The Connacht Senior League kicked off this past weekend, with Galwegians running out victors in a closely run tie against Buccaneers in Athlone.

The hosts outscored the Galway side by four tries to three, but succumbed to a late rally from ‘Wegians that saw them head back West with the narrowest of victories.

Great kicking from Darragh Kennedy, along with an opportunist try from Michael McColgan, a clinical finish from Eoin Tarmey and an excellent try from Conor O’Shaughnessy, was the difference for the Westerners.

Buccaneers will be disappointed not to have come out on top, after tries from Sean O’Connell, former Connacht player Danny Qualter and hooker Darren Browne, as well as a late penalty try, saw them come up short.

Next up for Galwegians is a home game against Corinthians this Saturday at 14.30, while Buccaneers have a weekend off, before travelling to Ballina RFC for their next Connacht Senior League fixture.

BUCCANEERS:- S.Layden; R.O’Connor, H.Balsiger, S.Mannion, S.O’Carroll; M.Hanley, F.Hopkins; M.Staunton (captain), D.Browne, S.O’Connell; R.Byrne, F.Galvin; L.Balsiger, C.McCann and D.Qualter. Replacements:- Cian Daly (for McCann), C.Fokam (for O’Connell), D.Touhey (for Staunton), Colin Daly (for Hopkins), R.Murphy-Sweeney (for O’Connor), and S.O’Connell (for Browne).

GALWEGIANS:- D.Kennedy; R.Aghabueze, C.O’Shaughnessy, R.Deacy, M.Duffy; P.Nash, A.Lampkin; C.Joyce, C.Reilly, M.McColgan; E.Tarmey, M.Loughlin; N.Murphy, J.Winters and K.Downey (captain). Replacements used:- D.Keane, I.Garahbois, G.Duffy, B.McGuinness, Z.Rather, K.Waterman and M.Dever.

Referee:- Michael Honan (Connacht).

Almost €150k has been issued to clubs and schools around the province as part of the Connacht Rugby Player Development Award.

Thus far, nine Connacht clubs and seven Connacht schools have benefited.

As the brainchild of the Connacht Rugby Board, it was designed to show recognition for the work being done at mini, youth and school level by the Connacht Rugby club and school network.

Connacht Rugby’s domestic rugby manager, Joe Gorham, was keen to praise the work being done at grassroots level when discussing the fund and its beneficiaries. He said: “Club & Community and Connacht Rugby as a whole, are hugely proud of our indigenous talent and this fund is to assist our Clubs and Schools in bringing through future Connacht Rugby Pro players into the future”.

The initiative works by awarding the relevant Connacht Club and/or School on foot of the player having started 15 times for the Connacht Pro team.

The latest players to achieve the milestone, and who have, in turn assisted their clubs and schools financially are Niall Murray (Buccaneers RFC / Colaiste Chiaran) and Matthew Burke (Ballinrobe RFC).

The fund was initiated in 2019, however, at that time, a decision was also taken by the Connacht Rugby Board to pay out to our clubs and schools retrospectively for players they would have brought through their systems in the past, right back to the Johnny O’Connor/Gavin Duffy era.

This financial award system helps the Connacht clubs and schools to continue to grow the game at the grassroots level in their respective areas, with the hope that many more talented home-grown players will follow through into the Connacht Senior professional team.

It was a season to remember for Cathal Forde. The Galway native made his full debut for Connacht, signed a first senior contract, and was part of the Corinthians side that made it into the semi-finals of Energia AIL Division 2B. 

On top of that,  Cathal’s contribution to Corinthians’ run was recently recognised at the Energia All-Ireland League Awards, where he was announced as the Division 2B Player of the Year. 

Unexpected Honour

Despite an excellent club season, where he scored seven tries and had a goal kicking success rate of 84% (42/50), the centre was not expecting to be picking up the honour. 

“I had no idea. I found out the day before (the awards). It was a surprise, but definitely a good one. I knew it was a good season though and it was great to get the game time with Corinthians, but I didn’t expect (the award) to be honest”, said the centre when discussing the accolade. 

Corinthians’ season ended after a late Greystones try in the semi-finals dashed their hopes of promotion. 

“We started off pretty slow this season, but we then got into a good run of wins and the opportunity was there of getting into the playoffs and perhaps getting promotion, but Greystones were just very good on the day”, Forde said discussing his club’s journey. 

He was also keen to pay tribute to Corinthians outgoing head coach, JP Cooney, who will be stepping down from his position after this season.

“JP Cooney is obviously a great coach, but he’s also just a good person”. 

Successful Coaching

Although he is just at the start of professional playing journey, the man who is affectionally known as ‘Fordey’ has already made a foray into the world of coaching.

