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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