CONNACHT U20 Rory_Cunningham_U20
Expectations were high for this U20 group of players, considering the number of players with age grade international experience involved. It turned out to be a frustrating campaign, whilst playing outstanding rugby at times, they gifted the opposition soft tries in every game. An intercept try late in the second half against Leinster & Ulster ultimately cost them both games, particularly as they were the dominant throughout.

·    Lost 24 14 V’s Leinster U20        Friday 3rd September        Sportsground, Galway
·    Lost 24 12 V’s Munster U20        Friday 10th September        Mardyke, Cork
·    Lost 24 19 V’s Ulster U20        Friday 17th September        Sportsground, Galway

KEY PLAYERS Aaron_Spring_U20
·    Danny Qualter    Lock
·    Dave Heffernan    Backrow
·    Aaron Conneely    Backrow
·    Eoin McKeon        Backrow
·    Rory Cunningham    Backrow
·    Mark Dolan        Scrumhalf
·    Pat Finn        Centre
·    Conor Finn        Wing
·    Shane Layden    Fullback

Connacht were originally not included in the official schedule of U19 fixtures so had to play all their games away as a result. With 7 players involved with the U20 team V Ulster on Friday 17th September, they had to tog out again two days later on Sunday 19th against Leinster U19’s. The fatigue from playing 2 games in close proximity and missed kicks at goal cost them dearly. They played their best rugby of the campaign against Munster, scoring an excellent try from their own 22 with 10 players involved in the interchange of passes. A late Shane Layden try sealed the victory with 5 mins to go. They started strongly against Ulster with a try after 5 mins, but failed to keep the pressure on, letting Ulster back into the game before half time. Again, a late Shane Layden try secured the win in the final minutes.

·    Lost 08 00 V’s Leinster U19        Sunday 19th September         Donnybrook, Dublin
·    Won 19 11 V’s Munster U19        Friday 24th September        Garryowen, Limerick
·    Won 19 10 V’s Ulster U19        Saturday 2nd October        Dungannon, Co. Tyrone

KEY PLAYERS Diarmuid_Higgins_Jack_OConnel_U19
·    Diarmuid Higgins    Prop   
·    Danny Qualter    Lock
·    Brian Moylett    Lock
·    Conor Kindregan    Lock
·    Aaron Conneely    Backrow
·    Jack Carty        Outhalf
·    Tadhg Leader    Centre
·    Shane Layden    Centre
·    Conor Finn        Wing
·    Callum Boland    Fullback

Connacht had a tough assignment away to Leinster in the first game of this campaign. Connacht started poorly and were 30 points down at half-time. They settled better in the second half but failed to take advantage their opportunities. A much better performance in the second game against Munster Schools saw them led throughout and hang on in the end for a memorable victory. Ulster proved to be a stronger team in the third game in poor weather conditions in Ballinasloe. Yet again, Connacht failed to take the opportunity of points when in scoring positions.

·    Lost 37 00 V’s Leinster Schools U18    Wednesday 8th September    Donnybrook, Dublin
·    Won 11 05 V’s Munster Schools U18    Wednesday 15th September    Garryowen, Limerick
·    Lost 22 10 V’s Ulster Schools U18    Wednesday 22nd September    Ballinasloe, Co. Galway

KEY PLAYERS Chris_Ryan_U18_Schools
·    Thomas Ferrari    Prop
·    Philip O’Dwyer        Fullback
·    Conor Fitzgibbon    Wing

CONNACHT U18 CLUBS C_Fitzgibbon_Ross_Keller_U18_Club
Connacht started strongly against Ulster in the opening game of the U18 Clubs campaign in the Sportsground. Playing with the wind in the first half, they failed to rack up a significant lead for all the possession they had. Ulster applied more pressure in the second half and Connacht did well to hold out in the end. Connacht led throughout the second game against Munster but couldn’t sustain their lead late in the game losing narrowly. A well polished performance in the final game of the campaign, in relatively poor conditions in Donnybrook, saw them take the glory finishing with 2 players in the sin bin.

·    Won 08 05 V’s Ulster Clubs U18    Saturday 18th September        Sportsground, Galway
·    Lost 13 12 V’s Munster Clubs U18    Saturday 25th September    Garryowen, Limerick
·    Won 15 13 V’s Leinster Clubs U18    Saturday 2nd October        Donnybrook, Dublin

·    Aodhan Glynn        Prop
·    Jamie Dever        Prop
·    David Heath        Lock
·    Paul Hackett        Backrow
·    Sean O’Brien        Backrow
·    Aidan Connaughton    Backrow
·    Darragh Leader    Outhalf
·    Robbie Henshaw    Centre

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Energia All-Ireland League Round-Up: Buccaneers stay atop Division 1B, Sligo & Corinthians win