The Connacht squad are busy continuing preparations for the Guinness PRO14 interpro against Ulster on Sunday week – their first game in nearly six months.
Andy Friend’s side last took to the field at Port Elizabeth in a bonus point win over the Southern Kings before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of the rugby season.
Now, the squad are working towards their #ReturnToRugby, and you can check out the latest pics below.

Every day we’re shining a light on one of our newest arrivals over the summer, and help you get to know each of them before we return to the field later in the month.

Today it’s the turn of another Munster arrival, back rower Conor Oliver.

Welcome Conor how have your first few weeks been as a Connacht Rugby player?

It has been good, a new atmosphere and meeting new faces is always refreshing. Trying to remember the names wasn’t as hard because we started in small groups and I got to know the boys individually which is brilliant coming into a new environment. Usually, when you join a new team you are straight into a big squad and try to remember everyone’s name and it can be awkward when you don’t know someone’s name. I am doing well with names, I haven’t got any wrong so far. The training has been excellent, we have been pretty lucky with the weather which I was told can change very fast in The Sportsground. I am enjoying getting to know all the boys and coming into a new team means I am learning new things and get to challenge myself.

How have you found working with the coaches and S&C teams?

It’s brilliant, I am enjoying working with new coaches and seeing the different personalities and the way they work. I already feel like I can chat with the coaches normally and I am getting on well with them. I was in contact with the S&C team well before we started back, I received programmes from them to prepare me for the way they do things before getting back, this gave me confidence coming into the team as I knew I was doing the same things as the other guys. Nothing was thrown at me, it was more of a gradual step by step introduction and it was the same with coaches from the rugby side of things. As the weeks have gone by I have started to learn the style of rugby Connacht play. The restrictions have probably helped the new players more because it gave us a chance to learn everything step by step.

Was it tough waiting for pre-season to start knowing you’re joining a new club but at the same time going through lock-down and everything?

I didn’t mind it too much, I was laid back when it came to that stuff. I was more excited about it than anything else, I wasn’t nervous. It was more stressful setting my life up again and moving to a new house in a new city. Luckily, Connacht were able to help me find a house. I had been in Munster for so long since my Academy days and have never experienced another club at a professional level. I was excited about getting into the swing of things and seeing what the Connacht set up is like.

There’s a lot of competition for places in your position so I presume you’re all eager to impress ahead of the Interpros?

It’s a healthy competition which you need in any squad, you can’t get complacent. Once complacency sets in performances can start to dip. There is plenty of back rows in the squad and I would welcome any competition, I enjoy it as I am a very competitive person. It makes it even better when you do get selected and you know the hard work you put in at training starts to pay off. There are some excellent back rows and I cannot wait to see what happens during the season and there is no doubt we will be all pushing each other on to become better players

What would like to achieve with Connacht?

I am an extremely ambitious person which is one of the reasons I signed with Connacht, you can see the potential, it’s a young team. Every player wants to lift a trophy at the end of the season, that will always be my ambition when I am playing. I want to work towards that step by step and build nicely into the new season. It is great having these Interpros to gauge where we are at as a team and to see what needs to be fixed. I have a massive ambition to win silverware which is a goal for all players. I want to make an impact and difference in Connacht and bring things that I feel would be valuable to the team. When I play for a team I give it my all and I will give it 100 percent.

Have you experienced much of Connacht and Galway since you got here?

I love Galway, I have always enjoyed coming here on weekend trips. I have always thought it was a great city and the atmosphere around here is amazing. I feel lucky to be able to move here and experience it, especially living out in Barna and having the sea right beside me. I am originally from Skerries in Dublin and grew up beside the sea. That was one thing I missed when I was in Limerick was that connection to the sea. It is brilliant to be able to come back from training and go for a swim in the evening even though it is freezing.

What is an interesting fact about you that the Connacht supporters would not know?

