The Connacht Rugby Halloween SkillZones with totalhealth Pharmacy are coming to the province!

SkillZone is a one-day Connacht Rugby camp designed for both boys and girls between the ages of 6-16. For minis rugby the focus of the day will be small sided games which will be fun and fast flowing. For youths players they will get the opportunity to learn new skills, tactics and positional expertise.

The event is run by Connacht Rugby staff who are IRFU accredited coaches and are also involved in both the Regional and Interprovincial squads.

There are three SkillZones scheduled for the Halloween break. One in Claremorris RFC on Wednesday 31st October followed by two more at NUIG RFC and Gort RFC on Thursday 1st November. SkillZones begin at 9.15am and finish at 1.30pm.

The day costs €25 and all attendees will receive our brand new SkillZone long sleeved t-shirt. You can register for the event by clicking HERE.

Galway Bay RFC, in conjunction with Galway Sports Partnership have assembled an outstanding cohort of Coaching Expertise for their upcoming seminar at the Ardilaun Hotel.

It is a unique opportunity to learn best practice and modern trends in coaching youth sport.

Connacht Rugby Head Coach, Andy Friend will open the event, fresh off the back of the provinces success in Belfast. Friend is in his first season with Connacht having previously coached the Australian sevens, Brumbies & Harlequins.

Tipperary native Paudie Butler is a former dual player with the county, who went on to become GAA National Director of Hurling. Heralded as a pioneer of child centred coaching in the GAA with an emphasis on the formative years of 4-12, he states, “A child friendly coach is able to put the child at the centre of the process. They are confident enough to withstand the pressure for the sake of the child.”

Ed Coughlan, has worked with coaches of Dublin hurling and Mayo football as well as an array of international athletes. He has transformed the coaching process with many of the teams he has worked with by implementing the findings of his 20 years in skills acquisition. His methods involve combining sports skills, sport science and psychology into the perfect blend where players learn by being empowered by the coaching environment.

For those who wish to attend there is a second part to the day, where Rugby coaches can complete their Affiliate referees course under the tutelage of Pro14 referee, Peter Fitzgibbon. Attendees can attend either or both parts of the day.

To register click HERE and fill out a short form.

Connacht Rugby are delighted to announce an upcoming event that will recognise the many women who have represented Connacht at senior level.

The Connacht Women’s Recognition Evening is simply that – a way for us to say *thank you* to all those women who have donned the green of Connacht at the highest level over the past 20 years.

Players will have an opportunity to reconnect and mingle with their old teammates, while all attendees will be presented with a special memento in honour of their contribution to women’s rugby in the province.

The event will take place from 7pm at The Sportsground on Saturday 3rd November 2018, with proceedings getting underway in the marquee immediately following Connacht’s Guinness PRO14 tie with the Dragons.

All attendees will avail of a ticket to the game while refreshments will be provided during the ceremony.

If you are a past Connacht Women’s player and would like to attend, please fill out the below form before 5pm on Friday 12th October.

Rugby coaches from across Connacht are invited to attend an upcoming event hosted by one of the world’s most renowned coaching consultant and sport scientists.

Coaching Better Everyday is a 90 minute interactive lecture by Dr. Wade Gilbert who will share his principles and strategies based on over 25 years experience in the field.

Who: Dr. Wade Gilbert is an internationally renowned coaching consultant and sport scientist, as well as an award-winning professor in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Fresno.

Gilbert has been involved in sport and coaching his entire life. His experience as a competitive multi-sport athlete and coach across a variety of sports fuels his passion for helping coaches and sport organizations enhance the quality of coaching and coach development.

Gilbert has conducted coaching workshops around the world spanning all competitive levels and in just about every sport imaginable. In addition to authoring the highly acclaimed book Coaching Better Every Season and over 100 scientific publications, he was the lead author for the USOC Quality Coaching Framework and also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the International Sport Coaching Journal.

