Connacht Rugby are delighted to announce that last season’s Coaching & Management Team for the Connacht Juniors have been reappointed for this season.
 
The Head Coach will again be Michael Harding (Buccaneers RFC), who will be joined by Assistant Coaches Pat Cunningham (Creggs RFC) and Henry O’Toole (Connemara RFC). The joint Managers of the squad will be Sean Higgins & Declan Slattery (Tuam RFC).
 
We wish them the very best of luck for the coming season and look forward to seeing the Connacht Juniors playing with similar passion and skill as they displayed last season.
 
The Connacht Junior squad is made up of the top talent represented from the Connacht Junior League Teams. They put in great work in their lead in to the Interprovincial Series and we ask that all followers of the Club game within Connacht give them their full support.
 
The three Interprovincial games this season are as follows:
 
( a ) 25/04/2020 : Munster v. Connacht : Killarney RFC.
( b ) 02/05/2020 : Ulster v. Connacht : Lurgan RFC.
( c ) 09/05/2020 : Connacht v. Leinster : Buccaneers RFC.

Connemara won the repeat of last season’s Connacht Junior Cup final with a 16-8 victory away to Creggs on Saturday night, writes John O’Sullivan.
 
The Blacks, who began the game at the top of the Connacht J1A League, trailed to an unconverted Eoghan Coyle try, but rallied in the second half and sealed the victory thanks to a late Curtis Jonas try — added to three Henry O’Toole penalties — which Shane Sweeney converted.
 
Creggs and Connemara went head to head for both the Connacht Junior League and Cup last season, with the Clifden based side victorious in both competitions, and it was clear from the early exchanges that the hosts were keen to avenge their defeats.
 
The tempo of both teams’ defensive line-speed was at a ferocious level and the ambition with ball in hand was evident. The running games that brought so much success for both of the games contestants last season still the weapon choice.
 
However, defensive solidity was the prominent feature of the opening 20 minutes with the game played largely between both sides 22s.
 
It appeared as if it would take something special to open the nights try scoring account, and Creggs duly obliged midway through the half.
 
Eoghan Coyle, brushing off four would be tackles, burst through the Connemara defence and ran in a score of individual brilliance from the halfway line, much to the delight of the large crowd assembled under the new stand at The Green.
 
Shane Purcell’s conversion, from tight to the right hand touchline, was narrowly wide but any lead in a game of such narrow margins felt huge.
 
To the visitor’s credit, the concession of a try stirred a reaction from them and they were on the board themselves not long after. After a high tackle yielded a penalty, O’Toole — last season’s Connacht Junior Player of the Year — slotted the three points to make the score at half time 5-3 in favour of Creggs.
 
The second half saw no dampening of the attacking approach and Creggs’ Brian Diffley and Connemara’s Niall Staunton were both willing and massively effective ball carriers.
 
The home side notched the first points of the half when Purcell, after the Blacks were penalised for being offside, bisected the posts with an accurate penalty.
 
An 8-3 lead would be as good as it got for Creggs, though, as Connemara began to assert themselves and eventually make it count on the scoreboard.
 
Two further O’Toole penalties gave the table toppers a narrow 9-8 lead, but the best was saved to last for Connemara.
 
Picking up at the back of a retreating scrum just inside his own half, number 8 Jack Vaughan made headway through the heart of the Creggs defence before offloading to his scrum half, Michael O’Toole.
 
O’Toole, jinking through contact, found centre David McDonagh whose powerful run brought the Blacks deep into the 22. Before being tackled near the line, McDonagh had the wherewithal to skillfully offload to the onrushing fly half, Jonas, who acrobatically touched down for a try worthy of winning any game.
 
The conversion, from a difficult angle on the left hand side, was struck firmly and true by Sweeney to give the Blacks the win and — perhaps crucially come the end of the season — take the losing bonus point away from Creggs.
 
Creggs
T.Fleming, M.Buckley, A.Leech; I.Whittington, B.Donoghue; P.Lohan, J.Brandon(C), B.Diffley; E.Coyle, S.Purcell; K.Gavin; T.Callaghan, E.Jennings; R.Dowd; S.Dowd.
Replacements:D.Arnold, S.Higgins, K.Brandon, M.Brandon, M.Quinn.
 
Connemara
E.Conroy, B.Gibbons, F.Heffernan; M.Mullins, N.Staunton; J.Vaughan, P.Lee, K.Keogh; M.O’Toole, C.Jonas; P.O’Toole(C); D.McDonagh, E.Bourke; M.Conneely; H.O’Toole.
Replacements: K.Barry, C.O’Malley, S.Sweeney, R.O’Halloran, E.Conneely

Ireland Women’s Head Coach Adam Griggs has named a squad of 24 ahead of their test match against Wales this Sunday (10th November, kick-off 1pm)
 
The Squad are fresh off the back of two training weekends in Scotland and in France where they had games against their Scottish and French counterparts.
 