He was part of the Corinthians backroom team that won both the U-16 Division 1 league title and the Bank of Ireland U16 Cup Final this year.

For Forde, this was all about giving back to the grassroots side of the game that served him so well.

Discussing this, he said: “Myself and (fellow Connacht Academy player) Eoin de Buitléar, we’re helping out the under 16s with Simon Kavanagh and Niall Browne.”

“Niall Browne would have coached us growing up, so it’s nice to be giving back there. They’re a good bunch of lads and they have a few who are breaking into the Connacht underage system.”

Although Forde will be aiming to light up the Sportsground in the coming months, he recognises that it is the Corinthians club in Cloonacauneen, Co. Galway where it all started: “I think under-nines was my first year and Corinthians is a very community focussed club, so I’m always happy to be back there helping out”.

Connacht Ambition 

Cathal signed his first professional contract with Connacht in January of this year, making his debut later that month against Glasgow Warriors.  

Despite Connacht failing to get the better of the Scottish side on the day, Forde impressed, slotting over each one of his kicks at goal. 

“I thought I did alright, but obviously, the result didn’t go our way”, was his humble summation of a proud day for him and his family. 

Looking forward to next season, the U20 Ireland International recognises that bigger challenges await.

“Hopefully I will win more game time with the seniors and break into the squad a bit more in the new season. I know there are other quality centres there, but I am looking forward to the challenge” he added. 

Monivea RFC would like to invite applications for the position of Head Coach or Player Coach for the upcoming 2022/2023 season.



  • Relevant IRFU Coaching Training and experience in coaching at similar levels.
  • The ability to deliver a structured, targeted training plan to develop our men’s team and achieve the goal of promotion to AIL rugby next season.
  • Player and Coach development, recruitment, and retainment. Confidence in communicating with members of the Management Team and Club Committee to ensure that a proactive approach is taken in this task.
  • Good knowledge of Junior Rugby in Connacht and the ability to network with all relevant parties in the interest of Monivea RFC.


Key Qualities:

  • Strong Technical and Tactical understanding of rugby.
  • Good Communication and Player Management skills.
  • Strong organizational skills.


Key Requirements:

  • Stage 3 IRFU Coaching Award or equivalent.
  • Previous coaching experience.


The deadline for applications is Friday 20th May.


Please use the link provided to submit your expression of interest.


If you require further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us: [email protected]

Due to uncertainties within clubs regarding player availability following the recent Christmas break Connacht Rugby has decided to pause the return of adult competitions for one week.
Training may continue as normal and some fixtures may proceed if agreed by both sides.
Fixtures will be updated on the Connacht Rugby website by lunchtime on Friday.
A further update will be issued to club’s early next week.

As announced earlier this summer, the following global law trials will apply to all rugby competitions beginning on or after 1st August 2021.
50:22: If the team in possession kicks the ball from inside their own half indirectly into touch inside their opponents’ 22, they will throw into the resultant lineout. The ball cannot be passed or carried back into the defensive half for the 50:22 to be played. The phase must originate inside the defensive half.
Goal line drop-out: If the ball is held up in in-goal, there is a knock-on from an attacking player in in-goal or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal, then play restarts with a goal line drop-out anywhere along the goal line.
Flying Wedge: To sanction the three person pre-bound mini-scrum by redefining the flying wedge.
1 man latch: To recognise the potential for 1-player pre-latching prior to contact, but this player must observe all of the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet.
Cleanout and safety of the Jackler: To introduce a sanction for clean outs which target or drop weight onto the lower limbs.


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

With a growth in the number of girls playing rugby in Connacht, we are delighted to announce the Connacht Rugby’s Women’s U18’s and Women’s Senior Coaches.

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

Ross was Head Coach of the AIL 2C winning Sligo team, he has worked with Connacht Rugby as a Club and Community Rugby Officer for 10 years and in his current position as Rugby Participation Officer for 2 years.

“I’m delighted with the opportunity to take on this position, I`ve worked with some of the current players many years ago when some of them were starting out on their pathway and have got to know some more through various programs they`ve delivered on these past two years.

The main things that have stood out for me, from these interactions, are their commitment to rugby, be that for club, province or country, and the appetite to learn and better themselves as players. Two fantastic characteristics to have in life never mind in a sporting context, so that really intrigued me as to what the potential is with in the current U18, Emerging Talent and Senior squads.

I hope myself along with all the coaches involved can help all these players reach their potential and fulfil their rugby ambitions or goals.”

Fraser Gow returns as Head Coach of the Connacht Rugby U18’s Team, sponsored by GMIT, alongside Luke O’Donnell as Backs Coach. Fraser expressed his excitement of returning to training and getting back to normal, “First and foremost we are really excited about a return to training, having the ability to get back out on a pitch and un-pause the plans we have in place.”