What: Successful coaching requires deep knowledge both of effective coaching strategies and the principles that underpin them. That knowledge is then used to create a system for long-term coaching success. No secrets, no short-cuts, no magic formulas – just time-tested strategies grounded in enduring principles of quality coaching.

This is the key to sustainable and meaningful success across the four recurring phases of the annual coaching cycle, referred to as the 4E’s: Envision (Preseason), Enact (In-Season), Examine (End of Season), and Enhance (Off-Season).

The principles and strategies shared in this interactive lecture are based on lessons learned from over 25 years of studying, teaching, and working with some of the most successful coaches around the world, including coach of the 20th century John Wooden.

When: Tuesday 16th October (7.30pm – 9.00pm)

Where: The Connacht Hotel, Galway

How: Attendance to this event is free but you must register in advance by clicking on the link here


Next Monday marks the start of Parents in Sport Week 2018 and rugby clubs and schools across the province will be celebrating the positive role parents can play in their children’s sporting development.

Parents in Sport Week is a joint initiative between Sport Ireland and the NSPCC and is run in October every year with over 100 sporting organisations taking part in various events across the country. Its main aims are to ensure parents recognise their role in keeping children safe in sport, helping them to positively influence their child’s enjoyment and wellbeing and to encourage clubs to engage and involve parents in sport.

As a follow-on from last year’s incredibly successful Silent Sidelines campaign, which was run in conjunction with Parents in Sport Week, clubs and schools across the province will be falling silent again as parents and coaches are asked to Play Your Part – Let Them Play

Speaking about the initiative Spirit of Rugby Officer Luke Murphy said:

“The feedback we received from the young players during last season’s Silent Sidelines was phenomenally positive, they loved the freedom and ability to express themselves without fear of interjection from their coaches and spectators.”

“It can be a tough gig for coaches, especially if they are used to guiding players through every play, but the rewards can be immense, both from the enjoyment of the players, but also from the ability to get an over-view of the game and not to be micro-managing every facet of play”

This year will see a new addition with the inclusion of schools rugby across the province in the initiative and Luke is hoping to build on the positives of the recent blitz in Athlone adding:

“We ran a Silent Sidelines event part of an U14 blitz in Athlone recently and the day was a huge success. Our Coach Development Officer, Conor Galvin, organised a superb day where eight teams from across Connacht, including a team from Co Cavan got into the spirit of the Silent Sidelines event. We distributed lollypops as a fun way to engage with the parents and coaches, and to keep them quiet and it was a great opportunity for everyone to reflect on their role in the young player’s enjoyment and development”

This year’s Parents in Sport Week will be held between the 1st to the 7st October and further information on how you can get involved and support your local club or school can be found on the Child Protection in Sport’s website:

The Ireland Women’s squad for the November Test matches against the USA and England has been announced.

Head coach Adam Griggs has included six Connacht players, two of whom are development players.

They are Beibhinn Parsons and Aoibheann Reilly, co-captains and key players in the Connacht Under-18s’ historic Interpro trophy win this month. The four other Connacht players included are Laura Feely, Nicole Fowley, Nichola Fryday and Edel McMahon.

Speaking about the squad selection, Adam Griggs said: “The coaching group are really excited to name this side for the November series. We are up against two good teams and it’s a good chance to blood new talent and get in preparation ahead of the Six Nations.”This year we have included three development players in the panel. They are going to be fully immersed in the squad with an eye on fast tracking their development and making sure in a year or two they will be ready to go at international level. In saying that, when they come in to compete with the other players in the squad, if they are doing their job well, they have every chance of being selected.

“A number of the squad, including the likes of Claire Molloy, are playing in the English Tyrrells Premiership or have qualified through the IQ Rugby system, which is really helping us identify and add to our pathway for female players.

“We’re working closely with our colleagues in IQ Rugby and special mention must go to Wayne Mitchell who has helped us throughout our screening days over the summer, along with his and IQ Rugby’s continued support of the players which helps us to stay in contact with their clubs and monitor them to ensure we are be up to date on their performances and well-being.”