Griggs has named six uncapped in the squad, Leinster’s Judy Bobbett, Victoria Dabanovich O’Mahony, Hannah O’Connor, Katie O’Dwyer and Niamh Ní Dhroma along with Ireland 7s International and Munster’s Dorothy Wall.
 
Speaking ahead of the game, Griggs said “The camps in Scotland and France were invaluable, it gave us a chance to get quality time together as a squad and feed more information in to the players about how we want to go about playing and performing this season.
 
We were able to travel with a larger playing panel for each camp which gave all the players named in our initial squad the opportunity to put their hand up for selection which has driven our standards and made sure there’s been high quality competition for places in this test match squad named.
 
Ultimately we have picked a strong squad with a good mix of youth and experience who we feel can go out and deliver against Wales.”
 
Ireland Women’s Squad to play Wales Women (Women’s International, Sunday 10th November 2019, Kick-off 1pm)
Judy Bobbett (Blackrock College/ Leinster) *
Enya Breen (UL Bohemian/ Munster)
Anna Caplice (Harlequins/IQ)
Michelle Claffey (Blackrock College/ Leinster)
Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian/ Munster)
Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Victoria Dabanovich O’Mahony (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster)
Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo/ IQ)
Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Laura Feely (Galweigians/ Connacht)
Nichola Fryday (Old Belvedere/ Connacht)
Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian/ Munster)
Edel McMahon (Wasps/Connacht)
Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/IQ)
Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union/Leinster)
Ellen Murphy (Gloucester-Hartpury/ IQ)
Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College/ Leinster) *
Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union/ Leinster) *
Anne-Marie O’Hora (Galweigians/ Connacht)
Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/ Connacht)
Dorothy Wall (Fethard/ Munster) *
Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
Niamh Ní Dhroma (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *

November Internationals Fixture:
Ireland Women v Wales Women
The Bowl, UCD, Dublin.
Sunday 10th November 2019
KO: 1.00pm

Connacht Rugby are delighted to announce the Player/Club Ambassador Programme for the 2019/20 season.
 
This programme involves each club in Connacht being paired with two pro or academy players who will act as their ambassadors for the remainder of the campaign. Over the coming months these players will be made available to the clubs for a number of visits, with the club deciding how best to utilise their skills and expertise for those visits.
 
This is the third year of the Player Ambassador Programme and its aim is to build on the already strong relationships that exist between the playing squad and grassroots rugby in the province. During the pre-season the squad held a club visit to Connemara RFC with further club visits planned for later in the season.
 
Check out below who your club will be paired with for the season ahead:
 
An Ghaeltacht Finlay Bealham, Conor Fitzgerald & Colm De Buitlear
Ballina Eoin McKeon & Conor Dean
Ballinasloe Joe Maksymiw & Tiernan O’Halloran
Ballinrobe Quinn Roux & Niyi Adeolokun
Ballyhaunis Darragh Leader & Colm Reilly
Buccaneers Colby Fainga’a & John Porch
Carrick-on-Shannon Shane Delahunt & Cillian Gallagher
Castlebar Denis Buckley & David Horwitz
Claremorris Seán O’Brien (pro) & Seán O’Brien (acad)
Connemara Paddy McAllister & Luke Carty
Corinthians Eoghan Masterson & Hugh Lane
Corrib Gavin Thornbury & Peter Robb
Creggs Stephen Fitzgerald & Mikey Wilson
Dunmore Matthew Burke & Conor Kenny
Galway Bay Jack Carty & Dylan Tierney-Martin
Galwegians Ultan Dillane & Kyle Godwin
Gort Dominic Robertson-McCoy & Angus Lloyd
Loughrea Matt Healy & Jonny Murphy
Monivea Tom Farrell & Jordan Duggan
NUIG Dave Heffernan & Rory Burke
Our Lady’s Boys Club Bundee Aki & Sean Masterson
Oughterard Tom Daly & Robin Copeland
Portumna Kieran Marmion & Niall Murray
Sligo Caolin Blade & Paul Boyle
Tuam Jarrad Butler & Stephen Kerins
Westport Tom McCartney & Shane Jennings

A squad of 26 players has been named by Ireland Women’s head coach Adam Griggs ahead of their training camp in Scotland this weekend.
 
