The 2020 Connacht Junior Cup kicked off over the weekend with four preliminary round ties down for decision across the province.
 
The all-Senior affair between Corinthians and Ballina ended in victory for Corinthians, with the home side winning out in a high-scoring affair 39-22. Elsewhere there was a win for Ballyhaunis at home to Galwegians 13-3, Corrib overcame Dunmore 22-13, while the Loughrea vs NUIG fixture was conceded by NUIG.
 
Those results mean the eight fixtures in the Round of 16 are now set in stone, with all the games taking place this Sunday 12th January.
 
2020 CONNACHT JUNIOR CUP

Preliminary Round (Sunday 5th January)
Ballyhaunis 13-3 Galwegians
Corinthians 39-22 Ballina
Corrib 22-13 Dunmore
Loughrea w/o-con NUIG

Round of 16 (Sunday 12th January)
Ballinrobe v Carrick-on-Shannon
Buccaneers v Sligo
Castlebar v Tuam
Corinthians v Ballyhaunis
Loughrea v Connemara
Monivea v Ballinasloe
OLBC v Corrib
Westport v Creggs

By John O’Sullivan

Sligo 19
Corinthians 12

Sligo clinched Connacht Senior Cup final success for the third time in their history with a hard fought victory over Corinthians at the Sportsground.

Three penalties from the boot of Euan Brown, as well as tries from Enda Gavin and Shane O’Hehir accounted for Sligo’s points in a win built upon rock solid defence and clinical attack.

Corinthians, who enjoyed the lions share of possession and territory throughout, registed tries through captain Aaron Broderick and Hiram Wood Hennessy but were powerless to prevent Sligo — whom they lead by ten points in the All Ireland League Division 2B table — from upsetting the odds and claiming a deserved victory.

In an unseasonably dry day, both teams were keen to flex their attacking muscles from the outset and test the oppositions defence.

The Galway based side, with winger Michael O’Reilly prominent with the ball in hand, were in the ascendancy in terms of early possesion and territory but it was Sligo who opened the scoring on the day.

Organised and aggressive line speed — the bedrock upon which Paddy Pearson’s charges won — saw Sligo force a Corinthians knock on in their own 22. When they played the ball after the knock on, they were penalised for being offside. Euan Brown then slotted the kick to make the score 3-0.

Corinthians immediately sought to fight back, but, despite the best efforts of full back Simon Keller, all of their attacks were repelled by the same stubborn Sligo defence. Any try would have to be earned and when the game’s first try did arrive, it took a special piece of play to manufacture it.

A huge break from fly half Mark McDermott saw Corinthians establish field position deep in Sligo territory. A few phases of hard carries then saw the ball recycled wide to O’Reilly and his deft offload found Broderick, the big second row, to touch down. The difficult conversion fell narrowly wide, with the game delicately poised at 6-5 midway through the first half.

The try was Corinthians’ last score of the half, however, as Brown continued his 100% record off the tee with further penalties for Sligo to make the score at the interval 9-5.

The JP Cooney coached Galway side started the second half with the intensity they started the first and, after ten minutes of near constant pressure, scored the try their efforts deserved.

Once again, it required an audacious piece of play to prize Sligo open. Hooker Wood Hennessy’s quickly taken short lineout found it’s way back to him and he opportunistically crossed for a try which Keller, from the most difficult of angles, bisected the posts with.

It proved to be Corinthians last score as Sligo — helped by the energy of winger Callum Goddard and the hunger of lock Ciaran Cassidy in the ball carrying stakes — began to assert themselves.

Full back Enda Gavin, trusting his own pace, raced over for a try in the right hand corner after the hard work of the pack had given Sligo the opportunity to spread the ball wide to their backs in the Corinthians 22. The conversion was wide, but the tide of momentum was now firmly with the 7th placed side in the AIL Division 2B.

With Corinthians desperately looking for a try with only five minutes remaining, Sligo lay in wait on the counter attack.

Winning a turnover just outside the Corinthians 22, the ball was worked to hooker O’Hehir and he escaped the wide defensive coverage to touch down. The conversion was wide, but the seven point lead – with the trademark hard nosed red and yellow clad defence again coming up trumps — was insurmountable and Sligo held on for the win.

