Westport RFC was the venue where Connacht U18’s girls took on the might of Munster. Connacht were disappointed at the previous Saturday’s results in Westmanstown. Having lost both games to Leinster and Ulster our girls in green knew they were due a big performance. We had our final mid-week training session on Wednesday in Tuam RFC. The mistakes from Westmanstown were discussed and new tactics played out. It was always going to be a huge ask however-Could we defeat Munster for the first time ever having already been well beaten by them in a friendly game at the start of the season 25-5. It was now or never time. The Connacht girls bolted out of the dressing room, focused, determined and with a furnace raging inside. From the first blow of the whistle our team hit hard, played cleverly and most importantly took the chances. The first try was scored by Mairead Hopkins. Munster hit back almost immediately but the heads didn’t drop. 3 more tries were scored before half time-2 more from the unstoppable Mairead Hopkins and one from the home girl from Westport Niamh O Grady. Half time score was 20-5 to the Connacht starlets.
Time to take a deep breath. We knew Munster would throw everything but the kitchen sink at us in the second half. We had the perfect start with yet another try from Hopkins. We conceded a try soon afterwards which was converted. 25-12 and Munster were and gaining momentum. Our girls dug deep and didn’t panic. We conceded another try however 25-17. The lively home crowd cheered on our girls even more loudly. Grainne Hamill scored our last try leaving the final score at 30-17. The crowd erupted and the shrieks of delight could be heard on top of Croagh Patrick which was keeping an eye on us in the background. The tears shed were for a totally different reason than those shed after the bitter disappointment of losing to Ulster in Westmanstown.
It was an immense squad performance, tactical substitutions were made at opportune moments in the match. The pack were powerful and the backs definitely didn’t go shopping!-the tackles made by our relatively small backline were ferocious-nothing was left behind on the pitch. It has been a perfect ending to our season. Unfortunately we have to say goodbye to Niamh O Grady, Grainne Hamill, Sarah-Jane Fox, Aine Gavin, Ellen Grehan, Rachel Tierney, Mairead Hopkins and our Captain Fantastic Elizabeth McNicholas-all over age next season-we hope to see them lining out with the Connacht Senior Squad in the not too distant future. We have every confidence in our younger girls coming through-the future looks very bright for this bunch of girls. We are hugely proud of the effort put in by all the girls and the coaching staff. Sincere thanks to everyone who came to support us-the sound decibels were off the charts at times. Thanks to all at Westport RFC who helped stage a memorable occasion for us all.

Pre match team shot


U18 and U19 matchday squads named for Interpro openers vs Ulster