The Ireland Women are traveling to Edinburgh for a weekend training camp which will culminate with a training game against their Scottish counterparts on Sunday afternoon.
 
Speaking ahead of the trip, Griggs said:
 
We’re really looking forward to this weekend’s camp and the next few weeks ahead leading into our Test match against Wales. Each player included in the squad has been selected on their form through the Interprovincial Championship and the English Premiership.
 
“As well as having a larger squad to travel and play, this will give the coaching group a chance to look at different combinations and give the players a great opportunity to test themselves at an international level and see how they handle the step up in pace and intensity.
 
“We also have two new coaches on board this year, who have added real quality to the work Jeff Carter and Mike Ross have started with this group.
 
“Steven McGuinness, who works full-time with IQ Rugby, is our new forwards coach, and Kieran Hallett, who is with Leinster as an EPDO, has come in as our defence coach. It’s great to see the professionalism of the new coaches and the value they have brought to the players.”

 
This is the first of two away training camps and training matches the national side will undertake, with the squad traveling to France next week, ahead of their clash with Wales at the UCD Bowl on Sunday, November 10 (kick-off 1pm).
 
IRELAND WOMEN’S Squad (Training Camp, Edinburgh, Scotland, October 26-27, 2019):
Judy Bobbett (Blackrock/Leinster) *
Enya Breen (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Anna Caplice (Harlequins/IQ Rugby)
Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/Leinster)
Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Victoria Dabanovich-O’Mahony (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster)
Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo Ladies/IQ Rugby)
Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Laura Feely (Galweigians/Connacht)
Nichola Fryday (Old Belvedere/Connacht)
Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt)
Mary Healy (Lindenwood University/IQ Rugby) *
Edel McMahon (Wasps/Connacht)
Grace Miller (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/IQ Rugby)
Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union/Leinster)
Ellen Murphy (Gloucester/IQ Rugby)
Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock/Leinster) *
Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union/Leinster) *
Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/Connacht)
Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Juliet Short (Railway Union/Leinster)
Shannon Touhey (Tullamore/Connacht) *
Dorothy Wall (Fethard & District/Munster) *

* Denotes uncapped player at this level

IRELAND WOMEN’S SCHEDULE – KEY DATES:

October 26-27: Training Camp & Game, Scotland

November 2-3: Training Camp & Game, France

Sunday, November 10: Ireland Women v Wales Women, UCD Bowl, 1pm – click here to buy tickets

2020 Women’s Six Nations Championship:

Sunday, February 2: Ireland Women v Scotland Women, Energia Park, 1pm

Sunday, February 9: Ireland Women v Wales Women, Energia Park, 1pm

Sunday, February 23: England Women v Ireland Women, Castle Park, Doncaster, 12.45pm

Sunday, March 8: Ireland Women v Italy Women, Energia Park, 1pm

Sunday, March 15: France Women v Ireland Women, Le Stadium Villeneuve d’Acsq, Lille, 4.35pm local time/3.35pm Irish time

Connacht Rugby and Galway City Council are delighted to announce the appointment of Craig Hansberry as Regional Development Officer (Galway City) for Connacht Rugby.
 
Hansberry is originally from Killererin outside Tuam, Co. Galway and was most recently a Connacht Club & Community Rugby Officer. He is also a regular rugby player for Corinthians RFC.
 
This new RDO role will see Hansberry work alongside Galway City Council to provide rugby coaching and sessions to primary and secondary schools and clubs across Galway City.
 
Joe Gorham, Head of Domestic Rugby at Connacht Rugby says:
 
“The continued development of rugby in Galway City is a key objective in the Club & Community Strategic Plan. We are delighted to welcome Craig to the team after his excellent work as a CCRO and look forward to seeing more rugby balls in the hands of as many students and players as possible in the months and years ahead. We’re also delighted to work in conjunction with Galway City Council to make this possible”
 
Gary McMahon, Head of Corporate Services & Community at Galway City Council says:
 
“Galway City Council is committed to the development of increased participation in sport and active recreation across the range of communities, schools and clubs in the city. We look forward to working closely with Connacht Rugby and with Craig in particular to enhance and deepen the participation in rugby at grassroots level. Go n’éirí leis an obair!”
 
To contact Craig regarding a visit to a school or club, follow him on his Facebook page at facebook.com/CraigHansberryRDO or email [email protected]
 

Connemara and Creggs again look to be the teams to beat after the opening four rounds of the Connacht J1A League.
 
The two clubs, who finished 1st and 2nd in last year’s J1A and also contested the Junior Cup final, are the only teams with 100% records with both sides winning their first four games.
 