Sligo team: 15-9: E.Gavin; C.Goddard; M.Butler, R.Feehily; P.Carter; E.Brown, B.Cunnigham; 8-1(M.Davey, B.West, S.Boyle; R.Holian, C.Cassidy; T.Gormley, S.O’Hehir, M.Keegan.

Corinthians team: 15-9: S.Keller; M.O’Reilly; C.Evans, S.Kilgallon; R.Greene; M.McDermott, R.Murphy; 8-1: R.Murphy, M.O’Brien, J.Campbell; A.Broderick, C.Raftery; C.Hansberry, H.Wood Hennessy, G.Noone

The make-up of this season’s 2019/20 Connacht Senior Cup final is now known.
 
Sligo RFC reached the decider over the weekend after an impressive 31-16 win away to Galwegians, and they’ll now play Corinthians for the right to be crowned Cup winners.
 
Corinthians booked their place back last month after overcoming Cup holders Buccaneers 32-23.
 
Sligo ended an incredible wait of 103 years to win the Connacht Senior Cup back in the 2017/18 season, while Corinthians have won the trophy 33 times in their history.
 
However the Galway side haven’t had much final luck since their last success in 2011, so they’ll be eager to make amends this time around.
 
The final takes place on Sunday 22nd December at The Sportsground.

A special interpro half-time minis rugby took place at The Sportsground last Friday with 6 clubs in all taking part.
 
Kids from Galwegians, Gort, Galway Bay, Oughterard, Corinthians and Tuam played in front of a sell-out crowd during the break in Connacht’s Guinness PRO14 loss to Leinster.
 
Check out some of the best pics below!

Girls aged 10-14 from 9 clubs came together for the ‘Give It A Try’ provincial blitz in conjunction with the IRFU.
 
A brilliant morning at Corinthians RFC which again highlights the growth of girls rugby in Connacht.
 

 

Check out the best pics from yesterday’s U14 Boys Cup Final which saw Galway Corinthians R.F.C. overcome Monivea Rugby Football Club at The Sportsground 17-7.
 

Seven teams from eight clubs have learned their opponents for this year’s Connacht U20 Cup which will be held across the month of April.
 
The U20 Cup will see teams representing Ballina, Ballinrobe, Connemara Corinthians, Creggs, Monivea/Westport and Sligo face off in a knockout series of games with three quarter-finals before two semi-finals and a decider on the Easter weekend.
 
The draw was conducted by two Connacht men who were integral to Ireland U20s Grand Slam win – forwards coach Ambrose Conboy and hooker Dylan Tierney-Martin.
 
Check out the pairings of some intruiging games we’ve got coming up in the weeks ahead!
 

QUARTER-FINALS
Sligo v Ballina
Monivea/Westport v Ballinrobe
Creggs v Connemara

SEMI-FINALS
Sligo or Ballina v Monivea/Westport or Ballinrobe
Creggs or Connemara v Corinthians

Women’s Rugby in Connacht is thriving like never before, and now Connacht Rugby is shining a light on all the great work that has been done in the past and is continuing to take place around the province to promote the female rugby stars of the future.
 
Every week you’ll get to read a bit about every club in Connacht that offers a Girls Rugby programme. You can find out about what they’ve done in the past, how many teams they have, what times they train and who are the people that bring Girls Rugby to life in the club.
 
This week we have Connemara RFC, with text and pics with thanks to Rhoda Browne.
 

Corinthians RFC did not have girls or women’s rugby in the club since the early noughties, however, this all changed when a number of girls expressed an interest in playing rugby with the club again. This resulted in a U13’s team being started again for the 2015/2016 season. Our first training season began with 4 girls on a September night in 2015 and we had a very enjoyable first season building the team and competing in the U13 Connacht blitzes and learning the game.
 
The girls have done us proud along the way with winning the Connacht U13 cup in 2017 and winning the U15 Connacht Plate in 2018 which was a massive achievement for a team that was so new to the game. Winning the Connacht Plate has helped to increase the profile of the girls game and we are now aiming to build on this to help develop the girl’s game further within the club.
 
