There were Connacht players lining out in different representative teams in different corners of the world this weekend with the usual highs and lows expected from demanding summer tours.

Bucharest, Romania
Friday 13th June 2014

Russia 0 – 66 Emerging Ireland

An exciting Emerging Ireland team picked up a facile bonus point win in their opening IRB Nations Cup match against Russia in Bucharest, running in ten tries despite the fact that only 45 minutes were played.

Connacht Assistant Coach Dan McFarland, who is leading the charges, will not have learned a lot about their players given the disappointingly one-sided nature of this round 1 fixture, but will hope that Uruguay and hosts Romania will provide sterner tests in the coming days.

Connacht lock Mick Kearney and Galway-born centre Eoin Griffin will be looking to retain their starting positions when the team face Uruguay on Wednesday afternoon (KO 2pm Irish time).

Tries: Ian Keatley, Andrew Conway 3, Niall Annett, Craig Gilroy 2, Robin Copeland, Tommy O’Donnell, Paul Marshall; Cons: Ian Keatley 4, JJ Hanrahan 3


Tucumán, Argentina
Saturday 14th June 2014

Argentina 17 – 23 Ireland

A workmanlike two-try victory saw Ireland retain the Admiral William Brown Cup as they beat Argentina in a hard-fought second Test in Tucumán.

Connacht’s Kieran Marmion was a late change to the bench, replacing British & Irish Lion Conor Murray who was ruled out with a dead leg. The 22-year-old earned his second international cap in two weeks when he was called on to replace Eoin Reddan with just two minutes remaining.

Simon Zebo and replacement Ian Madigan scored second half tries as Joe Schmidt’sside secured Ireland’s first Test series win in Argentina.

Those converted scores, added to three first half penalties from Jonathan Sexton,  put Ireland out of the Pumas’ reach in their final international of a rewarding first season under Schmidt.

Tries: Simon Zebo, Ian Madigan; Pens: Jonny Sexton 3; Cons: Johnny Sexton, Ian Madigan


Auckland, New Zealand
Sunday 15th June 2014

England U20’s 42 – 15 Ireland U20’s

The Ireland Under-20s’ first ever IRB Junior World Championship semi-final ended in a comprehensive 42-15 defeat as defending champions England proved a class apart in Auckland.

Galway-born Ciaran Gaffney has had a brilliant first campaign with Mike Ruddock’s U20 side and started on the right wing for the fourth consecutive game in the competition.

Ireland’s still have third place to play for, and will face hosts New Zealand in the play-off on Friday morning at 06:05 Irish Time, with a final of England v South Africa following at 08:35.

Despite losing, the Irish and Connacht contingent of winger Gaffney and flanker Rory Moloney  can take a lot from their Junior World Championship experience, having reached their first ever semi-final of the competition.


4 Connacht Academy players named in Irish U20 squad to face Wales