I have a British bulldog, it’s just been me and him the past two years. He is probably one of the things I love the most, he gets fed more than me most of the time. I might try have him as a mascot at one of the Connacht games, but we may struggle to find a jersey that fits him. I am an avid gamer too, when I am not playing rugby I will be glued to my PlayStation.

Every day we’re shining a light on one of our newest arrivals over the summer, and help you get to know each of them before we return to the field later in the month.
Today it’s the turn of the newest member of the prop club, Jack Aungier.

Jack welcome, how have your first few weeks been as a Connacht Rugby player?

I have settled in very well, the players and staff have made me feel very welcome here which has made the transition a lot easier. I would know a few of the lads from the Irish U20’s team which helped. Training has been tough but it is brilliant to get back into rugby and train as a team. A lot of it has been conditioning and gym sessions before this week, it is brilliant to be able to get back into the rugby part of things. I am looking forward to the games in August.

Normally you meet all coaches and players when you first start but for you, training started in smaller groups, was that strange?

We were in groups of seven at the start, I only ended up meeting everyone last week. It was our first time all together in one big group. It was strange having to clean the whole place down after being in the gym and maintaining a distance from the players and coaches, it took a bit of getting used to.

Do you feel being in the smaller groups allowed you to get to know people better?

The guys I am living with were in my initial group, I would have known them previously from the age-grade teams. I got to know Eoghan Masterson and Caolin Blade quite well. Eventually, I got to meet everyone as the weeks went on, everyone is easy to get on with.

How have you found working with the coaches and S&C teams?

The S&C team put us through our paces for the first few weeks. The programme is slightly different from what I was used to in Leinster, it did take a bit of getting used to. I feel fit after the first month, coming into the rugby side of things, I am still coming around to all the plays and calls with Nigel, Pete, Jimmy, and Andy. I have gotten to know them well over the last few weeks and I am learning new things every week.

Was it tough waiting for pre-season to start knowing you’re joining a new club but at the same time going through the lock-down and everything?

My last game with Leinster was 5 months ago and when I left the building I didn’t know it was going to my last time. That is the way professional rugby goes and you must move on. I was looking forward to getting started with Connacht. The last month has been brilliant for me.

There’s a lot of competition for places in your position so I presume you’re all eager to impress ahead of the Interpros?

I think props tend to mingle with each other straight away, they are all great lads and there is great competition there. I know Andy mentioned that there isn’t much of a pecking order, that tight head position is up for grabs. I am certainly looking forward to competing with those lads over the next two years.

What would like to achieve with Connacht?

My aim is to get on the team every week, it’s a competitive position. My goal is to play as much as I can whether that is starting or from the bench. I want to build up my experience and my overall goal is to win a league with Connacht, that’s why we play the game. From talking to the coaches there is a competitive squad here that can win the PRO14 and compete in Europe.

Final question, have you experienced much of Connacht and Galway since you got here?

I have been out and around a good bit, I want to make sure I get out and explore on my days off. I want to experience that culture, it is different to the East of Ireland. It has been brilliant so far.

Every day we’re shining a light on one of our newest arrivals over the summer, and help you get to know each of them before we return to the field later in the month.
Yesterday we kicked it off with Sammy Arnold, and now you can hear from another Munster arrival, Alex Wootton.

How have the first few weeks in Connacht Rugby been for you?

Everybody has welcomed me with open arms, from coming through the gates meeting Kenny and Dave the groundsmen through the squad up to Andy and the coaches. Everyone is easy to get on with even through these tricky times, they have all made it work and made the whole experience seamless. I think on my first day I was added to 100 Whatsapp groups which was great because it is where I got a lot of the information.

Are you slowly getting to know everyone despite the restrictions?

The first weeks we were in smaller groups so we were drip-fed into it, it would have been harder to have been pushed into the deep end and try to get to know everyone at the same time. It was easier for me to learn names in the smaller groups, it gets harder as the group gets bigger. It was a blessing as I wouldn’t be naturally gifted at remembering names. The academy players returned this week so I have been trying to learn off their names too. It is convenient having the Connacht website to flick through the names, I will get there in the end.

