We now have possibly one of the best playing pitches and facilities of any club in Ireland much to the great achievements of another club stalworth Christy Dunne another whom I recall from the eighties having to carry him up the pitch on my back on training nights.

The foundation of this great club is thanks to the likes of Eddie and Christy, but without the numerous committees and volunteers it has had down over the years it would not be what it is today.  I would like to offer a personal thanks to all of you.

MU Barnhall RFC is now one of the largest clubs in Ireland attracting players and members from all over North Kildare and West Dublin. Our club is a community-based club and is embedded within it. The club’s association with Maynooth University is treasured and is of tremendous benefit to the club with significant numbers of scholarships being awarded annually to our players. This ongoing association is a perfect fit for both club and university and I would like to thank the Maynooth University president Professor Eeva Leinonen very much for her continued support and interest she has expressed in enhancing our relationship into the future.

So, to the future and the coming season, I would like to personally invite all members and friends together with our visiting teams to come to our club and to enjoy with us all our matches and functions while enjoying our wonderful facilities.

Finally, to our teams, players, and coaches I wish great success for you all both on and off the field of play always remembering to win with dignity and lose with humility, always respecting our wonderful game and its ethos.

Neart in Ar nGeag

Francis O’Kennedy

President Maynooth University Barnhall RFC