Connacht Rugby in conjunction with Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology are delighted to announce a Summer Talent Programme as part of a new agreement between the two organisations.
Under the new partnership, Connacht’s Summer Player Talent programme has begun at the sports facilities on the GMIT Galway campus, Dublin Road, Galway. The Summer Talent Programme is a 10-week programme which acts as a Training Camp for the Connacht Rugby Under 19s Boys and U18 Boys and Girls squads. The Connacht Women’s team will also be availing of the facilities, as all four squads prepare for the 2021 Interprovincial Series which kick off in August.
The GMIT logo will continue to feature on the front of shirt for the U19 and U18 Boys & Girls squads, demonstrating the commitment and ambition of both organisations to support and develop young talent across the West of Ireland both on and off the field.
GMIT students have enjoyed a history of sport at playing and academic level. GMIT launched a range of sports science programmes in 2016, recently adding a new Masters in Sport and Clinical Biomechanics to complement their existing degrees in Sport and Exercise Science, and in Public Health Nutrition, and their Masters in Strength and Conditioning.
Connacht Rugby’s Head of Rugby Development Joe Gorham says:
“We have been thrilled to partner up with GMIT for this year’s Summer Talent Programme. These training camps are instrumental in the development of our next generation of players, and we are very fortunate to have a campus like GMIT on our doorsteps to help them succeed. We look forward to continue working with GMIT into the future.”
GMIT President Dr Orla Flynn says:
“We are delighted to welcome these talented young players to our Galway campus this summer, and to give them first-hand experience of what GMIT has to offer as they prepare for third level education. Sport is central to our activities in GMIT, and we are proud to be partnering with Connacht Rugby for this summer camp in addition to the various education and research activities we are working on together.”
Pictured at the launch of the 2021 Connacht Rugby / GMIT Summer Talent Programme is President of Connacht Rugby Ann Heneghan, and GMIT President Dr Orla Flynn, with members of the 2021 Summer Talent Programme.

The fixtures have been announced for the 2021 Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship.


The format returns to a round-robin format over three weekends for this year. First up, on August 28th, reigning champions Leinster travel to the Sportsground to face Connacht in a repeat of the 2019 Championship decider. Kingspan Stadium will host Ulster’s home game against Munster on the same day.


Munster’s home tie is against Connacht at Musgrave Park while Leinster return to Energia Park to face Ulster in Round 2 on September 4th.


The Championship trophy will be lifted for the first time since 2019 on Saturday September 11th’s final round with Connacht hosting Ulster and Leinster welcoming Munster to Donnybrook.


IRFU Women’s Development Manager Amanda Greensmith commented:


“Preparations are in full swing across the provinces and we’re really looking forward to seeing the return of what is a blue riband event for Irish Rugby.


“There’s a full cohort of players who missed on the chance to represent their province last year. It’s a priority for us to get players back onto the performance pathway and on the back of the #NothingLikeIt launch and some additional plans in the works, we’re on our way to ensuring an all-time high for visibility of this event.”


Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland commented:


‘Vodafone has been the proud sponsor of Irish Rugby since 2016 and our #TeamOfUs campaign is aimed at growing the game of rugby and promoting inclusion for all.  With that in mind we are delighted this year to support the Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship.  Everyone In!’


Saturday August 28th 2021

Connacht v Leinster, The Sportsground, 14:30

Ulster v Munster, Kingspan Stadium, 17:00


Saturday September 4th 2021

Munster v Connacht, Musgrave Park, 14:30

Leinster v Ulster, Energia Park, 16:00


Saturday September 11th 2021

Connacht v Ulster, The Sportsground, 14:30

Leinster v Munster, Energia Park, 19:00

There are new coaching setups for all four provinces in 2021.

Neill Alcorn has been appointed Head Coach in Ulster, with former Ulster scrum-half, Paul Marshall taking up the Backs Coach role. Paul Heasley will be the Athletic Development Lead for the squad, while Emily Millar has been appointed Team Manager.

Click here for Ulster Women’s squad training gallery.

