With a growth in the number of girls playing rugby in Connacht, we are delighted to announce the Connacht Rugby’s Women’s U18’s and Women’s Senior Coaches.

Ross Mannion has been appointed Head Coach of the Connacht Rugby Senior Women’s Team, sponsored by Genesys, accompanied by Lyndon Jones as Backs Coach.

Ross was Head Coach of the AIL 2C winning Sligo team, he has worked with Connacht Rugby as a Club and Community Rugby Officer for 10 years and in his current position as Rugby Participation Officer for 2 years.

“I’m delighted with the opportunity to take on this position, I`ve worked with some of the current players many years ago when some of them were starting out on their pathway and have got to know some more through various programs they`ve delivered on these past two years.

The main things that have stood out for me, from these interactions, are their commitment to rugby, be that for club, province or country, and the appetite to learn and better themselves as players. Two fantastic characteristics to have in life never mind in a sporting context, so that really intrigued me as to what the potential is with in the current U18, Emerging Talent and Senior squads.

I hope myself along with all the coaches involved can help all these players reach their potential and fulfil their rugby ambitions or goals.”

Fraser Gow returns as Head Coach of the Connacht Rugby U18’s Team, sponsored by GMIT, alongside Luke O’Donnell as Backs Coach. Fraser expressed his excitement of returning to training and getting back to normal, “First and foremost we are really excited about a return to training, having the ability to get back out on a pitch and un-pause the plans we have in place.”

“It’s fantastic to see examples of players that have been developed by our clubs, progressed through the Connacht pathways and are now playing at the highest level. That is something we should all be extremely proud of but equally motivates us to aid the development of the next crop of talented players out there.”

As Connacht Rugby continue their partnership with Galway-based sports technology services company Clubforce, their Emerging Talent Programme helps bridge the gap between underage and senior level women’s rugby in Connacht.

Clubforce Emerging Talent Head Coach, Emer O’Dowd, is joined by Mary Healy, who has been appointed, Backs, Skills and Attack’s Coach.

Mary Healy adds that despite restrictions, Connacht Rugby aim for this year’s programme to be the most comprehensive yet.

“Every year we’ve always tried to improve and push what we can do in the summer programme. Despite restrictions, we aim for this to be the most comprehensive yet.”

“I’m delighted to be involved with the Clubforce Emerging Talent Squad, I’m looking forward to helping bridge that gap between underage & senior, keeping girls in the game, growing and developing their skills and knowledge so they can take that step up to senior level. My goal and Clubforce’s goal ultimately is to grow participation, this partnership gives us the opportunity to bridge that gap, keep girls in the game and grow and develop them as rugby players.”

Speaking on the appointed coaching team this year, Joe Gorham Head of Domestic Rugby at Connacht Rugby said:

“Absolutely delighted with the appointment of Ross Mannion as Head Coach of the Connacht Women’s Team. Ross, a valued member of the Club & Community team, has an impressive coaching CV built up in the past few seasons and I look forward to seeing him (and his coaching team) bringing the Senior squad to another level.

I am also delighted on the re-appointment of Fraser Gow and his Coaching Team to the Connacht Under 18 Girls squad. Under his leadership, we have made tremendous progress at this level and it is refreshing to see so many young talented girls coming through to the Connacht side from the 4 corners of the 5 counties!

It is fabulous to see that the Clubforce Emerging Talent Programme is ready to get up and running again under the safe hands of Emer O’Dowd and Mary Healy. This sector is vital to the Player Pathway programme for the Women’s Game and huge thanks must go to our valued partners Clubforce for supporting the Talent Programme.

Finally special thanks to our Volunteer Managers of the three squads Natalie Fox & Mark (Barney) Moran. Without their help and assistance, and indeed their passion for Connacht Rugby in general, we would not have made the huge strides that we have made in the past few seasons. Volunteers are the backbone of everything we do in Club & Community. Thank you to every club & school volunteer, we really appreciate all you do for us.”

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