A sun-drenched Loughrea played host to ‘Mum & Me Tag’ this week, with over 50 women and children taking part in the event. 

Mum and Me Tag is a Connacht Rugby Initiative which encourages women to play tag rugby in non-competitive blitzes in the local rugby club alongside their daughters at Mini Rugby level. This offers the opportunity for Mums (Guardians) and their daughters to come together through the game of Tag Rugby and be part of the game their daughter loves!

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.

Connacht Rugby are delighted to announce that following an audit of facilities around the province, a number of defibrillators have been provided to clubs free of charge.
In total 10 defibrillators and 11 outside cabinets have been delivered to clubs over the past few weeks. The results of this programme will mean that every rugby club in Connacht will have access to a defibrillator on-site.
Defibrillators can be used to revive someone suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest, and have become a vital tool in helping someone in those crucial few moments after an incident may occur.
All clubs who received the defibrillators will now be arranging training for their club members and those in the local community.
Joe Gorham, Head of Rugby Development at Connacht Rugby says:
“We are delighted to all clubs in Connacht are now equipped with a defibrillator thanks to this initiative. Connacht Rugby are all about promoting a healthy, enjoyable lifestyle through the game of rugby, but unfortunately we are still all aware of the need for defibrillators in our community. This programme significantly reduces the risk of someone not having access to vital equipment if such a terrible incident was ever to occur. We thank Hayes First Aid for their help in this initiative, as well as the Board of Connacht Rugby for their support and encouragement on the proposal. We look forward to continuing to work with our clubs & schools in promoting that healthy lifestyle in our community.”
The clubs that have received a defibrillator on behalf of Connacht Rugby are:
Loughrea RFC, Portumna RFC, Oughterard RFC, Galway Bay RFC, Monivea RFC, Ballina RFC, Carrick On Shannon RFC, Dunmore RFC, OLBC RFC and Claremorris RFC
Ballyhaunis RFC have also been provided with an outdoor heated cabinet, having already purchased a defibrillator through their own fundraising efforts.

Creggs and Castlebar will meet in the Bank of Ireland Cawley Cup final after they won their respective semi-finals this past weekend.


Creggs — who had tries from Brian Donoghue, Mark Purcell and Brian Diffley, as well two Shane Purcell penalties to thank — edged Connemara 28-27 in a thrilling encounter at the Green.


Castlebar, meanwhile, defeated Westport 6-3 in an all Mayo encounter at Carrowholly. The away team progressed thanks to two Stephen Rogan penalties.


Elsewhere, Buccaneers 2nd XV lead the Bank of Ireland Connacht J1A League after three rounds of fixtures.


The table is compact, however, and the gap between the leaders — who have registered ten match points — and fifth-placed Castlebar stands at only four points.


Creggs are placed second, with Westport and Connemara third and fourth respectively.


Sligo’s 2nd XV, Tuam, and Monivea sit in sixth, seventh, and eighth in the standings.


In the Bank of Ireland J1B league, Ballinrobe and NUIG share top spot on 14 points with both sides boasting a 100% winning record after three rounds of fixtures.


Corrib, Corinthians 2nd XV, and Dunmore find themselves placed fourth, fifth, and sixth.


Ballina 2nd XV, Galwegians 2nd XV, and Loughrea complete the standings.


Ballyhaunis and Ballinasloe lead the way in the Bank of Ireland J1C league, with each collecting ten points after two rounds of fixtures.


Carrick on Shannon, Corinthians 3rd XV, and OLBC rank third, fourth and fifth, with Carrick and Corinthians both holding a game in hand.


Creggs 2nd XV and Tuam 2nd XV complete the standing in sixth and seventh place.


Meanwhile, in the Bank of Ireland J2 league, Galwegians 3rd XV are in top spot with eight points after two wins from their opening two rounds of fixtures.


Just behind them are Claremorris — who also boast a 100% winning record — while Westport 2nd XV, Oughterard and Loughrea 2nd XV find themselves third, fourth, and fifth respectively.


NUIG 2nd XV, Gort, and Sligo 3rd XV are placed sixth, seventh, and eighth, while Ballinrobe 2nd XV and Portumna complete the standings in ninth and tenth place.

Kieran Keane and his players were out in the community yesterday morning on a visit to Ballinasloe. Players gave a coaching masterclass in Garbally College lead by former pupils Tiernan O’Halloran and Peter Claffey.


We are delighted to announce the launch of the Connacht Rugby Club Ambassador Programme.

The programme involves at least two professional players being designated to each of the 27 clubs throughout the province for the 2017/18 season.

Each ambassador will visit their club for a range of specialist coaching sessions and seminars throughout the season depending on the needs of each individual club. Players have been assigned to clubs taking into account previous playing or coaching experience in the area.