Munster Rugby Senior Women’s Head Coach for the campaign is Old Crescent and Crescent College Comprehensive coach Matt Brown. Former Ireland captain and current UL Bohs Women’s Head Coach Niamh Briggs is the Backs Coach with ex-Munster prop Mike Storey assuming the position of Forwards Coach. Munster Rugby Women’s Development Officer Willie Shubart is the side’s Technical Coach with UL Bohs forward Sara Hartigan taking the position of Team Manager having previously held that role with the U18s.

Click here for Extended Munster Senior Women’s Squad

In Leinster, Phil de Barra replaces outgoing head coach Ben Armstrong, and is joined for 2021 by forwards coach Tom McKeown, backs coach Stephen Maher and skills coach Ben Watson. Lorna Quinn and Marie Louise Reilly will look after team management.

Click here for 2021 Extended Leinster Women’s Rugby Squad

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

Click here for Connacht Women’s Rugby Coaching & Management announcement.

Connacht Senior Women

Head Coach: Ross Mannion

Backs Coach: Lyndon Jones

Team Manager: Mark Moran


Leinster Senior Women


Head Coach: Phil De Barra

Assistant Coach: Tom McKeown

Team Manager: Lorna Quinn   Manager

Assistant Team Manager: Marie Louise Reilly


Munster Senior Women


Head Coach: Matt Brown

Forwards Coach: Mike Storey

Backs Coach: Niamh Briggs

Technical Coach: Willie Shubart

Team Manager: Sara Hartigan


Ulster Senior Women:

Head Coach: Neill Alcorn

Backs Coach: Paul Marshall

Team Manager: Emily Millar

Athletic Development Lead: Paul Heasley





We are delighted to see IRFU #GiveItATry Programme back this summer. There are 12 clubs running in Connacht and this is an ideal opportunity for girls, aged 8-14, that have no experience to give rugby a try in a fun and safe environment. The Give It A Try programme has been instrumental in the success of clubs starting girls mini and youth clubs all over the country.


The 8-week programme consists of a coach education element, fun rugby sessions, and teaching the girls the basics of rugby.


Check the link below to find out what clubs in Connacht are taking part. Some of the clubs will be kicking off on the 26th of July, so make sure to register.


Here at Connacht Rugby have recently commenced our 10-week Summer Player Talent programme on the campus of our partners GMIT for Under 18 Boys & Girls; Under 19 Boys & Senior Women’s levels.

Check out some snaps below of the recent training session for the U19 Boys team.


Caolin Blade and Paul Boyle could make their senior international debuts on Saturday after they were named in the matchday 23 for Saturday’s Summer Series clash with USA at the Aviva Stadium (k/o 7.15pm).
The pair are among four Connacht players on the replacements bench for the game, alongside Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham.
James Ryan wears the captain’s armband and will is partnered in the second row by Ryan Baird. In the backrow Caelan Doris switches to the blindside flank to accommodate Gavin Coombes at No.8 with the uncapped Nick Timoney at openside.
In the front row Tom O’Toole is set to make his international debut alongside Ronan Kelleher
and Dave Kilcoyne.
At half-back Craig Casey will make his first start for Ireland and will partner his provincial colleague Joey Carbery. Stuart McCloskey retains the inside centre berth and is joined by fellow Ulsterman debutant James Hume. Hugo Keenan starts his 13th consecutive game at fullback with Andrew Conway and the uncapped Robert Baloucoune on the wings.
Vodafone Summer Series 2021
Ireland team to play USA – 10th July 2021, Aviva Stadium

15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 12 caps
14. Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) uncapped
13. James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) uncapped
12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 5 caps
11. Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 24 caps
10. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 23 caps
9. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 2 caps

1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 44 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 12 caps
3. Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) uncapped
4. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 4 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 36 caps captain
6. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 8 caps
7. Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) uncapped
8. Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 1 cap

16. Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers) 5 caps
17. Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 5 caps
18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 15 caps
19. Fineen Wycherley (Munster/Young Munster) uncapped
20. Paul Boyle (Connacht/Buccaneers) uncapped
21. Caolin Blade (Connacht/Galwegians) uncapped
22. Harry Byrne (Leinster/Lansdowne) uncapped
23. Will Addison (Ulster/Enniskillen) 4 caps