IRELAND WOMEN’S Squad (2018 November Tests (USA & England)):
Enya Breen (Bantry Bay/Munster) *
Anna Caplice (Richmond/IQ Rugby)
Nikki Caughey (Railway Union/Leinster)
Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/Leinster)
Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster)
Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock/Leinster)
Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo/IQ Rugby) *
Daisy Earle (Railway Union/Leinster) *^
Laura Feely (Galwegians /Connacht)
Nicole Fowley (Galwegians/Connacht)
Nichola Fryday (Galwegians/Connacht)
Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Emma Hooban (St. Mary’s/Leinster) *
Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)
Leah Lyons (Harlequins/IQ Rugby)
Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster)
Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster)
Edel McMahon (Galwegians/Connacht)
Sarah Mimnagh (Wasps/IQ Rugby)
Claire Molloy (Wasps/IQ Rugby)
Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/IQ Rugby)
Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/Connacht) *^
Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Aoibheann Reilly (Ballinasloe/Connacht) *^
Laura Sheehan ( UL Bohemians/Munster) *
Juliet Short (Railway Union/Leinster) *
* Denotes uncapped player at this level
^ Denotes development player


Energia Park, Donnybrook – Sunday, November 18, kick-off 1pm

England Women v IRELAND WOMEN
Twickenham Stadium, London – Saturday, November 24, kick-off 5.40pm

Connacht Rugby are pleased to announce the launch of the new ‘Just Play’ rugby initiative.

Just Play is a bring your boots style concept for adult male players (over 18) which is designed to be fun and easily accessible. It is specifically aimed at social players, players who may be on the fringes of club sides, players returning to rugby and retired players who may like another opportunity to pull on a jersey.

  • Played 10 to 15 a side (depending on numbers)
  • Minimal game regulations with the focus on enjoyment
  • Connacht Rugby development staff on site to oversee the event
  • The games will be played with full contact so prior rugby playing experience is required

Date:                     26/09/2018
Venue:                 Castlebar RFC
Time:                    6.45pm arrival | 7.30pm kick off

To express an interest in taking part or for more information contact [email protected]

While the Connacht Women may have played second fiddle to the interpro-winning Under 18s this weekend, the Laura Feely skippered senior team emerged worthy winners over Ulster 31-17 in Galway on Saturday.

While the Connacht lead narrowed on occasion, the result rarely looked doubtful as they dominated at setpiece time. For the most part Feely, Ciara O’Connor and Castlebar’s AnneMarie O’Hora monstered the visiting pack as they did in the previous games. Fortunately, the rest of Connacht pulled in behind this week and turned in periods of enterprising and entertaining rugby.

Foremost among whom carrying ball was lock Denise Redmond, who got herself through a power of work before and after a short stint in the bin for a first-half tackle (sans arms), and hooker O’Connor devastating in close, out wide, first phase or fifth.

In defence, Amelie Roux (5), Edel McMahon (7), Nic Fryday (8) and wings Jill Draper and Orla Dixon were prominent. Draper and fullback Mairead Coyne’s vocal contributions within the Connacht 22m likely proved crucial in denying the visitors two tries. Connacht’s Ulster effort compared to the two earlier rounds was a refreshing close to a disappointing campaign which up to Saturday morning had yielded seven points for and 71 against.

Saturday’s Connacht side looked much more willing to bruise Ulster’s soft centre in the early exchanges and expose fractures several phases in or, for O’Hora and Feely’s beneft at least, stick to what works and rumble it through tiring opposition ranks which too often stranded scrumhalf Kathryn Dane as the last resort on their goal-line.

For Dane, who applied herself well throughout with Jemma Jackson (10), the evergreen Eliza Downey (14) and wingmate Ella Durkan (11) it was a frustrating day peppered with occasional Ulster scores shortly followed by Connacht replies.

