The Gort/Portumna team with Ireland rugby captain Niamh Briggs.

The sun shone on Carton House at the start of the month as 13 clubs from all four provinces played out a Mini Women’s Rugby World Cup as excitement builds for the tournament later this year.

Four Connacht clubs represented the province with a combined Gort/Portumna team, Claremorris, and Ballina all taking part.

Watched by Ireland Women’s captain Niamh Briggs and with the Women’s Rugby World Cup trophy on display, it was a wonderful day of rugby and fun.

Briggs, who is recovering from the hamstring injury that ruled her out of the recent Women’s Six Nations, was on hand to meet the teams and offer advice on skills.

Speaking at the Mini Women’s Rugby World Cup Festival, she said: “It’s just fantastic to see so many young girls enjoying the game and to have their parents and coaches involved is great too.

“There were some serious skills on display here which is brilliant but most important of all was the fun everyone had, both here and on the bus journey – that’s all part of developing their love of the game.”

Carton House, normally the training base of the Ireland Men’s squad, provided a picturesque backdrop as the young teams got a chance to play their matches on pitches that had lately been graced by Rory Best and his national team-mates.

Each team represented one of the countries that have qualified for the Women’s Rugby World Cup which takes place in Dublin and Belfast in August, playing several matches on the day.

The festival was one of a series of events that mark the build-up to what promises to be the most exciting Women’s Rugby World Cup to date, and was also one of the stops on the Trophy Tour which will visit clubs and schools in every county in Ireland.

The trophy tour moved on to Connacht last week with photos to follow shortly.

Tickets for the Women’s Rugby World Cup are selling fast – book online now on or

Mini Women’s Rugby World Cup Festival Teams


Gort/Portumna – Canada

Claremorris – Wales

Ballina – Japan



Virginia – Ireland

Donaghadee – New Zealand

Armagh/Malone – England



Bruff – Australia

Abbeyfeale – Spain

Fethard – Italy



Metro Barbarians – Hong Kong

Navan – France

Portarlington – USA

The Claremorris team with Ireland rugby captain Niamh Briggs

The Ballina team with Ireland rugby captain Niamh Briggs


Connacht Emerging Talent squad named for game against Leinster North Midlands