Connacht Rugby are pleased to announce the appointment of Philip Patterson to the role of Head of Commercial & Marketing at Connacht Rugby.
Patterson, who is originally from the UK and has family roots in Co. Mayo, joins Connacht following over 20 years’ experience in the Marketing industry where he has created and implemented successful marketing strategies for many high-profile global brands.
He joins Connacht Rugby having spent time in the world of Marketing Consulting; and has also held the role of Vice President Marketing at Octagon, where he led the teams delivering marketing strategies and campaigns for brands in partnership with organisations such as UEFA, Roland Garros, The Open and Disney. These promotions reached over 50 countries and achieved significant growth for his clients.
Previous to this, he held positions as Senior Vice President Marketing at GMR Marketing, Vice President Marketing at IMG; as well as positions at Synergy Sponsorship and Britvic Soft Drinks. During this time, he developed and delivered marketing campaigns for brands at worldwide sporting events including the FIFA World Cup, multiple Olympic Games, Super Bowl, the UEFA European Championships and The Championships, Wimbledon.
Philip Patterson has joined Connacht Rugby effective immediately (Monday 5th July).
Commenting on the appointment, CEO of Connacht Rugby Willie Ruane said:
“Following an extensive recruitment process, we are delighted to announce Philip’s appointment to the key role of Head of Commercial & Marketing. Philip has a proven track record in delivering internationally renowned marketing campaigns, and he understands the importance of brand and identity to an organisation like Connacht Rugby. He will bring a lot to the role and will help lead our Commercial & Marketing team into an exciting future for everyone at the club.”
Philip Patterson says he’s delighted to be joining the organisation:
“I am thrilled to be joining the team at Connacht Rugby. This is a very exciting opportunity for me not just to lead a vibrant Commercial & Marketing team in the sports industry, but one that also allows me to reconnect with my roots in the West of Ireland. There is a huge amount to look forward to in the years ahead for Connacht Rugby, beginning with the brand-new United Rugby Championship in September. There is a culture of excellence right across the organisation and I can’t wait to play my part in that.”

The Connacht Rugby Total Health Summer Camps have returned. Sligo RFC is the first club in Connacht to get back into action and you can certainly see everyone was excited to get back playing and having fun. Check out some of the great photos taken from yesterdays summer camp in Sligo RFC.