Since we started, Girls Rugby has gone from strength to strength in Corinthians and with the change in age grades we now have both U14’s and U16’s Girls teams within the club. So far this season, the teams have competed in the new Winter series in 2018 which was set up for the U14’s and the U14 Cup competition in the New Year and the U16’s have competed in both the U16 League and Cup competitions.
 
2018 has also seen the start-up of the girls mini section within the club with a number of blitzes being held in Corinthians this season to promote the mini girls game. This has been popular with our younger players and will serve in strengthening the girls game throughout the club.
 

We are extremely lucky to have players who love playing rugby and who also bring their skills from other sports such as football and camogie. Our team members show an amazing amount of dedication in travelling to training and matches coming from the four corners of the county. Our girls have built amazing friendships through being part of girls rugby in Corinthians over the past number of years, that they would not have built otherwise, if girls rugby had not been started in the club again.
 
We are as always, extending the invitation to both old and new players to join us and would be thrilled if we could increase our numbers even further. New girls are extremely welcome and are invited to come and meet our existing players and to try out a training session, or even come and have a look during a session to see if it is something that they would enjoy.
 
New players do not need to have played rugby before and the emphasis is always on enjoying the game of rugby, competing and playing safe rugby and enjoying being part of a girls rugby team.
 
The coaches and management for the youths this season consist of Niall Duffy, Kieran Browne, Gerry Geraghty, Yvonne Comer who is a former Irish International and Corinthian Senior Women’s Player, Nyree Hill who is a former Corinthian Senior Women’s player and Rhoda Browne. Johnathon Kay is responsible for the minis coaching team.
 
Training for the youths teams during the season is from 7pm on Monday Evenings and training for the Minis is from 10am on Saturday Mornings at Corinthian Park, Cloonacauneen, Tuam Road, Galway. For further information email: [email protected]

The induction of Mikey Kerin into the Association of Referees Connacht Branch (ARCB) has been named as the second winner of the Portwest / Connacht Rugby Moment of the Season Award
 
Mikey is a regular visitor to the inclusion rugby mornings in Corinthians RFC every Saturday. While he is a keen player himself, in the past few years he has turned his attention to becoming the man in the middle.
 
To the surprise of Mikey in early December, he received a visit from the ARCB Vice President Jason Craughwell who announced to the attendees of Mikey’s membership to the ARCB in light of his good work.
 
There Mikey was presented with his official ARCB referee jersey, his own book with red and yellow cards, and the all-important whistle. He was then able to put it to good use when he refereed the tag rugby game amongst the inclusion rugby players that morning.
 

That moment has since been chosen by the selection committee as their favourite Club & Community moment of the past few months, after it was initially nominated for the award last week.
 
As a result Corinthians, which hosts the inclusion rugby mornings, will receive €200 worth of rugby equipment with thanks to Portwest.
 
The events of that morning will now become the second nominee for the overall Rugby Moment of the Season Award, which will be named at the Connacht Rugby Awards Ball in April. The first nominee is Beibhinn Parsons’ Ireland debut at the age of just 16 (an Irish record), while the third nominee will be chosen in March.

Last November Connacht Rugby hosted the first Connacht Women’s Recognition Evening, and now we’re taking it to the next step.
 
“Play. Meet. Learn.” is an occasion for women’s players and volunteers past and present to come together for game of touch rugby, a post-match catch-up over some food, and learn about some of the opportunities women can avail of if they wish to become active in the sport.
 

 
The day begins at 12pm with an optional game of touch rugby for all past and present players. Following the game lunch will be available in the Clubhouse while a number of Connacht Rugby staff will be on hand to provide information on those who wish to get re-involved with the sport, whether it be coaching, refereeing, welfare and more.
 
Everyone attending will then get to watch the Corinthians’ men as they take on Skerries in their All-Ireland League Division 2B clash (k/o 2.30pm). Then to top it off the Clubhouse will be showing the Italy v Ireland Women’s Six Nations tie (k/o 5.30pm).
 
If you wish to attend fill out the registration form below before Sunday 17th February, or if you require more info email Yvonne Comer at [email protected].
 

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