By John O’Sullivan

 

The Connacht Rugby For The Love of The Club event successfully raised over €30,000 for Club and Community rugby in the province. 

 

The virtual run and or walk took place between March 17th and March 24th and invited participants to pay a registration fee of €10, with the option to donate further money. All of the money raised went to the club of the runner or walker’s choice or, for the unaffiliated, was split evenly between the 26 affiliate clubs of Connacht. 

 

Participants took part in 11 countries and 25 Irish counties, with over 2,000 people putting on their running shoes in support of Rugby in Connacht and logging the time it took them to complete their run or walk on the website, my run results. 

 

Joe Gorham, Domestic Rugby Manager at Connacht Rugby, thanked all participants and club volunteers who organised their respective clubs’ social media campaigns and said the event showed the important role local rugby clubs play within their communities.

 

“The Virtual Run “For the Love of the Club” event has been a tremendous success for the Rugby club’s in Connacht. It has generated a huge interest not just province-wide but indeed worldwide,” he said. 

 

“The fun and enjoyment harnessed by the event within our Clubs has been a joy to behold, however, its greatest achievement has been the re-energising of our Clubs within their respective communities. A huge Thank you to all participants from all at Connacht Club & Community. Your entry fee & donations will make a massive difference to your local rugby club in these unprecedented times.”

 

Bank of Ireland, Connacht Rugby’s partners, sponsored €5,000 worth of Rhino Rugby equipment to be awarded to the club whose social media campaigns went the extra mile and the winner is to be announced in due course. 

 

Andy Friend, head coach of the Connacht men’s senior team, also offered his services for a virtual training session with the club whose participants uploaded the funniest and most engaging videos or photos to social media.

By John O’Sullivan 

 

Connacht Rugby and Bank of Ireland are pleased to announce the launch of For The Love of the Club fundraising initiative this coming St Patrick’s Day, March 17th, and will last for one week until March 24th.

 

For the Love of the Club is a virtual 5K or 10K fundraising walk or run where participants can register to www.myrunresults.com. The entry fee is €10 and all of the money raised will go to the Connacht club of choice of any of the runners or walkers. If you have no direct link to a club your money will go into a central account and be redistributed to all our great clubs within Connacht.

 

We welcome all to participate, from keen runners to casual walkers. It’s all about getting reconnected and active again and whether you’re at home in Carrick On Shannon or in your home from home in Melbourne, Boston, Toronto or Singapore you can be part of your club and the Connacht Rugby community again in these challenging times.

 

Connacht Rugby’s head of rugby development, Joe Gorham, says that the fundraiser could provide a much needed financial boost to the clubs, especially in the current climate of restrictions. 

 

“Clubs are the backbone of our Rugby community in Connacht,” he said. 

 

“The pandemic has made it increasingly difficult for clubs to access funding streams and through this event Club & Community are delighted to contribute in a small way to assisting our Clubs in these difficult times. Collaboration at its best”.

 

Bank of Ireland, Connacht Rugby’s community partner, will provide 5,000 worth of Rhino Rugby equipment to the club that goes the extra mile. 

 

Interested parties can sign up for the Love of The Club virtual run/walk by clicking on the following link: https://www.myrunresults.com/events/for_the_love_of_the_club/4052/details

 

Connacht Rugby asks all participants to adhere to complete their walk or run within the current government guidelines and their mandated 5K zone and to not gather in large groups in public areas and instead partake individually. 

A 70 cent administration charge will be applied to all entrants’ €10 entry fees

By John O’Sullivan 

 

Connacht Rugby fully supports and endorses the 20×20 programme. 

 

 

20×20 was founded and developed by the creative agency Along Came A Spider in 2018. It aims to highlight the range and breadth of Irish females involved in sport and sets out to forge a tangible cultural shift in the perception of women’s sport so that it will be seen as something strong, valuable, and worth celebrating. 

 

The campaign calls on the people of Ireland and all those involved in Irish sport and physical activity to get behind female sport in a concerted effort to increase media coverage, boost attendances, and ultimately, grow participation in female sport and physical activity by 20% by the end of 2020. 

 

The 20×20 movement has made a telling difference since its launch. Research from Nielsen Sports found that 59% of Irish people believe that the media should do more to promote female sport, with 57% wanting more equality in female and male sporting role models in media. In addition, 63% of people would like to see Ireland’s sportswomen become national heroes in the same way as our sportsmen. In terms of online and print media, the coverage of women’s sport has grown by 50% in the last two years.

 

Connacht Rugby’s Domestic Rugby Manager Joe Gorham has encouraged all clubs in the province to sign the 20×20 charter, which will copperfasten the commitment to equality for girls and women in sport in their areas. The initiative syncs with Connacht’s values of inclusivity and participation.

 

The 20×20 Movement perfectly aligns itself to Connacht Rugby’s recently launched “Women of The West” 2023 strategy where “Integration not Segregation” is our primary objective for the female game in Connacht.

 

The female game in Connacht has witnessed unprecedented growth over the past couple of seasons with 21 Clubs now catering for the female game. The growth in Min & Youth girls rugby will stand hugely to the province in the years to come. We, at Connacht Club & Community, sincerely hope to see the 20×20 flag flying proudly in our 21 clubs in the near future,” he said.  

 

The 20×20 founder, Sarah Colgan, says that the support of Connacht Rugby, as one of Ireland’s most recognisable sporting brands, is a huge boost for the initiative. 

 

“It’s absolutely huge,” Colgan said of Connacht’s support of the 20×20 programme. 

 

“A name and a brand that is so well established and ingrained in Irish sport like Connacht Rugby is massive(in supporting 20×20). It’s so important because it’s covering the grassroots level and it’s covering the higher levels of professionalism. It’s key because it’s bringing along both men and women. 20×20 has never been just ‘women for women’, it’s always been all of society for all of society.”

For more information and to sign the club charter please visit www.20×20.ie

Connacht Rugby and the IRFU are delighted to announce Joe Gorham as the new Domestic Rugby Manager. He will head up the area of Club & Community for the province.

Joe replaces Eric Elwood who, after two years in the role, was recently appointed Academy Manager.

Before taking up the role at the Sportsground, Joe was employed as the Galway GAA Commercial Manager and prior to that, worked in the banking sector for over 30 years.

He has a long history of involvement with Connacht Rugby at all levels of the game. Joe represented Connacht Rugby and played with Connemara, Corinthians, Ballina and Ballinrobe RFC throughout his playing career.

Joe went on to coach Corinthians RFC at underage level before managing the Connacht Under-18’s and the Irish U-18’s sides during a period that saw the emergence of both Ronan Loughney and John Muldoon.

Joe also had a deep involvement in GAA over the years representing Galway, Mayo and Sligo at Senior Intercounty level and was a key member of the Galway Football Management Team.

Commenting on the new appointment, CEO Willie Ruane said:

“We are delighted to welcome Joe to Connacht Rugby. He has had a deep involvement with rugby across many different levels and brings with him an understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the club and community game within the province.

“I have no doubt that he will build on the great work that Eric and the wider Club & Community team have already delivered.”

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