Every weekend, thousands of children, volunteers, coordinators, and parents take to rugby pitches across the province for mini rugby.

The idea behind minis is to introduce children to rugby, while sharing everything that is good about the game. In short, mini rugby is all about fun, participation, and inclusion.

A club where those elements are plain to see is Castlebar RFC.

The club, which is based in Cloondeash on the outskirts of Castlebar, welcomes children (along with their parents and volunteers) for an hour and a quarter of rugby fun every Saturday morning.

Over the past five years, the number of players registered from under 7 to under 12 with the club has grown from 85 to 180, with 40 girls included in that number.

Castlebar’s mini rugby coordinator, Declan Bourke,  discussed what children learn outside of the game when talking about the weekly training and games.

He said: “There were two lads on the u16 Connacht Development Squad, as well as two on the u17 squad, and all four came from the u8 minis.

“It’s great to see those players coming through, however, the main thing we are trying to communicate is that mini rugby is for everyone. We try to get across the spirit of teamwork, fun, respect, and inclusivity to all the children who join and play rugby with us.”

Declan was also keen to pay homage to the team who have helped Castlebar RFC’s mini rugby go from strength to strength over the past five years.

He added: “There is a group of about 20 volunteers who make mini rugby possible in Castlebar. A special mention should also go to Mairead Bradley who looks after the girl’s section and has put in trojan work last few years to grow it.”

Castlebar RFC minis takes place every Saturday at 10.30am in Castlebar Rugby Club, Cloondeash, Castlebar.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be focusing on other clubs around the province as part of our mini rugby series.

The Bank of Ireland Cawley Cup returned this weekend, signifying the start of a new season for some of Connacht’s club sides.

Pool A

Pool A saw Buccaneers 2nd XV travel to nearby Creggs, while Castlebar hosted Dunmore.

Buccaneers 2nds looked too strong for their near neighbours, racing into a 16-0 lead at the break. Creggs did manage to get a try on the board, but it was too little, too late, as the visitors travelled back to Athlone with a 21 points to spare.

The other game saw Castlebar prove their worth against Dunmore. The first half was a tentative affair, with the Mayo side going into the break just a point up at 6-5.

After both sides scored two tries, kicking proved the difference as Castlebar ran out 20-12 victors.

Pool B

On a fantastic day for rugby, Connemara welcomed Westport to Clifden for their first game of the season on Sunday. Both sides showed excellent attacking talent throughout, with the Connemara All Blacks eventually coming out on top of a 29-15 scoreline.

Group B’s other game was a Galway derby, as Monivea hosted Tuam.

Here the away side proved to be dominant throughout, scoring eight tries on their way to a 5-48 win. In what was one of the performances of the weekend, Ian Murphy touched down for a hat trick of tries for the visitors.

The draw for the 2019/20 All-Ireland Junior Cup has been made. Round 1 kicks off on October 26th with 16 clubs from all four provinces facing off.
Cup holders Ashbourne, who will be aiming for an incredible and historic four in a row, open their defense of the coveted trophy with a home game against Creggs.
Last season’s beaten finalists and former winners Enniscorthy have been promoted to Division 2C of the All-Ireland League – a well worn path for several previous winners.
Knocked out at the semi-final stage last time around, Wicklow are drawn away to Kilfeacle in Round 1.
Monivea, beaten finalists in 2011 and 2012, are away to cup newcomers Kilkenny.
The quarter-finals will take place on 19th November with the semi-finals pencilled in for the 14th December. The 2019/20 All-Ireland Junior Cup Final will take place on the 25th January, 2020.
All-Ireland Junior Cup 2019/20 – Round 1
Saturday 26th October, 2019, kick off 2.30

Ashbourne v Creggs
Richmond v Grosvenor
Dromore v Newcastle West
Connemara v Gorey
Instonians v Crosshaven
Kilkenny v Monivea
Kilfeacle v Wicklow
Castlebar v Ballyclare
2019 – Ashbourne 16 – Enniscorthy 11, Edenderry RFC – Report & Highlights
2018 – Ashbourne 18 Kilfeacle & District 9, Portlaoise RFC – Report & Highlights
2017 – Ashbourne 22 Enniscorthy 20, Energia Park – Report & Highlights
2016 – Enniscorthy 23 Instonians 7, Ashbourne RFC – Report & Highlights
2015 – Dundalk 55 Bangor 5, Portadown 5 – Highlights
2014 – Enniscorthy 10 Clogher Valley 9, Coolmine RFC
2013 – Tullamore 29 Enniscorthy 10, Cill Dara RFC
2012 – Tullamore 9 Monivea 3, Dubarry Park
2011 – Crosshaven 17 Monivea 9, Templeville Road
2010 – City of Derry 19 City Of Armagh 17, Dubarry Park
2009 – Tullamore 23 Navan 13, Dubarry Park
2008 – Navan 20 Tullamore 6, Dubarry Park
2007 – Seapoint 47 Coleraine 15, Dubarry Park
2006 – Rainey Old Boys 27 Youghal 5, Lansdowne Road

The draw for the 2019 Junior Cup draw has thrown up two intriguing ties with all four teams looking to move one step closer to the final at The Sportsground later in the season.
The draw took place at The Sportsground at lunchtime today after yesterday’s four quarter-finals when Tuam, Creggs, Castlebar and Connemara emerged victorious.
The last four ties will see Castlebar with a home tie against Creggs while Tuam play host to Connemara, with both ties taking place this Sunday at 2pm. The final is scheduled for Sunday 24th March at The Sportsground.
You can watch how the draw unfolded below.