Was it tough waiting for pre-season to start knowing you’re joining a new club but at the same time going through lock-down and everything?

Talks started for me back in January and then COVID came. Everything was so uncertain, I tried to put it at the back of my mind, it was tricky trying to do that when you are boxed in a house. My partner returned to work around 2 months ago which was hard because I had a lot of time by myself where I thought “What am I going to be doing? Am I going to be staying at Munster or joining Connacht?” Luckily, it all worked out in the end.

How have you found working with the coaches and S&C teams?

I have to say that they are very diligent in what they do and the emphasis they put on people’s roles and skills while also letting the players to suss things out themselves which I find is always the best way to do things. It is very player lead and very much an open forum when it comes to opinions and things like that. I think the coaches have a great balance there. Even though there are no physical meetings, we still have them over Zoom. Even with the Zoom calls, everything is still clear, cut, and precise and I think the messages are easily understood. There is going to be a quick turn around with the two games in the Aviva in August, hopefully, by then we will be hitting the ground running.

There’s a lot of competition for places in your position so I presume you’re all eager to impress ahead of the Interpros?

It’s been so long since we all played rugby and we are all dying to get out there and play. There is a lot of competition especially in the back three and throughout the backline. The games are one thing, you obviously want to play well in a game that’s why we train but if we all put our best feet forward on a day to day basis we can all grow together. I can bring what I know to the table along with the younger and older lads, we can grow together and become better to make Connacht a better place and a better team. Whoever is in form or playing well at that time will get the nod but it is very much a team focus and not necessarily the individual.

Have you got to experience much of Connacht and the West of Ireland since you moved here?

I am living part-time in Galway with Conor Oliver and Sammie Arnold, the rest of the week is spent in my house in Limerick. I have not seen much of Galway before, my fiancée came up to visit me last weekend and we squashed into the box room in the house in Barna with the two dogs. We got to explore a few places and went out to see part of Connemara. I want to see a lot more of it as I am always hearing great things about the different places to see. It is great to be able to explore places that are right on our doorstep.

What do you think you would like to achieve with Connacht Rugby?

I have signed a one-year deal so come June/July next year, hopefully, I can contribute to putting the club in a position where we are in knockout rugby. I would also look to help players in Connacht whether it’s on-field or off-field and bring what I can to the table and vice versa. If I am speaking to you this time next year, I would like to look back and to say I helped a lot of people and the club is in a better place. That would be one of my goals and something I would feel happy about. I want to play rugby, enjoy it and see what the future holds. But at the end of the day, it is a team sport, you put the team first, work towards that goal and normally good things happen.

Lastly, what is an interesting fact about you that the Connacht supporters would not know?

This is where I tell people that I am quite a boring person! Up until the age of 13, I had to decide between football and rugby. Now I wouldn’t say I was as promising as Jack Caty getting trials but I guess I will never know where it could have gone.

The brand new Connacht Rugby Summer SkillZone with totalhealth Pharmacy has seen bookings in huge numbers since its initial launch last week.
The series, which sees two-hour, one-day camps take place in 10 clubs across Connacht, begins this Friday. Two of those camps, at Galwegians RFC and Creggs RFC, are now completely SOLD OUT with just a handful of spots left in places like Connemara RFC, Ballinasloe RFC and Tuam RFC.
In these two hours, children will get to relive the enjoyment of rugby in their community with fellow players their own age, all under the guidance of fully accredited IRFU and Connacht Rugby coaches.
Most importantly, these SkillZones will be held in a safe and healthy environment, where the wellbeing of all attendees will be of absolute paramount importance.
Connacht Rugby would encourage parents, particularly in Loughrea, Sligo and the Mayo vicinity of Westport, Castlebar and Claremorris, to avail of the opportunity of sending their kids to a Summer SkillZone in advance of the planned reopening of the schools next month.
Joe Gorham, Head of Rugby Development at Connacht Rugby, says they have been blown away by the response to the Summer SkillZone series:
This has been a summer unlike any other. While there have been some extremely challenging times for everyone associated with rugby in Ireland, I am delighted to see such a positive response to our return to the Connacht communities with the Summer SkillZone series.
We are thrilled to see so many events already sell out, but I would also encourage everyone to consider a spot for their sons and daughters in one of our other camps where there is limited availability.
The Summer SkillZone is our first step towards a ‘new normal’ and we can’t wait to get it all started. We’d also like to say a particular thank you to our partners totalhealth Pharmacy for their continued support, particularly in these difficult times.”

