Following the success of last year’s event, ‘Gain in the Game’ is back for 2020.
 
Gain in the Game is an opportunity for teenage female rugby players, and their parents, to gather together for one informative day that will help the players improve both on and off the field.
 

 
It all takes place on from 10am-3.30pm on Saturday 29th February at the Sportsground with four speakers. Connacht Rugby physiotherapist Rachel Wyer, Connacht Academy nutritionist Sophie Conroy, Personal Development Officer Aidan O’Flynn, and former Irish internationsl Alison Miller.
 
Each speaker will share his or her knowledge in their area of expertise, all with the aim of empowering the players and parents.
 
Registration is FREE, all you have to do is fill out the form below and we’ll see you there.
 

Irish Rugby’s Give It A Try programme is set to expand in 2020
 
The initiative has grown from strength to strength in recent seasons with a 65% increase in participating clubs last year. Over 2,000 girls with no previous experience in rugby have taken part in the 8-week programme in the last two years.
 
This year Give It A Try will be open to girls aged 8-10 for the first time. The programme is designed to kick start the participation of girls up the age of 14 in clubs and boost existing playing numbers by attracting new players with a fun introduction to the sport.
 
Clubs are now invited to register for the 2020 Give It A Try programme. Deadline for receipt of applications is 7 February 2020.
 
Download the Give It A Try Club Information Guide
 
Download the application form here
 
“Give It A Try is helping to make rugby clubs more sustainable across the four provinces,” Women’s Development Manager Amanda Greensmith told IrishRugby.ie.
 
“These young girls are excited to get involved in rugby. Clubs are reporting a welcome boost in membership subscriptions but we’re also seeing new teams popping up and a fresh influx of volunteers. The players are so enthusiastic about rugby that more parents are becoming active in the club for the first time,” she said.
 
Creggs are one of the clubs who successfully ran the programme in 2019. Their Head of Girls’ Rugby Dave Purcell says the resources available through the programme were of particular use.
 
“We had a week-by-week guide and it was of great benefit to the club in boosting the number of girls playing rugby. It gave them a good grasp of the basics of the game in a very fun environment. The added bonus for us as a club was that it enticed new coaches into the club which was very welcome.”
 
Below is a video case study from Corrib RFC of their participation in the 2019 programme.
 

Trials for the Connacht U18 Girls team for 2019 will take place early next month with three dates and locations now confirmed.
 
The first trial will take place in Ballinasloe RFC on Thursday 2nd May (7pm), with further trials in Tuam RFC on Saturday 4th May (10am) and Ballyhaunis RFC on Monday 6th May (7pm).
 
To register for one of these dates please fill out the below registration form.
 

Give It A Try Summer 2019 is an 8 week programme run in selected clubs where girls aged 10 – 14 can attend and learn how to play rugby in a fun environment.
 
The Give It A Try programme is an ideal way to kick start the participation of girls in your club or to boost existing playing numbers by attracting new young players to the game with a fun introduction to the sport.
 
For more information check out our Give It A Try Information Sheet
 
This year there is a substantial increase in the number of Connacht clubs hosting the programme with a massive locations taking part. These include seven clubs in Galway, three in Mayo and two in Roscommon.
 
For a full list of clubs, dates and registration details CLICK HERE.

On Saturday April 6th a Wellness Workshop will take place at The Sportsground for Female Talent ID and Youth Players.
 
The workshop will cover a range of issues that will be of benefit to young female who wish to further their progress as rugby players. These topics include nutrition, headspace, strength & conditioning and lifestyle balance.
 
Among the speakers is chartered physiotherapist Margaret Fitzgibbon and Connacht Rugby’s Academy Nutritionist and Personal Development Officer Sophie Conroy and Aidan O’Flynn.
 
The event begins with tea and coffees from 10am with the first session getting underway at 10.30am. Two more sessions will then follow before a recap at 2.15pm, while lunch will also be provided.
 
If you wish to attend then fill out the below registration form, and if you have any further queries please contact Connacht Women’s Development Officer Wendy Hickey at [email protected]
 

 

A feast of tag rugby for girl secondary school students is happening in early April when a number of tag blitzes will be held at various venues across the province.
 
In all there will be six blitzes taking place in Westport, Galwegians, Sligo, Ballina, Creggs and Ballinasloe.
 
These blitzes are open to all secondary school girls and begin at 10.30am, finishing by 1pm. Teams will be split into two – a junior squad of 1st-3rd years and a senior squad of TY-6th years.
 
If you are a teacher or principal and would like to register your school for one of the blitzes please fill out the below form. Alternatively if you have any questions you can email our Women’s Development Officer Wendy Hickey at [email protected]
 

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 Gort RFC, with text and pics with thanks to Majella Piggott.
 

Although Girls rugby is in its infancy at Gladiator Rugby it is going from strength to strength. Gort RFC or Gladiator Rugby has had a boys team for nearly 100 years and always had a strong mini representation. The girls traditionally played with the boys until they reached an age where it was no longer feasible.
 
It all came to a head in Sumer where two girls had come to a stage where it was no longer possible to play with the boys. One of these girls had played since she was 5 and the other joined the boys at U10. There was no youth team available in the club. It seemed the only option was for these girls to join another club that had an established girls’ team. The topic was discussed on the side line of a U11 camogie match in August 2015 and it became evident that there were a lot of other girls who would love to try rugby. After seeking guidance from Wendy Hickey Connacht Rugby, it was decided that we needed to persuade the legendary Garrett Piggott to take on the girls as his daughter was one of the instigators.
 

