Tuesday 22 October 2019

'When you are involved the whole time, the love just grows'

First female president Cashman has hands full with prep for World Cup, writes Daragh Small

Jean Kleyn goes over for Munster’s fifth try despite the efforts of Sarel Pretorius of Southern Kings. Photo: Sportsfile
Jean Kleyn goes over for Munster’s fifth try despite the efforts of Sarel Pretorius of Southern Kings. Photo: Sportsfile

In almost 113 years of the club's existence, Jackie Cashman is the first female president at Sunday's Well and she is determined to make use of her remaining months left in the post.

The Cork club are in the process of creating a facility that will be able to cater for senior women's teams, while preparations are also under way for IMART 2020.

After Bradford in the UK and Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of Basque Country in Spain, Cork will play host to the World Cup for Mixed Ability Clubs.

The week-long competition will attract over 750 international participants and Sunday's Well, who coordinated the bid, will be central.

"I will be finishing the presidency in May when we have our AGM but I will be staying on," says Cashman.

"We also have IMART 2020 which is the Mixed Ability World Cup. We are hosting that in June 2020.

"We have our Mixed Ability team which I am very proud of. They won the first World Cup, they lost it but they are going out to win it again.

"There is a lot going on in the background for that. I will definitely be sinking my time in there going forward after the presidency has finished."

Club president Jackie Cashman
Club president Jackie Cashman

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It's an exciting time for a club with a rich history ever since a group of choir and altar boys from St Vincent's Church established it.

Sunday's Well were disbanded twice before they eventually earned senior status in 1926, and today they are the only Munster club in Division 2B of the All-Ireland League.

They are currently bottom of the standings after last Saturday's 23-15 defeat at home against Greystones. That was a massive day for Cashman as she hosted the ladies lunch in the Sunday's Well clubhouse.

"Munster played at Irish Independent Park on Friday night. We had the following day pencilled for the ladies lunch way back when," says Cashman.

"The executive committee went down on Friday night and within two hours we had the whole place turned around. We had lunch for over 100 ladies to prepare for.

"It was a superb day. We brought the team in before the match. It is very important for the MAGS (mothers, aunts and grandmothers), they get to see their boys. We had a great day; unfortunately, the result didn't go our way but they played a fantastic match.

Directors of IMAS Mark Goodwin and Martino Corazze, IRFU Senior Vice President Nicholas Comyn, Lord Mayor Mick Finn, Sunday’s Well’s Jackie Cashman, Alan Craughwell and Liam Maher at the launch of International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament Cork 2020
Directors of IMAS Mark Goodwin and Martino Corazze, IRFU Senior Vice President Nicholas Comyn, Lord Mayor Mick Finn, Sunday’s Well’s Jackie Cashman, Alan Craughwell and Liam Maher at the launch of International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament Cork 2020

"We had the lunch in our clubhouse and the boys went out and played on the main pitch against Greystones.

"Between Dolphin and ourselves we have to share the pitch so we are lucky that our fixtures are the opposite weekends of each other."

Sunday's Well and Dolphin began their groundshare after World War II. Their clubhouse was established in 1960 with an extension added in 1981.

Combining

Cashman, who is a Turner's Cross native and owns her own childcare business, first got involved with the club when her older son Adam joined up nearly 15 years ago.

"I love it combining the presidency and the business too, but it is busy," she says. "Last Saturday, only for the family and friends that I have that have my back all of the time, I wouldn't be able to do what I did. I have a great support behind me.

"I never played rugby but my boys Adam and Seán do. I am involved in the club now coming on 15 years. I came in the gates with my six-year-old, Adam, at the time. It grew from there. I fell in love with the club straight away.

"I don't really know why I love rugby so much. It's just the way the boys were accepted into the club and the love they had for it transferred to me.

"I got involved then on the sidelines. Then I was involved in the underage committee. When you are involved the whole time the love just grows. There is a huge family element here."

Sunday's Well is a massive club that fields 13 teams across the mini, youth and adult sections.

It's a huge undertaking to represent the club at the very top but Cashman has loved her journey to get there.

"On Saturday mornings you would always be helping out with the teas and coffees. Then I was asked to go on the committee. I said it is a good thing to be involved in considering the boys were playing every weekend," says Cashman.

"Then I came onto the senior executive committee four years ago when I asked to consider being the junior vice-president the following year.

"Learning about the workings of the club, the foundations are the same in every club whether you are in Division 1A, 2C or you are a junior club. It's about getting your teams out and giving them the support that they need."

And when the opportunity arose to become the first woman in the club's history to take up the role as president, for Cashman there was only one answer.

"It's a privilege because there have been plenty of women before me that have come up through and haven't been asked. I am very privileged to be the first female president," Cashman says.

"I am the first female and I couldn't be prouder. Even just to look up at the board and see the first Ms as opposed to the initials of the previous male presidents.

"We had the Munster Women's coach Laura Guest as our guest speaker last Saturday. Just to see her progression in rugby as well. It was just phenomenal to see what women are doing within sport, not just in rugby."

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