Mathematics (and indirectly, Connacht) decided the 2018 Interpro competition winners as Leinster and Munster drew 14-all in a winner-take-all final fixture.

Drawn 14 points apiece and tied on aggregate points for (78 each; 47 of Leinster’s coming at The Sportsground), Leinster’s defensive record – a miserly 14 – catapulted them into first place. Interestingly, at the bottom of the table one point separated Ulster and Connacht on aggregate, defensively identical (88 against), and Connacht one ahead with 38 for.

Connacht’s third-placing however came by way of a deserved week three victory, rather than aggregates.

The AIL First Division opens September 29 and Galwegians meet Blackrock in Stradbrook, Dublin, in a new seven-team format, the premier women’s club competition healing from a Highfield-sized hole this autumn. Galwegians host the recently-returned St Mary’s (relegated midway through 2017 and rejoin at Tullamore’s expense) in their first home game, October 7.

The Connacht U19, Women and U18 Girls teams have all been named ahead of their respective final Interprovincial Series games tomorrow.

The U19s head to Thomond Park to face Munster (k/o 1.30pm), and there are six changes to their starting 15 as they look to end their campaign on a high.

Jerry Cahir comes back into the front row after missing out last week through injury, while elsewhere in the pack two more U18 Interpro winners Cathal Fleming and Oisin McCormack are drafted in. In the backline Tim Lambe is brought in at scrum-half, Robert Deacy returns at inside centre, and Diarmuid Kilcommins completes the changes on the wing.

The Connacht Women also go in search of their first interpro win of the season when they host Ulster at The Sportsground (k/o 2pm), and their management team have made three changes from the side that lost to Leinster last time out.

In the front row Ciara O’Connor is re-installed at hooker, Nicola Caldbeck is named in the second row with Denise Redmond moving to blindside flanker, and Hilary Griffin starts at out-half with Nicole Fowley moving from 10 to 12,

Meanwhile the U18 Girls are one win away from an historic Interprovincial double for the province at U18 level. With two wins from two so far, victory over Leinster at Barnhall RFC (k/o 2.45pm) would see them emulate the U18 Boys in sealing the Interprovincial title.

They’ve made three changes from the team that beat Munster last week – all of which are in the pack. Claudia McNicholas and Kayley Mannion are restored to the front row while Hannah Johnston comes in as openside flanker.



1. Jerry Cahir – CC Roscrea
2. Billy McVann – Ballina RFC
3. Liam Winnett – Buccaneers RFC
4. Iarlaith Morrin Laheen – Galwegians RFC
5. Cathal Fleming – Monivea RFC
6. Donnacha Byrne – Sligo RFC
7. Oisin McCormack – Ballinasloe RFC
8. Joshua Dunne – Galwegians RFC
9. Tim Lambe – Creggs RFC
10. Dylan Prendergast (Capt)-  Westport RFC
11. Conor O’Shaughnessy – Galwegians RFC
12. Robert Deacy – Oughterard RFC
13. Diarmuid Kilgallen – CC Roscrea
14. Diarmuid Kilcommins – Corinthians RFC
15. Oran McNulty – Galwegians RFC

16. Eoin De Buitléar – Corinthians RFC
17. Conal O’Griofa – Corinthians RFC
18. Harry O’Reilly – Buccaneers RFC
19. Fergus Galvin – Galwegians RFC
20. Hubert Costello – Corinthians RFC
21. Evan Kenny – Corinthians RFC
22. Cameron Watson – Old Wesley RFC
23. Saul O’Carroll -Buccaneers RFC



1. Laura Feely (C) – Galwegians RFC
2. Ciara O’Connor – Galwegians RFC
3. Annmarie O’Hora – Castlebar RFC
4. Nicola Caldbeck – Tullow RFC
5. Amelie Roux – Galwegians RFC
6. Denise Redmond – Galwegians RFC
7. Edel McMahon – Galwegians RFC
8. Nichola Fryday – Galwegians RFC
9. Mary Healy – Galwegians RFC
10. Hilary Griffin – Tullow RFC
11. Orla Dixon – NUIG RFC
12. Nicole Fowley – Galwegians RFC
13. Catherine Martine – Suttonians RFC
14. Jill Draper – Tullamore RFC
15. Mairead Coyne – Galwegians RFC