For full details on our Summer SkillZone series, and to book a place, click on the link below.

With 13 new faces to the Connacht Rugby pro squad for 2020-21 season, there are plenty players for the supporters to look forward to seeing in action in the months ahead.
Starting today for the next 13 days, we’ll introduce you to our newest arrivals and allow you to learn a bit about each of them.
First up? Irish international centre Sammy Arnold who joins from Munster Rugby!

How have your first few weeks been as a Connacht Rugby player?

It has been really enjoyable, I moved into my house in Barna with Conor and Alex a couple of weeks ago. It’s good to be back training again, throwing the rugby ball around and going back to normal life.

It must have been a strange first week going in and being in such a small group and not even being able to shake hands?

It was strange only meeting a handful of the lads but I ended up getting to know them very well which was one benefit. It integrated me into the group a bit slower which was nice and got to know those lads a lot more personally. We are back into a big group now and I am getting my head around the brand of rugby that Connacht wants to play.

The training has increased as the weeks have gone on, are you now at a stage where you have met all the players and all the coaches?

Training has ramped up this week so I have met all the coaches and players at this stage. We are back doing full 15 stuff on the pitch. For me, that is the most exciting thing because you can get a feel for the team. You can now throw the ball around and have a bit of fun whereas in the smaller groups there would be more gym or skills sessions.

Was it tough waiting for pre-season to start knowing you’re joining a new club but at the same time going through lock-down and everything?

The season finished very abruptly which happened to everyone who was moving club. I switched over to Connacht during the lock-down knowing that I would be playing with them in August if the games were restarting and luckily they will. It was a quick change and I said my goodbyes over Zoom and was ready to move forward.

How have you found working with the coaches and S&C teams?

In the initial stages, I had been working closely with Dave Howarth. Since getting back I have met Johnny and Barry, the S&C team are incredible. In terms of getting back on the pitch, Nigel coached me with the Irish U20’s so I would know him well. I have known Jimmy since I was young as well, so it is great being able to work with them both. There is a lot of clarity coming from the coaches on what they want from us. Pete Wilkins is driving the defence hard and it’s something I am excited to be part of it going forward.

There’s a lot of competition for places in your position so I presume you’re all eager to impress ahead of the Interpros?

There is competition no matter where you go, if you are playing the best consistently then you are going to start. It is up to myself when I get the opportunity to consistently perform and whoever is playing the best will get the starting jersey regardless. That is something that really excited me from speaking with Friendy.

If you were selected for the match against Munster how do you think you would find it?

It would be strange, especially if there are no fans in the stadium. I always like to play hard and play with my heart on my sleeve. It would be an exciting game and I would be looking forward to playing against some of the lads for sure.

What would you like to achieve with Connacht?

I am at the age now where I am not a kid anymore, I am 24 now, it’s time to kick on a bit and become a provincial starter. There is a lot of competition in the midfield, but I will aim to perform as best I can.

Have you got to experience much of Connacht and the West of Ireland since you moved?

I have been to some of the beaches like Silverstrand, the drive in from Barna to the Sportsground is amazing. It is great to witness those views on the drive into work in the morning. Maybe in the winter, it will be different, but I am looking forward to more exploring once we get a bit of time off.

Living with the two lads from Munster must be a great help to get you settled into a new club?

It makes it easier; I have played with Conor since I was 16 and he was 17, we have played together for the guts of 8 years, which has been good. I have played with Alex for four years and played with Stephen Fitzgerald since U20’s. They are all guys I know well; it makes the transition easier when you can speak to someone consistently. It is been great having people who are in the club already to rely on them for information.

