Connacht Rugby and Atlantic Technological University (ATU) are today proud to report on the success of our ongoing partnership, following the completion of the 2023 Summer Programme for Connacht Rugby’s Age Grade squads.
In total 140 players – male and female - trained in ATU across the U19s, U18s and U17s squads. A 10-week boys programme commenced on June 19th with an 11-week U18 Girls programme starting two days later.
The players were able to avail of the high-class sports facilities at the campus, including the Sports Arena and ATU Sports Field for all gym and on-field training. Lecture theatres and the campus canteens were also used for team meetings, workshops, and rest and recovery periods.
The annual interprovincial series were a roaring success for both U18 squads. The Connacht Male U18 won the interprovincial title following successive wins over Ulster, Munster and Leinster, while the Female U18s also won all three of their games against the other provinces. They will now play an Interprovincial Final next February.
The Connacht U19s enjoyed an impressive, last-minute win over Ulster before coming up against strong sides from Munster and Leinster, but they too have seen huge growth in their development over the summer.
For the Connacht U17s, their summer programme was primarily focused on their skills and physical development, with a view to having that group of players ready for the U18 interpros in 2024.
The initial partnership between Connacht and then GMIT was announced in 2019, and involves the sharing of knowledge and expertise across the areas of sport and exercise science, sports management, strength and conditioning, and nutrition.
Because of this partnership, ATU students have been able to avail of research opportunities that will also benefit departments throughout Connacht Rugby, and enabled learning opportunities for staff and players in Connacht Rugby across the broad prospectus of undergraduate and post-graduate courses at the University.
Dr Lisa Ryan, Head of the ATU School of Science and Computing, says:
“We, at ATU, are delighted with the partnership we have with Connacht Rugby. Our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the areas of Sport and Exercise Science, Coaching and Nutrition benefit greatly from interactions and insights with a professional sporting organisation.”
Joe Gorham, Head of Rugby Development at Connacht Rugby says:
“Our partnership with ATU has been more successful than we ever even thought possible. For the last few years, the brightest rugby talents in Connacht have been able to avail of the fantastic facilities ATU has to offer, and has given them a platform to showcase their skills and continue their development. These supports provided by ATU have been immeasurable, and it’s clear that both ATU and Connacht share the same vision and desire to help bring success to the next generation. We thank them for their enormous support and look forward to continue to working with them into the future.”