And so, it began in 2015/2016 we had U12 and U10 girls’ teams and numbers were strong. During that time The U12 girls got to play at half time of Ireland Vs Canada game, play the Aviva Blitz, Carton House Blitz and had two trips to the Sportsgrounds for the half time Show. Together with the U10 girls they participated in many regional blitzes. The girls had two great seasons of rugby and fun.
 
However in September 2017 numbers died off due to girls other commitments and in 2017/2018 season we only had 7 U13 girls and 3 U10 girls (who played with the boys). So, when the opportunity arose to participate in the Give It A Try for Girls in Summer 2018, it was embraced and as a result the 2018/2019 season saw numbers increasing and Gladiators girls had the opportunity to field teams and to compete in several blitzes and competitions.
 
Our U14 girls under the command of Garrett Piggott and Fraser Donaldson participated in the U14 Connacht League and Cup.
 

The U10 and U12 train together on a Saturday Morning at 10am at St Colman’s Pk. Training sessions are learning the skills and discipline of Rugby in a fun environment under the guidance of our hardworking coaches Fraser Donaldson, Sean Óg Duffy and Caroline McDevitt.
 
Being on the border of two counties and two provinces we have girls from Galway and Clare and Connacht and Muster. This also opens the gateway to play teams from Munster as some clubs are closer than most of our Connacht competitors. This year the U14 girls played Shannon RFC Limerick and Ennis RFC. Our U10 girls travelled to Richmond RFC Limerick for the first ever Munster U10 all girls blitz. Our U12 girls also got to play in the half time show in the Sportgrounds at one of Connachts matches where lifelong memories were made.
 
Traditionally girl’s rugby was not played at the local secondary school, but through hard work by members of the club, the PE teachers Aoife Lynskey and Brian O’Reilly and the CCRO Dermot Tierney this year saw for the first time Gort Community School partaking in an inter school’s competition. They entered a Junior Girls Rugby Team who played and won their first match last week. 20 girls togged out to make history for the South Galway and North Clare Secondary school.
 

Feedback from the girls and their parents has been positive, the general comment is in relation to the inclusivity of the sport and the great camaraderie experienced among the girls. Some of girls involved with the club also play Camogie, basketball and Gaelic football but fortunately training and matches do not clash because the various sports clubs try and work together realising the benefit one sport has to another. However, there are times after rugby matches you have girls changing to go to another match in another sport. This is also testament to the dedication shown by the girls.
 
As the season draws to a close we look forward to participating in the Give it a try programme again and keeping the passion quite evident among the girls alive with the prospect of more girls giving it a go. But of course, we would not be where we are today without the Trojan work of Majella Piggott and with her massive efforts recruiting girls and coaches, we have a strong and vibrant group of enthusiastic girls. Watch this space for future provincial and international rugby stars!!!
 

 

History will be made at The Sportsground on Sunday when the first ever triple header of Girls Youth Cup finals will be held at the home of Connacht Rugby.
 
In previous years the Girls Cup competitions were undertaken at U15 and U18 level. Now, with the continuing increase in participation among girls in the province, a brand new U14 Cup has been established under the Youth Cup banner with the U15 level moving up to U16. The result is a festival of Girls Youth rugby happening at the ground this coming Sunday.
 
The action begins at 12pm with the U14 Cup final between Creggs RFC and Connemara RFC. These two clubs are no strangers to each other at adult level, with both sides contesting the 2019 Junior Cup final next month while they both finished in the top two of the J1A League, with Connemara clinching top spot last week. Now it’s the turn of the girls as they will battle it out to become the first ever winners of the U14 Girls Cup.
 
Following that game is the U16 decider which will be contested by Ballinasloe RFC and a combined Portumna RFC / Loughrea RFC team. Ballinasloe will be hoping to go one better than last season when they narrowly lost to Ballina in the U15 final, and this time they face a Portumna/Loughrea side who have seen off the likes of Sligo and Corinthians en route to today’s decider.
 
Last but certainly not least is the U18 Girls Cup final which is the culmination of a landmark year for Girls Rugby in Connacht at that level. It was only a few months ago that the Connacht U18 Girls clinched their first ever interprovincial title, and the bulk of that squad will go head to head tomorrow when Ballinasloe take on Westport. These two sides will know plenty about each other, not just because of their interpro exploits but also due to their respective league campaigns which was eventually decided in a replay. After both sides finished 10-10 in Ballyhaunis last month, Ballinasloe eventually came out on top in a replay last week winning 35-19 in Tuam. Another cracker can be expected come 4pm tomorrow.
 
Admission costs €10 for Adult, €5 for 12-18 year olds, while Under 12s go free. Please note this is a cash only event and there is no parking available at the ground, however Moneenageisha Car Park will be made available for free to fans.
 
 
CONNACHT GIRLS YOUTH CUP FINALS 2019
1200: Creggs v Connemara – U14 Girls Cup Final
1400: Ballinasloe v Portumna/Loughrea – U16 Girls Cup Final
1600: Ballinasloe v Westport – U18 Girls Cup Final

Registration is now open for those who wish to attend trials for the 2019 Connacht U18 Girls Sevens side.
 
There are two trials scheduled – one on Monday 11th March at Ballyhaunis RFC, and the other the following Wednesday 13th March at Corrib RFC.
 
If you wish to attend please fill out the below registration form.