Finally, it is likely going to be a while before you get to play in a packed house in the Sportsground but I am sure you will be looking forward to that time when it happens and getting to mingle with the fans?

I am massively looking forward to it. From playing at The Sportsground a few times you can tell it is a very personal stadium, the fans are very connected with the players and it is a very close community. It is something I am looking forward to experiencing it and getting to know the supporters and hopefully performing for them on the pitch which is the most important thing.

The role of a kit manager is to ensure everything runs like clockwork on a training day or matchday while remaining upbeat and good humoured. When we think of Connacht’s legendary kitman Martin Joyce (Joycey) he is the epitome of everything the role should be.

Joycey is someone who keeps everyone in high spirits with his presence around the Sportsground.  His ten years with Connacht Rugby have given him enough stories to write a book. We sat down with him last week to discuss his return to the Sportsground along with some of his favourite memories with Connacht down through the years.

Joycey, how are you? You are usually travelling around the world in the Connacht Rugby van, how has life at home been over the last three months?

There was a lot of DIY done around the house, I think I painted for those three months. The kids got excited about painting the house for maybe an hour until they realised that a second coat needs to go on and that it can take three days, after that, I was left to do it by myself. The fact that we couldn’t go on holiday meant that the money we would usually spend was spent on household items. My wife loved buying the paint but didn’t actually paint herself!

My son works in Limerick, I drive him in from Clare twice a week in our car. The Connacht van had not moved in eight weeks, I thought I better give it a run-in case it seizes up. I was struggling to get into third gear because the gears are so different compared to the car. I was blaming the van but it was just me not being able to drive it after not sitting in it for so long. I would say there were cobwebs on it at one point. Since getting back to The Sportsground I am back to normal and it has become second nature again. There was a couple of times I thought this van doesn’t feel right at all.

Let’s go back to the start of your career, how did you get into this role?

I was made redundant from a job in 2003, Munster had advertised for a kitman in the local paper and I thought I am going to go for it but not say it to anyone, I stuck my name in the hat to see what would happen. As you know, things don’t work like that, you have to talk to someone. I confided in one of the guys at our local club and told him I had applied, he said that there was no chance I was going to get it unless I contacted someone in there. I got in contact with Keith Wood and he brought me up to spend a bit of time with the U20’s at Irish Camp in the Radisson, I spent a couple of days with them. I then did the interview with Munster a couple of weeks after that and was offered the job part-time, where I spent six years with them.

During that time I did an Irish U’20’s camp and went off to Japan where I met Nigel Carolan. When I returned, I heard that Connacht Rugby were looking for a full time kit manager, Nigel rang me and asked me if I was interested and that was it. I jumped at that opportunity and never looked back. So it’s Nigel’s fault that I am in Connacht! I joined in 2009 and did my 300th game against Montpellier this season before everything got shut down. I was going around telling everyone it was my 300th game but that opened me up to a world of abuse from all the team.

It seems like rugby was a big part of your family, did you have anyone else involved?

My great grandfather was involved in Garryowen RFC and my grandfather was a team manager with them, my father was the kit man for Garryowen for around 26 years. We lived with my grandparents growing up, it was always in the house, whether it was bags of jerseys or equipment. It was second nature to me in one way. I played a lot of rugby growing up, when you come to the realisation that you cannot play anymore, you look to get involved in some shape or form. I never looked down the road of coaching because I am probably too much of a home bird and with a coaching job it could bring you all over the world. It didn’t appeal to me, but when I saw the kit man advertisement, I knew I liked the idea of it.

Do you think your kids would like to carry that on?

I know my eldest would, I think he imagines himself hitting 18 and getting the keys to the van and storerooms in Connacht Rugby and giving me the boot. I am sure the lads in Connacht would be very happy with that, but I am not going anywhere for the moment just yet!