Competitive club rugby is just six weeks away!
Connacht Rugby today confirmed the fixtures for the upcoming Connacht Senior League and Cawley Cup with both competitions set to get underway on the weekend of the 14th/15th of August. Fixtures for the Curley Cup, the J2 Cups and the U21 Women’s Rugby Initiative will follow in the next couple of weeks. This comes after the full season plan for men’s Senior & Junior rugby was released last week.
There are some exciting changes in the Connacht Senior League and the corresponding Connacht Senior Cup. The five Senor clubs will compete in both competitions. The Senior League will be played as a precursor to the AIL which is in line to start on October 2nd. Teams will play each other once only in the Senior League with each team playing two home games and two away games. The team who top the table at the end of the 5 rounds of matches will be crowned the Senior League champions. However, in a change from the norm the Senior League winners will now also qualify for the IRFU Bateman Cup semi-finals, but that’s not all. The Senior League winners will also qualify directly for the Connacht Senior Cup Final, a move that is sure to add extra excitement to the league.
The remaining four teams will compete in de facto quarter-finals and semi-finals post-Christmas for the remaining place in the Senior Cup Final. The pairings for the Senior Cup quarter-finals will be determined by finishing positions in the Senior League. i.e. 2nd vs 5th & 3rd vs 4th. The teams who finish 2nd and 3rd in the Senior League will have home advantage in these cup quarter-finals. The overall rationale for structuring the Senior League & Senior Cup in this way is to spread games equally across the season. This ensures senior teams don’t play more than 4 weekends in a row without a break.
Fixtures for the Cawley Cup have also been confirmed. The Cawley Cup will again follow a pool based format which was introduced ahead of the curtailed 2020/21 season. The eight J1A teams will be joined by Dunmore RFC and NUIG RFC from J1B. The 10 teams will be split into two pools. Teams will play each other once only in their pool. The top two teams in each pool will qualify for the Cawley Cup semi-finals. The 3rd & 4th placed teams in each pool will qualify for the Cawley Plate semi-finals.
The Curley Cup and J2 Cups will also follow the pool based system again in the 2021/22 season. The fixtures for both competitions will be released by mid-July once all entries are confirmed. The Cawley Cup will get underway on the weekend of the 14th/15th of August while the Curley Cup and J2 Cups will kick off a week later. The Junior Leagues are then set to return from early October with fixture details to be announced in due course.
Connacht Senior League Fixtures
Round 1 14.08.2021
Sligo RFC v Buccaneers RFC
Ballina RFC v Galway Corinthians RFC
Round 2 21.08.2021
Buccaneers RFC v Ballina RFC
Galwegians RFC v Sligo RFC
Reserve Weekend 28.08.2021
Round 3 04.09.2021
Galway Corinthians RFC v Galwegians RFC
Sligo RFC v Ballina RFC
Round 4 11.09.2021
Ballina RFC v Galwegians RFC
Buccaneers RFC v Galway Corinthians RFC
Round 5 18.09.2021
Galway Corinthians RFC v Sligo RFC
Galwegians RFC v Buccaneers RFC
Cawley Cup Fixtures
Pool 1
Round 1 15.08.2021
Creggs RFC v Castlebar RFC
Buccaneers RFC 2nd XV v Monivea RFC
Reserve Weekend 22.08.2021
Round 2 29.08.2021
Monivea RFC v Creggs RFC
Castlebar RFC v NUIG RFC
Round 3 05.09.2021
NUIG RFC v Buccaneers RFC 2nd XV
Monivea RFC v Castlebar RFC
Reserve Weekend 12.09.2021
Round 4 19.09.2021
NUIG RFC v Monivea RFC
Buccaneers RFC 2nd XV v Creggs RFC
Round 5 26.09.2021
Castlebar RFC v Buccaneers RFC 2nd XV
Pool 2
Round 1 Score Score 15.08.2021
Tuam RFC v Connemara RFC
Sligo RFC 2nd XV v Westport RFC
Reserve Weekend 22.08.2021
Round 2 Score Score 29.08.2021
Westport RFC v Tuam RFC
Connemara RFC v Dunmore RFC
Round 3 Score Score 05.09.2021
Dunmore RFC v Sligo RFC 2nd XV
Westport RFC v Connemara RFC
Reserve Weekend 12.09.2021
Round 4 Score Score 19.09.2021
Dunmore RFC v Westport RFC
Sligo RFC 2nd XV v Tuam RFC
Round 5 Score Score 26.09.2021
Connemara RFC v Sligo RFC 2nd XV
Tuam RFC v Dunmore RFC
Semi-finals W/E of 6th/7th Nov. 2021
Final W/E of 11th/12th Dec. 2021

Head Coach Richie Murphy has named his Ireland U20s Match Day squad, sponsored by PwC, for Thursday’s U20 Six Nations Round 3 encounter against England at Cardiff Arms Park (Kick-off 8pm, RTÉ Player/RTÉ News Now and Six Nations YouTube for UK viewers).
Ireland opened their Championship campaign with bonus-point wins over Scotland and Wales, and Murphy has made two changes in personnel to his starting XV for Thursday’s showdown with England in Cardiff.
Temi Lasisi and Sam Illo return to the front row as the Ireland management continue to carefully manage resources and the squad’s workload, with Alex Kendellen once again captaining the side from the back row.
Murphy has selected an unchanged backline as Jamie Osborne, Ben Moxham and Chris Cosgrave line up in the back three, with Connacht duo Cathal Forde and Shane Jennings continuing their midfield partnership.
Nathan Doak, who scored 20 points and was named Player of the Match for his performance against Wales last time out, is retained at scrum-half, with Tim Corkery named to start at out-half.
Lasisi and Illo pack down either side of hooker Ronan Loughnane, while the second row pairing of Alex Soroka and Harry Sheridan remains unchanged. Kendellen is joined in the back row by Donnacha Byrne and Oisin McCormack.
Murphy has plenty of options on his replacements bench, including Chay Mullins, who has come through the IQ Rugby programme and is named in the Match Day squad for the first time.
Commenting ahead of the game, Murphy said: “We have been pleased with our start to the Championship, but we know we must continue to make improvements week-on-week, starting on Thursday evening against a very strong England side. The squad have worked incredibly hard on optimising our recovery in between matches and we go into Thursday’s game confident that we are moving in the right direction.”
Ireland U20s (v England):
15. Jamie Osborne (Naas CBS/Naas RFC/Leinster)
14. Ben Moxham (Larne High School/Ballymena RFC/Ulster)
13. Shane Jennings (Garbally College/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
12. Cathal Forde (Colaiste Iognaid/Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
11. Chris Cosgrave (St. Michael’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
10. Tim Corkery (St. Kieran’s College, Kilkenny/UCD RFC/Leinster)
9. Nathan Doak (Wallace High School/Banbridge RFC/Ulster)

