Saturday next, 6th November will see the Connacht Ladies open their Interprovincial campaign against Munster.

Historically Connacht have struggled to put together their provincial side. The player base being smaller than that of the other provinces and reliance on players has always come from city side Galwegians, who up until this year were the only senior team in the province playing AIL rugby.
Over the last few months, a lot of background work was under taken towards putting in place a competitive structure for this years Interpro series but also in identifying players of the future. Throughout the months of July and August, three open days were held from which a 40 strong squad was picked. A feature of this squad is the presence of several development players who have been selected to train alongside the main squad players.
The success of Clare Molloy, Carol Staunton and Alison Millar on the National stage this year has certainly been a boost to the province, with players realising that playing for Connacht is a path to play for your Country. This is certainly seen in the number of players out-side of the province who attended the open training sessions way back in August.
Over the last two months, head coach Lyndon Jones along with Forwards Coach; Jamie Stephens and Strength and Conditioning coach; Emer O’ Dowd have put the girls through their paces towards. Needless to say the commitment from the girls themselves has been formidable with several players making especially long journeys to make training each week.

Player selection was not easy and with competition for places rife, the coaching staff certainly had much to deliberate about. After a tough final session at Ballinasloe RFC, the match day 23 was announced:

Anne O’ Callaghan, Carol Staunton, Clare Rafferty, Edel Durkin, Grainne Egan, Heather Cary, Maire Murray, Natasha Hayword Nuala Ni Chadhain, Ruth O’Reilly, Sarah Healy (All Galwegians), Ailish Toner (Young Munster), Christine Arthurs (Tralee), Cliodhna Hughes (Malahide), Emma Cleary (Galbally), Lyndsey O’ Neil (St. Mary’s), Jean Moore (Portlaoise), Maire Hanly (Longford), Niamh Dempsey (Tralee), Niamh Fitzgerald (St Mary’s), Hortense de Bourdoncle de Saint Salvy (Malahide), Samantha Lulham (Longford) and Yvonne Delaney (Portlaoise)
Not considered due to injury: Soracha Ni Chadhain & Alison Millar
Claire Molloy unavailable.

Head Coach: Lyndon Jones
Forwards Coach: Jamie Stephens
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Emer O’ Dowd
Rugby Development: Wendy Hickey
Physio: Sarah Brady
Manager: Jean Wynne

The Connacht Ladies wish to thank their sponsors: Tom Dempsey Interiors; Kings Valley Hotel and Busker Brownes for their continuing support.
Also, huge thanks goes out to Ballinasloe RFC which has become the ‘unofficial’ home to the Connacht Ladies.

Kick Off at 2pm Nov 6th Musgrave Park
Next Game Sat 13th November; KO 2.30pm Sportsground v Leinster


Gallery: HT minis – Ballinrobe, Ballyhaunis, Corinthians and Dunmore