What have been the major changes since you returned to The Sportsground post quarantine?

There are a few little differences, as we head into week five things are starting to go back to normal. The major thing is the disinfecting of everything, anything that is touched must be sprayed and wiped down as we go from group to group and session to session. It rained heavily a few days last week which is tough on the lads without a dressing room. I probably have fewer miles on my feet because I would usually run the water which is normally a big job during pre-season when the lads split into smaller groups. Usually, I am running and racing around trying to keep up with them.

It must be hard without the dressing room because that seems to be where a lot of the bonding happens. Do you feel like it will be harder on the social aspect of training?

The dressing room interaction is something I do miss. It does have an effect especially with the new lads, they come in to do the session and they are straight back into their car and go home. There is no hang around area like the dressing room to create that atmosphere and have a bit of banter after the sessions. It is hard to make a connection with the new lads because you can’t get up close and shake hands. When you are always keeping a distance, it doesn’t feel as natural when it comes to bonding, but it’s what you must do. It must be more difficult for them because they have a big group that they need to get to know and only have a certain window that they can do it in.

Going back to your away trips have you ever left something majorly important back in Ireland during an away trip?

Luckily I haven’t, but it can very easily happen especially when you are flying, I can relax more when I am taking the van because you can load up on more things and put in two of everything so you know you have backup stock. When you get on a plane once you get the bags weighed they cannot go over the weight to get checked in. When you arrive at the airport you are always thinking to yourself “I hope these bags have made it”. Thankfully to this day, we haven’t had those issues, we have had bags that have gotten delayed but never long enough to effect anything. I always say everything can go missing except the kit, we can work around everything else and buy them on the other side if needs be. As long as the jerseys, socks, and shorts get off the plane we will work our way around everything else.

Have you ever experienced any nightmare trips where you have been stuck or delayed?

We went to Bayon a couple of years ago, I drove to Rosslare and the ferries were cancelled, I was meant to get on it for 4 pm and arrive the next day. I would have had two days to get down through France to Bayon. My plan was to spend the whole day driving down there and have a day before the lads arrived to chill out and relax after the long drive.

Since the Rosslare ferry was cancelled it meant that I had to go to Dublin the following day and get a ferry to Holyhead, that ferry got delayed and didn’t go until after lunch that day. Eventually, I got on and spoke to the customs officer and told him I needed to get on this ferry first so I can get off it first because I had to drive across Wales and down to Portsmouth to get on another ferry to France. I gave him a jersey and he got me off the ferry first, sometimes it is the best currency you can have in those situations. It was heavy mist and rain all the way to Portsmouth, I had our travel agent on the phone telling me that I was going to have to stay in England because I wasn’t going to make it, he wanted to book me into a place. I declined, I was determined to get there and pulled into the port around 3 minutes before it was due to close and ended up arriving in to the hotel 10 minutes before the lads.

What has been your favourite trip?

It’s funny, when we got delayed in Moscow it was a trip that could have been bad. The fact that all the travel went upside down actually made the trip. Sometimes the logistics don’t go to plan but they can end up being the best memories. We had issues all the way through, the balls deflated from the cold, the ink froze in the pens writing the subs cards. We had to use pencils instead and the players drank hot Mi Wadi at halftime. I will never forget Niyi at halftime, his hand was shaking and he was spilling the drink everywhere. Even though we got stuck in Moscow and it went wrong it made it fun, everyone split up into different groups and came back with their own stories. It was one of the best trips in my memory.

What is your favourite memory thinking back on your 10 years with Connacht Rugby?

I get asked this a lot and always say beating Leinster in my first season at home in Galway. They came down with a fully loaded team and we beat them. I was getting texts asking me why I was going to Connacht. After that it showed that we can beat anyone, you get a group of people that are willing to knuckle down and work hard it means you can achieve anything. The obvious one is the PRO12 win which was amazing but that Leinster win is my favourite memory.

There seems to be a great bond between all the coaching staff it seems like you all get on very well?