1. Temi Lasisi (CBS Enniscorthy/Lansdowne FC/Leinster)
2. Ronan Loughnane (Cistercian College Roscrea/UCD RFC/Leinster)
3. Sam Illo (Wesley College/Old Wesley RFC/Leinster)
4. Alex Soroka (Belvedere College/Clontarf RFC/Leinster)
5. Harry Sheridan (Sullivan Upper School/Dublin University FC/Ulster)
6. Donnacha Byrne (Summerhill College/Sligo RFC/Connacht)
7. Oisin McCormack (Garbally College/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht)
8. Alex Kendellen (PBC Cork/UCC RFC/Munster)(Captain)


16. Eoin de Buitléar (Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiaráin/An Ghaeltacht/Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht)
17. Jack Boyle (St. Michael’s College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
18. Mark Donnelly (CBC Cork/Garryowen FC/Munster)
19. Mark Morrissey (Blackrock College/UCD RFC/Leinster)
20. Reuben Crothers (Wallace High School/Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster)
21. Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper School/Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster)
22. Ben Carson (Wallace High School/Banbridge RFC/Ulster)
23. Jude Postlethwaite (RBAI/Banbridge RFC/Ulster)
24. Jack Kelleher (PBC Cork/UCC RFC/Munster)
25. Daniel Okeke (Ardscoil Ris/Shannon RFC/Munster)
26. Chay Mullins (SGC Filton/Bristol Bears/IQ Rugby).

Tom Daly and Beibhinn Parsons took home the flagship awards at the 2020/21 Connacht Rugby Awards which were held virtually last week.
In lieu of a physical award ceremony, accolades were announced across the week on the Connacht Rugby social media channels, starting and finishing with the Fans’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year which were both won by Tom Daly.
Daly, who is hoping to make his Ireland debut in the coming weeks, was nominated alongside Gavin Thornbury and Niall Murray for the Fans’ Player of the Year by the Connacht Clan. As well as winning that award, he was also chosen by his squad mates as their standout player in the 2020/21 season.
Meanwhile Beibhinn Parsons won the Women’s Player of the Year award for the first time. She was nominated alongside his Connacht teammates Nichola Fryday and Laura Feely, after all three played a part in the Women’s Six Nations campaign.
The final major award of the week was Academy Player of the Year which was won by Cian Prendergast. The backrow enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Pro squad, featuring 10 times and earning his first senior contract in the process.
The winners will receive their Galway Crystal commissioned award once pre-season training gets underway in the coming weeks.

Fans’ Player of the Year sponsored by Genesys – Tom Daly

Players’ Player of the Year sponsored by Heineken Ireland – Tom Daly

Women’s Player of the Year sponsored by Intersport Elverys – Beibhinn Parsons

Academy Player of the Year sponsored by Corrib Oil – Cian Prendergast

Try of the Year sponsored by Red Bull – Sean O’Brien (vs Scarlets)

#NeverStopCompeting Moment of the Year sponsored by Bank of Ireland – Peter Sullivan (vs Ulster)

Photo of the Year sponsored by Tribe Hospitality – Bundee Aki & Alex Wootton (vs Ospreys)


Blade and Boyle in line for Ireland debuts

Connacht Rugby announce Summer Talent Programme partnership with GMIT

Connacht Rugby announce Summer Talent Programme partnership with GMIT

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IRFU’s #GiveItATry is Back This Summer

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