RUNY Visits Fisheads’ Fundraiser in Rockaway
This article ,written by Fionnuala O’Leary, was published in The Wave, the newspaper serving Rockaway since 1893. You can read it here.
The Rockaway ‘Fisheads’ Rugby Club’s Century Club Raffle didn’t disappoint as attendees were treated to pints, prizes and some great live music on Feb 1.
The boys in blue kicked off their annual event at Belle Harbor Yacht Club on Friday evening, where local band The Newfie Bastards entertained players and supporters alike with well-known ballads like ‘Fisherman’s Blues.’
Sebastian Cray of Rugby United NY (RUNY) was also in attendance with merchandise for several raffle winners, including The Wave’s Walter Sanchez, who will be able to hone his tackling skills with a new rugby ball. RUNY, the professional team founded by Irish businessman James Kennedy last year, also donated two season tickets to two lucky ticket holders. 0:14
There were also some big cash prizes up for grabs, ranging from $100, $500 and a whopping $3,000. But the lively awards ceremony was the best part of the night as the Fisheads acknowledged the hard work and efforts of some standout players.
Raffle MC and Inside Center Louis Maiocco won the ‘Most Valuable Player’ (MVP) award for his efforts on (and off) the rugby field last year, while Flyhalf Jared Lachner took home the award for ‘Best Back.’ Prop Nick Maffei was named ‘Best Forward’ and Hooker Ryan Smith was declared ‘Rookie Of The Year.’
“I’m honored the team felt I was the MVP for the second year in a row,” said two-time champ Maiocco. “It’s always nice to be recognized. Hopefully I can go out and have another good season.”
Meanwhile, the ‘2018 Coach’s Award’ recipients included Fullback Mike Bresnahan, Flanker/Center Joe Stagliano, Winger Terence Lorenzo and The Wave’s Digital Editor Fionnuala O’Leary for promoting the team after The Wave proudly became one of the Fisheads’ 2019 sponsors. Other big names supporting the team this year include Rogers pub on Beach 116th, Cabana bar and restaurant in Long Beach, as well as Beach Consulting Corp.
“We’d like to thank everyone for attending,” said Club President Pat Steffens on Monday. “The fundraising was successful and the Fisheads are looking forward to seeing everyone at our annual Rockaway St Patrick’s Day Tent party featuring Shillelagh Law.”
“It was great to see the community come out and show their support,” said a chuffed Co-Captain Ciaran O’Hara. “Events like this give us the means to reach out to potential recruits, design new uniforms, and fund our youth program.”
Likewise, club Chairman John McCann was also delighted with the “great turnout” and encouraged other young men to get involved with the team.
“The next generation of Fisheads have stepped up with their recruiting and fundraising efforts. Both needed to improve the men’s team and enhance the youth rugby program,” McCann said. “The fundraising event last Friday will help the Rockaway Rugby Club expand the foreign player exchange program.
“For the past several years, the club has been hosting foreign players to assist the team with coaching and to compete at a high level in a very competitive league. Players are usually recruited, through their contacts, from other men’s club in New Zealand, Australia and Wales.”
Meanwhile, speaking about the fundraiser on behalf of RUNY, Cray commented that “it was great to see the passion [of] a great New York club.”
“Staying connected to local clubs and helping build the rugby communities like the one that exists at Rockaway is something we are very focused on at RUNY,” Cray told The Wave on Monday. “We will continue to support Rockaway and look forward to welcome the Fisheads to our home opener on March 15th.”
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