Castlebar Rugby Football Club, in association with Connacht Rugby and Mayo Sports Partnership are delighted to host a seminar entitled “Optimising Performance”
The event is free to all, and starts at 18.30 on Monday Feb 11th in Breaffy House Hotel, Castlebar.
The event contains a stellar line-up of speakers, and should help any coach or athlete who wants to understand how top performers optimise their performance on a consistent basis.
Andy Friend will give the overview that the Head Coach has, including season objectives and season plans.
Mona McSharry will speak of her superb achievements in her young swimming career so far.
Damien Browne will explain how he motivates himself to push his body and mind in ultimate physical and mental challenges – rowing singlehanded across the Atlantic, and now climbing Seven Summits.
Andy Moran will explain the role of captaincy and the challenges it presents.
Dave Howarth will explain how new skills can be learned and existing skills can be developed.
Colm Tucker will walk the audience through a worked example of how Connacht U18 rugby team won last year’s Interprovincial Championship.
Time permitting, there will be a Questions and Answers session to complete the night.
It promises to be an inspiring event, and all coaches (of all sports), all athletes, and anybody interested in sport is invited.
To register, please email – [email protected]

Creggs RFC produced a professional and clinical display to defeat Castlebar RFC 19-0 and claim the Cawley Cup for the first time in their history on Sunday.
At a wet and windy Crowley Park, the village ensured they made every opportunity count in the 1st half by running in two tries in their only two visits to the Castlebar 22 to take a 12-0 lead into the break.
A third try then stretched their lead early after the restart, and from then on it was a case of their defence holding firm as the Mayo side struggled to break them down.

The win tops off a brilliant 2018 for Creggs who were also crowned Curley Cup champions earlier in the season. They’re also very well placed in the J1A league, sitting six points behind leaders Connemara with a game in hand.
The two sides will meet again on 5th January in J1A.


Connemara have extended their lead at the top of the J1A League after a bonus point win at home to Castlebar on Sunday.
The game was a Round 2 tie refixed from late September, with the hosts coming out on top by 25 points to 7.
Their closest rivals are now Creggs after they leapfrogged Monivea into 2nd place, winning 18-8 in the Saturday evening fixture between the two. Creggs are now a point clear of Monivea and six behind Connemara, but with a game in hand against Galwegians.
In J1B arguably the most historic of the four fixtures took place in Headford where Corrib RFC played their first game under the recently installed floodlights. However visitors and league leaders NUIG RFC were able to spoil the party, winning 33-10 to solidify their standing at the J1B summit. The unbeaten Tuam however remain hot on their heals after they saw off Corinthians 35-10.
Elsewhere Ballinrobe closed the gap on Loughrea in 3rd after a narrow 10-8 victory over the visitors, while Dunmore overcame Ballinasloe 13-3.
Moving to J1C where Corinthians are the new league leaders, beating OLBC in a thriller 31-29. They are level on points with Ballyhaunis who beat Ballina 20-10, but the greater points differential has the Galway side leading the way. Meanwhile Portumna have leapfrogged Oughterard at the bottom after a 36-5 victory.
Lastly there were just the two games in J2. Galwegians moved to the top of the table thanks to a 39-8 win over Claremorris, moving ahead of Sligo who lost 18-8 to Tuam.
For a full list of Club & Community fixtures and results click HERE.

CASTLEBAR R.F.C.castlebar_small


Cloondeash, Castlebar, Co. Mayo


See Hon. Sec.


Cloondeash, Castlebar, Co. Mayo


Jersey: Navy/Sky Blue Shorts: Navy Socks: Navy/Sky Blue


See Hon. Sec.


Michael Hastings, Cloonkeen, Westport Road< Castlebar, Co.Mayo

(M) 086 8261155

E-Mail: [email protected]

Hon. Secretary:

Micahel Tobin, 3 Woodland Park, Kilkenny Cross, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

(M) 087 2616042 (H) 094 9035684

E-mail: [email protected]

Fixtures Sec.:

Shane McElwee, 27 Victoria Place, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

(M) 087 2895909

E-mail: [email protected]

Hon. Treasurer:

Trevor Ardill, Mountgordon, Westport Rd., Castlebar, Co. Mayo

(M) 087 4117787 (H) 094 9022985

E-mail: [email protected]

P.R.O.and Results Coordinator 

Kevin McGing, Cloondeash, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

(M)  085 1742202

E-mail: [email protected]


Paul Coady, 30 Castlegrove, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

(M) 086 8889359

E-amil: [email protected]

Branch Delegates:

Delegate 1:

Joe Rawson, Coarsepark, Castlebar, Co. Mayo,

087 2330726

E-mail: [email protected]

Delegate 2:

Shane McElwee, 27 Victoria Place, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

(M) 087 2895909

E-mail: [email protected]

Youth Delegate:

Keith Finnan, 4 Woodlawn Park, Castlebar, Co.Mayo 

(M) 087 1702406

Mini Delegate:

Gerry Melly, Aughaluskey, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

(M) 087 2030000

E-mail: [email protected]

Child Welfare Officer:

Paul Gannon, Breaffy Rd, Castlebar, Co. Mayo,

(M) 087 2595400

E-mail: [email protected]


Mini rugby in focus: Castlebar RFC

Mini rugby in focus: Buccaneers RFC

Mini rugby in focus: Buccaneers RFC

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