Galway city clubs Galway Corinthians RFC and Galwegians have joined forces to stream their upcoming Connacht Senior League game on Friday evening (Kick Off-8pm).
Technically, the responsibility will be taken on by Rugby Smarts and the game will be broadcast on the respective clubs Facebook pages with John Mulligan and James Heaslip on commentary duty.
Apart from it being a local Derby, the game also has an added bite as both teams have already tasted defeat in their opening games of the returning competition. On week one, Corinthians were beaten 32-26 by Ballina while the following week saw Galwegians beaten 42-10 by Sligo making this Friday’s game a must win for both sides.
The new formatting of the league sees the team on top qualifying directly for the Connacht Senior Cup final and also having the honour of representing the province in the Bateman Cup, the competition traditionally held for the four Provincial Cup winners but this year featuring the Connacht Senior League Champions.
While it may be difficult for either Corinthians or Galwegians to get that top spot following their opening day defeats, there is still a lot to play for in the league with positions playing an important part in the following Senior Cup with positions post league determining the Cup quarter and semi-final places.
Both teams will also see this as important in their preparation for the Energia All-Ireland League which gets underway next month.
With all rugby called off last season because of the pandemic, this game will also be the first time that the clubs have met in competitive action at senior level since their meetings at the beginning of the 19/20 season. The teams met in the space of a few weeks. First in the Connacht Senior League and then in the Energia League with Corinthians winning both games.
President of Galway Corinthians RFC Kieran Faherty is looking forward not only to Corinthians first home game of the season but also to the renewal of one of the most historic local rivalries in rugby. “You know, there is some sort of normality on the way, when you have the opportunity of hosting this great Galway rugby rivalry.
“Corinthians RFC looks forward to welcoming our historic rivals and neighbours Galwegians on Friday.
“We hear a lot about great sporting communities and rugby has ours too. Heroes from both clubs who provide a great sporting experience for girls and boys across the city and beyond.
“At a time when the professional ship seems to be sailing further away from the amateur clubs we still are "Pulling like dogs" in our small boats and continuing to produce a rich harvest that regularly represents province and country.”
Mr Faherty pointed to the coaching that exists in Corinthians at underage level that has reaped rewards this season already. “Corinthians alone had thirteen players between boys and girls selected on Connacht teams this weekend. We also had Rhiann Heary who was capped by Connacht at Senior interprovincial level against Leinster on Saturday last. Rhiann is the first Corinthian to be capped at women’s senior level for some time and it was a wonderful honour for the club to have a senior interprovincial player representing the province.”
“I also cannot forget the history that was made with the appointment of Yvonne Comer to the IRFU committee. Yvonne’s appointment is testament to the work that is being done in the women’s game in Corinthians and we all wish her well in her tenure.”
“I would also like to take this opportunity when I have it to congratulate Cathal Forde and Eoin De Buitlear who were recently capped for the Ireland U20s. They are another great example of the work done underage at the club.”
The Corinthians president is expecting a real local derby this Friday. “Friday night’s game will showcase some exciting new young talent from both clubs in what will hopefully be an exciting old fashioned full blooded local Derby battle and all who are there or watching on stream will be given a true Corinthian hospitality.”
It was a sentiment echoed by his opposite number Carl Blake who will be in his first official role as president following the Galwegians AGM on Wednesday evening last.
“After a very long wait, we are delighted to return to rugby and can't wait to renew our acquaintances with our greatest rivals of all in Corinthians.
“As the incoming President of Galwegians, there is no more fitting game to start a term of office than this! And quite frankly 2 years has been far too long a gap to go without a Wegians - Corinthians derby.
“However as we know that's no fault of anyone's, it was the cruel hand we were dealt for the last 18 months. But all the more reason to relish a derby game.
Mr Blake concluded with the hope that once again the Corinthians and Galwegians rivalry will show what is great in the game in Connacht. “There is a very rich history between our two clubs, and I have no doubt that Friday’s game will add to that and help promote the club game in our city and province.”
While the game will certainly be a tough encounter on the field, off the field, both clubs have agreed to share the costs of the streaming and the sponsorship that has been provided means that neither club had to foot the cost of the event on their own.
Streaming details and links will be available and publicised through the club’s social media channels ahead of the game and regardless of the result; one thing that will cheers everyone up will be the return of Senior club rugby to the city.