“It’s fantastic to see examples of players that have been developed by our clubs, progressed through the Connacht pathways and are now playing at the highest level. That is something we should all be extremely proud of but equally motivates us to aid the development of the next crop of talented players out there.”

As Connacht Rugby continue their partnership with Galway-based sports technology services company Clubforce, their Emerging Talent Programme helps bridge the gap between underage and senior level women’s rugby in Connacht.

Clubforce Emerging Talent Head Coach, Emer O’Dowd, is joined by Mary Healy, who has been appointed, Backs, Skills and Attack’s Coach.

Mary Healy adds that despite restrictions, Connacht Rugby aim for this year’s programme to be the most comprehensive yet.

“Every year we’ve always tried to improve and push what we can do in the summer programme. Despite restrictions, we aim for this to be the most comprehensive yet.”

“I’m delighted to be involved with the Clubforce Emerging Talent Squad, I’m looking forward to helping bridge that gap between underage & senior, keeping girls in the game, growing and developing their skills and knowledge so they can take that step up to senior level. My goal and Clubforce’s goal ultimately is to grow participation, this partnership gives us the opportunity to bridge that gap, keep girls in the game and grow and develop them as rugby players.”

Speaking on the appointed coaching team this year, Joe Gorham Head of Domestic Rugby at Connacht Rugby said:

“Absolutely delighted with the appointment of Ross Mannion as Head Coach of the Connacht Women’s Team. Ross, a valued member of the Club & Community team, has an impressive coaching CV built up in the past few seasons and I look forward to seeing him (and his coaching team) bringing the Senior squad to another level.

I am also delighted on the re-appointment of Fraser Gow and his Coaching Team to the Connacht Under 18 Girls squad. Under his leadership, we have made tremendous progress at this level and it is refreshing to see so many young talented girls coming through to the Connacht side from the 4 corners of the 5 counties!

It is fabulous to see that the Clubforce Emerging Talent Programme is ready to get up and running again under the safe hands of Emer O’Dowd and Mary Healy. This sector is vital to the Player Pathway programme for the Women’s Game and huge thanks must go to our valued partners Clubforce for supporting the Talent Programme.

Finally special thanks to our Volunteer Managers of the three squads Natalie Fox & Mark (Barney) Moran. Without their help and assistance, and indeed their passion for Connacht Rugby in general, we would not have made the huge strides that we have made in the past few seasons. Volunteers are the backbone of everything we do in Club & Community. Thank you to every club & school volunteer, we really appreciate all you do for us.”

The Government of Ireland have announced that new public health measures are coming into place in April.
From April 26th, “underage non-contact outdoor training in pods of 15 can recommence for all exercise activities outdoors , subject to public health advice at the time.”
Provisionally, this means only under age sections clubs and schools in the Republic of Ireland will be able to offer non-contact rugby training from that date.
All clubs and schools who wish to resume rugby must have and up-to-date COVID-19 Safety Plan – No Plan, No Play.
On March 23rd, the IRFU and provinces facilitated a #ReadyForRugby Support Webinar on considerations for updating COVID-19 Safety Plans.
A recording of this webinar can be viewed at https://youtu.be/9nQM_q7UBM8
Following clarification from Sport NI and the NI Executive, clubs in Northern Ireland can resume outdoor training in distinct groups of 15 (inclusive of players and coaches) from April 12th.
Further information on permitted activities will be issued to all clubs and schools in due course.
More #ReadyForRugby information can be viewed at https://www.irishrugby.ie/running-your-club/return-to-rugby-for-clubs/
Additional upcoming webinars may assist your club or school in preparing for a resumption of rugby.
#ReadyForRugby Support Webinar 4: An Introduction To Coaching Touch Rugby
Time: Thursday 1st April 2021, 13:00 – 13:30
Registration Link: http://bit.ly/RFR-Web-4
Billy Ngawini (Ireland Touch Association)
IRFU COVID-19 Project Team
Suitable For:
Adult & Age-Grade Coaches
Team Managers
Club Officers & Volunteers
This webinar is designed to help clubs and schools who want to know more about touch rugby as an offering to players for skill development, fitness and fun. It will provide an overview of resources available for first-time coaches of touch rugby.
#ReadyForRugby Support Webinar 5: RugbyConnect Refresher For Administrators
Time: Tuesday 6th April 2021, 13:00 – 13:30
Registration Link: http://bit.ly/RFR-Web-5
Lucy Mulhall (IRFU)
Suitable For:
Club and School Administrators
Club Officers & Volunteers
RugbyConnect is the IRFU’s online administration system for clubs and schools. This webinar will walk through updates to the system and help refresh knowledge for clubs and schools ahead of any return to rugby activity.

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.


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