President & Board Members

President, 2024/25

Jimmy Staunton

Jimmy Staunton is the first member of Castlebar Rugby Club, since their foundation in 1885, to be elected President of Connacht Rugby.

Jimmy has represented Connacht Rugby for many years and has previously served as Chairman of the Professional Game Board (2010-2013) and has served on various committees concerning governance and oversight of the game in the province over the last fifteen years.

A former Captain and President of Castlebar Rugby Club, Jimmy has represented the club with distinction as a player and administrator for over 30 years. He is married to Marita and has 6 children, all of whom are actively involved in the club with eldest son Mark recently retiring as club captain.

Jimmy is a director and co-founder with his brother John of the Elverys Sports group, employing over 600 people nationwide and proudly headquartered in Castlebar where he has lived all his life.

Chairperson of the Board

John Power

John is the Founder and CEO of Aerogen, Ireland’s largest indigenous Med-tech company and the world leader in Acute Care aerosol drug delivery.

John was the 2016/17 recipient of the European Entrepreneur of the Year Award and is a highly accomplished Entrepreneur, Engineer and Innovator.

With over 30 year’s executive leadership experience, John has been a Founder/co-Founder, Board member and investor in several technology-based companies in Ireland, UK and USA.

John has also served on several industry committee’s and Boards including the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology and the Irish Med-tech Association where he has represented Ireland as an industry expert at the EU Competitiveness Council.

As a lifetime sports enthusiast and community activist John is a Director of Moycullen Community Development Association with whom he has been a member for over 20 years. He is a founder committee member of Connemara Greenway Alliance and is the industry representative on the NUIG Sports Committee.

John has been a season ticket holder and business club member of Connacht Rugby for many years and is passionate about helping Connacht navigate the next stage of its progression and development, both on and off the pitch.

Board Member and Chairperson of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee

Niall Dolan

Niall is a member of the Board of Connacht Rugby and also serves as Chairperson of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee. He is a native of Ballinasloe and during his playing career he played rugby for Ballinasloe, St Marys and Buccaneers RFC. He also represented Connacht at Schools and U20 level.

Niall is a chartered accountant and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Masters of Accounting degree from University College Dublin. He is Chief Financial Officer and a Board Director of Applegreen plc. He has been with Applegreen since 2015 having previously held senior financial positions in other large Irish companies.

Board Member and Chairperson of the Professional Rugby Committee

Rory Raftery

Rory is a member of the Board of Connacht Rugby and also serves as Chairperson of the Performance Rugby Committee. Prior to his appointment he was the Chair of Connacht Senior Clubs, the Connacht representative to the IRFU National Competitions Committee and served on the Connacht Competitions Committee. He is a native of Sligo and during his playing career he played rugby for Blackrock College and Sligo RFC.

He is an active member of Sligo RFC and has held a range of positions as President, Chairperson, Chair of Finance, Treasurer, Chair of Sponsorship, Membership Secretary, Juvenile and Women’s Coach and has been a long serving member of the Club’s Executive Committee.

Rory is an accountant and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in Ireland. He runs his own Accountancy Practice, Raftery & Company. He is a former helm and training officer with the RNLI for Sligo Bay Lifeboat and currently serves as a Launch Authority. Rory is also a member of the board of a number of Charity and Community organisations.

Board Member and Chairperson of the Club & Community Rugby Committee

Paul Casserly

Paul is the Chairperson of the Club & Community Rugby Committee. He has been a member of Galwegians RFC for 40 years and played at Senior level for over a decade in many divisions of the AIL, winning the Division 2 title in 1998 in addition to numerous Connacht Senior Leagues and Cups. He has represented Connacht Rugby at Schools, Under 20 and Senior levels.

He coached at Youth and Mini levels and was 1st Team Manager for Galwegians between 2008 and 2011. He became a Connacht Branch Delegate for Galwegians in 2012 and stepped down in 2019 to become Honorary Secretary of the Connacht Schools Committee. He also served as Chair of the Connacht Schools Committee in 2022-23, prior to joining the Board.

Paul is a teacher of History and Politics at Clarin College, Athenry.

Board Member and Chairperson of the Commercial Committee

John Goode

John is a member of the Board of Connacht Rugby and is Chairperson of the Commercial Committee which has responsibility for overseeing all Commercial and Marketing activity in Connacht Rugby. Prior to his appointment he was a member of the Finance Audit and Risk Committee for a one year period.

John is a Senior Partner in Irelandia Aviation, the investment vehicle of the Ryan family and a leading developer of Low Cost Airlines around the world including Ryanair and Viva Air. John has substantial experience as a board member of a number of private companies including the chairing and participation of several board committees. He has also held a number of executive roles in the airline Viva Air including, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO.

Board Member and Chairperson of the Operations Committee

Eamonn Collins

Eamonn is the Managing Director and Founding Partner of Collins Boyd Engineering Ltd, a firm of Registered Architects & Chartered Engineers, based in Roscommon Town and working throughout Ireland.

In his work Eamon has led multi-disciplined professional teams of experts providing planning and all engineering services from concept to completion on a varied range of high-profile projects across both the public and private sectors.

Of particular relevance to Connacht Rugby is Eamonn’s experience from his involvement in the redevelopment of Hyde Park GAA pitch, numerous GAA Centre of Excellences, Multi-Use sporting facilities & many other pitch design-builds.

Away from work Eamonn has always been very active as a volunteer in the area of sport, having been involved across Rugby, GAA and Golf. Most recently he has been a member of the executive committee of Buccaneers Rugby club and is currently finishing his two-year term as President of the club.

Board Member

Miriam Kennedy

Miriam Kennedy is Head the Wild Atlantic Way at Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority. She took over the role in 2018 after over 15 years working in international business tourism & events in the public and private sectors.

Based in Galway, Miriam is responsible for the overall development of the Wild Atlantic Way and works closely with industry partners, stakeholders and communities to create highly networked, sustainable and resilient destinations.

An avid supporter of Connacht Rugby for many years, Miriam is passionate about promoting the West of Ireland on an international stage, connecting with both the Connacht diaspora and new visitors to our region.

Board Member

Ann Heneghan

Ann Heneghan is a Solicitor and the owner of Heneghan & Associates, a Solicitors Firm based in Galway City, with a Branch Office in Claremorris, County Mayo.  She is a native of County Mayo and has had a long time association with Connacht Rugby. 

Ann has been a Branch Delegate, a member of, and subsequently, Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee.  She was also Chairperson of the Connacht Rugby Supporters Club when the Club faced the threat of extinction in 2003.  Ann is also a Judicial Officer with World Rugby.

In 2018 Ann was elected as Junior Vice President of Connacht Rugby.  In the 2020/2021 season Ann became President of Connacht Rugby and was the first female President of any of the Irish Provinces. 

Chief Executive Officer

Willie Ruane

Willie Ruane was appointed CEO of Connacht Rugby in the summer of 2014. A Mayo native, Ruane played rugby for Connacht in the late 1990s and also represented Ireland at Colleges and U21 level.

Prior to joining Connacht, Ruane worked in the Banking Sector for 15 years and was a Director within Ulster Bank’s Business Restructuring Division.

Under his tenure as CEO, Willie Ruane has overseen a significant and substantial transformation of the club on and off the field. The club won their first ever trophy with the 2015/16 Guinness PRO12 victory, and he has played an instrumental part in the ongoing redevelopment of Dexcom Stadium.