We have the best group of Pro Management that I have ever worked with. No matter what group you work in you may have someone you don’t get on with. But that is not the case in this group, everyone is honest with each other, we challenge each other and call each other out if needs be. It’s a great group and we all work very well together which makes life more enjoyable. It’s hard to be away from your family on the trips when you get stuck in airports or have a long trip but when you have a great group of people around you it makes it much easier.

I know you are big into your rock music, do the players mind you playing all your music in the dressing room?

My music in the dressing room has been shot down many times. We have moved away from it a fair bit because the lads will arrive into the dressing room with their headphones on listening to their own music. There used to be a time where there would be a speaker in the corner and you would blare out the music. I think my age starts to show when I want to put on heavy metal and the lads are looking for me to put on someone like Post Malone. Usually, by the time the lads arrive, I will turn off the speaker.

As the years go by I realise how old I am, one of the players was celebrating his birthday and I asked him what year was he born, he said 1993, I met my wife in 1993. But even though there is an age gap I don’t see the guys like that. I look at them as the lads and the people that I work with. Of course, some days I think, “I could be your father”. The older part of me comes out when players are having a problem or when you need to use your bit of experience to give them advice. But most of the time I just look at them as my colleagues.

It must be nice to witness the lads from a young age progressing through their careers?

It is fantastic working with the lads at such a young age, you see them progress from shy 19-year-olds to fully grown adults and some with their own families. It is very rewarding to work with them from a young age and to see them move up through the ranks and go on to achieve great things. To witness Jack Carty get his first cap with Ireland was amazing and watching him play in the world cup last year.

Last question for you, Friendy asked that all players and staff come back to the Sportsground having mastered one skill, what would you say yours was?

How to use Zoom and Microsoft teams, I had never heard or used them prior to all of this. I had a cold sweat before the first one, I hadn’t a clue how to use it. Now I can set up a call, invite people, I am basically a tech genius now! I also picked up my bass guitar for the first time in a while, which I have had since I was 19. I learned a bit when I got the guitar initially, I ended up putting it down one day and never picked it up again. I happened to speak to Deidre Lyons with RPI before lockdown, I was telling her that I struggle to switch off at times. I am constantly thinking about work and the things I need to do, she asked me if there was anything that I used to do that I don’t do anymore. I thought of my guitar and it has been a great tool ever since as it helps me switch off.

Connacht Rugby Club & Community can now confirmed the below roadmap for the return of Junior Rugby in the province.
The following was agreed after many weeks and months of planning on the back of the unprecedented challenge posed by the COVID-19 global pandemic. It involves reduced League formats and other adjustments to the Cup competitions.
Full details can be found below, or CLICK HERE for a PDF of the 2020-21 season plan.

Connacht Rugby Club & Community can now confirmed the below roadmap for the return of Youth Rugby in the province.
The following was agreed after many weeks and months of planning on the back of the unprecedented challenge posed by the COVID-19 global pandemic. It involves a five stage process beginning with friendlies only in September, and gradually working towards competitive league and cup action until the end of the season in May 2021.
Full details can be found below, or CLICK HERE for a PDF version of the document.



Following the end of week 4 of pre-season training, the Connacht management team have issued the following squad update.
Jonny Murphy (head), Matthew Burke (thigh), Finlay Bealham (ankle), Kieran Marmion (ankle), Tom Farrell (shoulder) and Matt Healy (ankle) have all returned to team training follow injuries they sustained prior to the postponement of fixtures.
Oisin Dowling (back) is undergoing a period of rehabilitation for a long term back injury and will integrate into team training towards the end of August
Quinn Roux (hand) is continuing his rehabilitation from a recent surgery on his hand and will integrate into team training towards the end of August
Sean O’Brien (foot) is progressing his rehabilitation and will integrate into team training in early September.
Peter Robb (thigh) is recovering from a hamstring injury and will integrate into team training towards the middle of August
Stephen Fitzgerald (knee) is continuing his rehabilitation from knee surgery earlier this year and will integrate into team training in early October.


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