Michael is Managing Director of the O’Hehirs Group, which employs over 350 people between its bakery and cafe operations, The Glasshouse Hotel & Dock 84 restaurant. After living in Galway for a number of years the family moved to Sligo and Michael, alongside his parents Breda and James, set up the family bakery in Sligo Town - the business will be 40 years trading in 2024. Michael is still heavily involved in the business today alongside his brother Enda.
Michael has been involved with Sligo Rugby Club for all his life, playing for the club at all grades and captaining the Senior team with distinction. He also played underage and U-20 rugby for Connacht. Within Sligo Rugby he has held many positions from Coach, Head of Juveniles & Youths, Head of Development Committee, Executive Committee member, Club Chairman and he became Club President in 2005.
At Provincial Rugby level, Michael has been Chairman of the Underage Competition Committee and also spent 3 years as Connacht Youth Chairman along with the title of Sligo representative on the Connacht Senior Forum. In 2020, Michael was elected as Junior Vice President of Connacht Rugby and then served for 2 years as Senior Vice President before being appointed Senior President in June 2023.
Chairperson of the Board
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 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 is a member of the Board of Connacht Rugby and also serves as Chairperson of the Professional 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 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 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 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.
Josephine Feehily is an independent member of the Board of Connacht Rugby. She has over 20 years’ experience at the most senior levels in the Irish public service and, since her retirement from full-time executive work, in leading significant change initiatives on behalf of the Irish Government.
During her career she held a wide range of positions in the then Department of Social Welfare, the Pensions Board, and the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, – the Irish Tax and Customs agency. In Revenue, she was Commissioner from 1998 and executive Chair from 2008 to 2015.
Following her retirement from executive leadership, Josephine established and chaired the first Policing Authority of Ireland. She chaired the Commission on Pensions, which reported to Government in 2021 and currently chairs the governing Body of the Technological University of the Shannon.
A graduate of the National College of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin, Josephine was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Limerick in recognition of her public service career.
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 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 The Sportsground.