An additional bonus point means it’s Connemara who lead the way on 18 points with the league now on a break before a return to action on the weekend of the 2nd/3rd November.
 
In that round Connemara travel to Buccaneers and Creggs head to Tuam, and then it’s the first meeting of the season between the two pace setters in Creggs the following weekend.
 

Things are incredibly tight in the J1B League where three points separates the top three teams who have all won 3 of their first 4 games. An additional three bonus points means Dunmore top the table on 15 points, followed by Corinthians on 13 and NUIG on 12.
 
When the league returns in the first weekend of November it’ll be 2nd vs 1st when Corinthians host Dunmore.
 

Round 4 of the J1C League takes place the weekend after next so it’s still early days there. Ballinasloe are the only club with a perfect record after wins in their opening two games, and they’ll look to make it 3/3 when they head to The Sportsground to face OLBC.
 
It’s Ballyhaunis who top the table after two wins and a draw, but they’re on a bye-week meaning Ballinasloe have an opportunity to climb to the summit.
 

Finally in the J2 League Round 3 is scheduled for this weekend with three teams aiming to keep their winning starts going. Two of those go head to head when Oughterard face Claremorris, while Galwegians who are also 2/2 take on Buccaneers.
 

FOR ALL THE LATEST CLUB & COMMUNITY FIXTURES AND RESULTS CLICK HERE

Parents in Sport Week 2019 kicked off on Monday and Connacht Rugby are celebrating it with a unique initiative to help shape sideline behaviour.
 
Adapted from John O’Sullivan’s Changing the Game Project The event will see clubs distribute flyers and stickers at U14 matches across the province.
 
This year we are asking those involved in youth rugby to Know Your Role – a simple yet powerful message that we believe will improve touchline behaviour towards players, coaches and referees, thus improving the quality of the experience for young people!
 
Keep an eye out at your local club at weekend for this innovative experience as we strive to create a child-centred environment for all our young athletes.
 
Know Your Role has been adapted with kind permission from John O’Sullivan’s Changing the Game Project, for more information visit: https://changingthegameproject.com/when-you-attend-a-youth-sports-event-know-your-role/
 
For more information on Parents in Sport Week visit the CPSU’s website: https://thecpsu.org.uk/upcoming-events/2019-10-07-parents-in-sport-week/

Connemara RFC will begin the defence of their Connacht Junior Cup with a 1st round tie to either Loughrea or NUIG.
 
The draw was made last Saturday at The Sportsground with 20 teams learning their opponents for the 2019/20 tournament.
 
8 of those will play in the preliminary round, with Corinthians taking on Ballina, Loughrea facing NUIG, Galwegians making the trip to Ballyhaunis and Corrib up against Dunmore.
 
In the 1st round there are three all J1A fixtures, with last year’s beaten finalists Creggs making the trip to Westport, Buccaneers host Sligo, and Castlebar take on Tuam.
 
Elsewhere Monivea face Ballinasloe, Ballinrobe take on Carrick-on-Shannon, OLBC face the winners of Corrib/Dunmore, and Corinthians or Ballina take on either Ballyhaunis or Galwegians.
 
The preliminary round games will take place on 5th January 2020 with the 1st round ties the following weekend.
 
2019/20 CONNACHT JUNIOR CUP DRAW

Preliminary Round
Corinthians v Ballina
Loughrea v NUIG
Ballyhaunis v Galwegians
Corrib v Dunmore

1st Round
Castlebar v Tuam
Loughrea or NUIG v Connemara
Monivea v Ballinasloe
Corinthians or Ballina v Ballyhaunis or Galwegians
Buccaneers v Sligo
OLBC v Corrib or Dunmore
Ballinrobe v Carrick-on-Shannon
Westport v Creggs
 

The domestic rugby season cranks up another gear tomorrow when the draw for the 2019/20 Connacht Junior Cup takes place at The Sportsground.
 
20 clubs from across the province will learn their 1st round opponents, all of whom will be hoping to replicate the performance of Connemara RFC last season and claim the trophy.
 
The Clifden side defeated Creggs 25-6 in last year’s decider, and with the defending champions already top of this season’s J1A league after the first two games, they’ll be aiming to clinch an historic back-to-back success in the competition.
 
The draw gets underway at 6.45pm in the Heineken Rugby Clubhouse, prior to Connacht’s opening Guinness PRO14 game with Benetton which kicks-off at 7.35pm, and will be conducted by the Galway City Mayor Cllr. Mike Cubbard and Fergus ‘Gussie’ Farrell ahead of his “Toughest Trek” fundraising campaign for the National Rehabilitation Centre.

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