The Bank of Ireland Connacht Women’s League returns this weekend with an intriguing list of first round fixtures.

Galwegians 2nd XV begin their defence of the title by travelling to Corinthian Park to play Buccaneers/Corinthians.

At the launch of the tournament, Wegian’s Aoife Williams (who is the holder of Connacht Rugby’s Women’s Club Player of the Year) discussed her side’s goals for the new campaign.

She said: “We are hoping to build and continue our success from last year. (We also want to) improve our quality of rugby and attract new players and grow the sport amongst women in Connacht”.

The side ‘Wegians defeated in last year’s decider, OLBC, travel to University of Galway in what should be a tight game between two strong sides. University of Galway won four of their six league games last season, before narrowly losing to Galwegians in a tit for tat semi-final.

They will have hopes of going one better this time around.

Corrib RFC host a young Tuam/Oughterard side that has been putting in encouraging performances in this season’s Bank of Ireland Invitational Cup.

Tara Leslie of Our Lady’s Boys Club, Rachel Riley of Corrib RFC, Sarah Woodmartin of Sligo RFC, Rhiann Heery of the Galway Corinthians RFC, Aoife Williams of the Galwegians RFC, Claire Coghlane of Westport RFC, Aisling Hahessy of NUIG RFC and Karly Tierney of Tuam/Oughterard

The Corrib RFC women’s team is newly formed and didn’t take part in last year’s Bank of Ireland Connacht Women’s League. They will be hoping to make a splash in proceedings over the coming weeks.

One of their players, Rachel Reilly, discussed what it means to the club to be competing in this year’s tournament. She said: “Being the first Corrib RFC senior women’s team since the late 90s, forming a new team, and many of our ladies not having touched a rugby ball before, we are delighted to be able to enter the league.

“Of course, we would love for our first season to go well, but regardless of the scoreboard, we are delighted to have the steppingstones there for all the Corrib RFC youth girls coming up”.

The final game in the first round of fixtures sees Westport RFC travel to Sligo RFC in a game between two sides that hold near identical records in this year’s Invitational Cup. With both sides having two wins and a loss on the board, all signs point to their league fixture being a close affair.

The corresponding fixture last season certainly fit that bill, with the game ending all-square on a score of 15 each. Westport did get the better of their neighbours in the Plate final, so Sligo will be looking to get one back against the league’s other side from the Northwest.

A full list of fixtures for this year’s tournament is available here.

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