16. Moya Griffin – Tullamore RFC
17. Elizabeth McNicholas – Tuam RFC
18. Julia Bauer – Suttonians RFC
19. Clodagh Dunne – Old Belvedere RFC
20. Tara Buggie – Galwegians RFC
21. Shannen Lane – Galwegians RFC
22. Ellen Taite – Mullingar RFC
23. Rachel Healy – Railway Union RFC



1. Mary McLaughlin – Westport RFC
2. Claudia McNicholas – Ballinasloe RFC
3. Kayley Mannion – Westport RFC
4. Jordan Hopkins – Ballinasloe RFC
5. Grace Browne Moran – Westport RFC
6. Emily Gavin (Capt) – Ballinasloe RFC
7. Hannah Johnston – Sligo RFC
8. Lily Brady – Westport RFC
9. Aoibheann Reilly – Ballinasloe RFC
10. Meabh Deely – Ballinsloe RFC
11. Hannah Gullane – Ballinasloe RFC
12. Niamh Kenny – Ballinasloe RFC
13. Beibhinn Parsons – Ballinasloe RFC
14. Finola Collins – Ballina RFC
15. Aine Galvin – Ballinasloe RFC

16. Macy McDermott – Westport RFC
17. Mia Fahy – Ballinasloe RFC
18. Sarah O’Rourke – Buccaneers RFC
19. Rachel Cox – Westport RFC
20. Rian Callaghan – Buccaneers RFC
21. Nina Mathastein – Westport RFC
22. Katie Hogan – Westport RFC
23. Ava Ryder – Westport RFC

The Connacht Under 18 Girls produced a brilliant performance on Sunday to defeat Munster 26-10 and make it two wins from two in the Under 18 Girls Interprovincial Series.

With the girls boosted from a late but deserved win over Ulster on the opening weekend, the side were again able to find an additional gear in the closing stages when needed, this time overcoming a late Munster fightback

The opening quarter saw Munster dominate much of the possession and territory, and the pressure eventually told when a quick tap penalty saw them touch down in the corner and a 5-0 lead.

That immediately sparked a resurgence in the Connacht camp, and they got a crucial score just before half-time when Beibhinn Parsons got her first of three tries, showing her lightning pace to set-up an easy conversion opportunity for Meabh Deely which made it 7-5 to Connacht at the break.

The second half which followed saw Connacht produce some magnificent rugby, and Parson’s second try made it 14-5 entering the closing 10 minutes. A second Munster try brought the gap back to 5 points, and with the visitors then on the front foot the Connacht defence had to continue in much the same vein that they started the game. That’s exactly what they did and they got their just rewards with two late tries to spark jubilant scenes at the Sportsground. 

While Parsons grabbed many of the headlines, the performances of Niamh Kenny, Lily Brady, Grace Browne-Moran and skipper Aoibheann Reilly also stood out.

The now unbeaten Connacht meets Leinster in Barnhall RFC tomorrow (Saturday) to determine the 2018 top spot while Munster and Ulster battle for third place in a finals day festival setting.

Sunday’s win was again the highlight of an otherwise mixed set of interprovincial results for the province. Following the U18 Girls game was the Senior Womens meeting of Connacht and Leinster, with Leinster proving to be far too strong in a 47-0 win. Meanwhile the U19s headed to Bangor last weekend for their second intpro game, but it was Ulster who came away with a 33-17 win.

The Women will be aiming to finish their campaign on a high when they welcome Ulster to the Sportsground tomorrow (k/o 3.30pm), while the U19s are in Thomond Park tomorrow for a 1.30pm kick-off against Munster.


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