To celebrate the initiative, two representatives from each of the 27 clubs in Connacht will attend tomorrow’s European Challenge Cup game against Worcester in the Sportsground. Before and after the game, the club representatives will have the opportunity to meet with players and enjoy Connacht’s first home European fixture of the season.

Commenting on the launch, Joe Gorham, Head of Club and Community at Connacht Rugby, said: “We are delighted to be announcing this initiative. The core purpose of our Grassroots to Green Shirts vision is to inspire the community through rugby success. This initiative will strengthen the link between the individual clubs and the professional players.

“Clubs will have the opportunity to lean on the professional experience of players and the programme is a great opportunity for professional player development. Community is central to everything we do in Connacht and this programme is further example of that.”

For more information on our Ambassador Programme, please email [email protected].

The Rugby Players Ireland Awards took place on Wednesday evening with Connacht players Ronan Loughney and Jake Heenan both honoured on the night.

Ronan, a member of the Rugby Players Ireland Executive Board, was awarded the Medal for Excellence, which rewards on-field effort combined with off-field commitment to the game. The Galway man will finish with Connacht Rugby this summer after 12 seasons as a professional player. He was a member of the first academy squad assembled in the province and went on to play 191 games across the PRO12 and Europe competitions.

The Contribution to Irish Society award was presented to both Heenan and Hannah Tyrrell in recognition of their work in their respective communities.  After four years at Connacht, Jake continues to set an example on and off the pitch as a member of the senior squad. This season, he bravely told his story of facing adversity and the importance of talking to people in a nationwide awareness campaign known as Tackle Your Feelings with Rugby Players Ireland.

Jake gives a lot of his time supporting local charities and is closely involved as a volunteer with Dóchas don Óige – a provider of services for young people in the Galway city area.

2017 Rugby Players Ireland Awards – Winners

Women’s 7s Player of the Year – Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe
Medal for Excellence – Ronan Loughney
Moment of the Year – ‘One Day in Chicago’ – Ireland defeat New Zealand at Soldier Field
Supporters’ Player of the Year – Tadhg Furlong
Women’s XVs Player of the Year – Lindsay Peat
Contribution to Irish Society – Jake Heenan & Hannah Tyrrell
Try of the Year – Robbie Henshaw (v New Zealand, at Soldier Field, Chicago)
Hall of Fame – Geordan Murphy
Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year – Garry Ringrose
Players’ Player of the Year – Conor Murray

To find out more about Rugby Players Ireland, visit their website at rugbyplayersireland.ie.

Connacht captain John Muldoon brought the team back to his hometown on Thursday afternoon for an assembly and open training session at his former school, Portumna Community School, with members of Portumna RFC also there to greet the squad.

The entire student body, along with representatives of Portumna RFC and invited guests, packed into the school gym with tributes and presentations then made to Muldoon and the squad.

Young pupils from Gortanumera National School and St. Brendan’s National School also attended the assembly.

School Principal Derry Long, Deputy Principal James Coughlan, Portumna RFC President Mark Scannell and Anne Rabbitte TD spoke of their admiration for Connacht’s incredible rise to become PRO12 champions last season.

Connacht captain Muldoon and Head Coach Pat Lam then took to the podium and expressed their appreciation of the warm welcome provided by the community before speaking to the students about the importance of a positive attitude.

A number of presentations were then made to Muldoon as he became the first person to be awarded Honorary Life Membership of Portumna RFC.

Following the assembly, the squad had an open training session on the school’s pitch.

As Portumna RFC was dormant in Muldoon’s early years, he began playing rugby in the Community School and won a Connacht Schools Junior Cup medal in 1997.

Portumna RFC was reformed in 2002 and have strengthened year on year since. The U13 Girls team created history last year as they captured the club’s first ever Connacht title.

President Mark Scannell, who also coaches at the club, spoke of the positive impact that Connacht Rugby’s success has had on the club.

“It’s definitely turning people’s heads,” said Scannell. “There are more kids coming down and playing with us and getting more into rugby. There used to be Munster and Leinster jerseys around the place but they’re all Connacht jerseys now.”

The club fields an adult men’s team and a thriving underage section with boys and girls teams ranging from Under-7s to Under-15s.

Young players from the surrounding parishes of Tynagh, Loughrea, Mullagh, Woodford, Leitrim, Killimor and Lorrha have also joined Portumna RFC.

While hurling is the most popular sport in the area, rugby continues to grow and Scannell hopes that Thursday’s event will lead to even more young players joining the club.

“We always need more players and guys like John Muldoon coming out here to this event will give us a bounce and, hopefully, make more kids want to come play with us.

“John is an absolute legend of Connacht Rugby after 15 years with the club and he is a pure gentleman.

“Connacht certainly give us a bounce and many of the parents haven’t played the game but they would be avid fans, and that is down to Connacht.”

For more information on Portumna RFC you can view their Facebook page here.

Want to get involved with Portumna RFC? Call Mark on 087 6434230.


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