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
“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.

Last Saturday saw Claremorris Colts host Creggs RFC in a Silent Sidelines mini blitz at the Convent pitches.
With clapping and applause for good play the only distraction, the young players could focus on playing and enjoying their matches and their reactions highlighted the benefits of the initiative:
“It was good cos the parents couldn’t say anything, there was more chat from the players, it was different, good different!”
“We could hear each other which was good, sometimes it’s hard to hear each other with the shouting”
“It was a good match, very challenging, they’re a good team – there was no shouting so we were talking to each other… it was a bit weird but easier”
Speaking about the activities, Chairperson of Spirit in Connacht, Kevin O’Malley said: “We’re delighted with the way the blitz has turned out, talking to parents and coaches on the sidelines it’s clear that, though the majority found it unusual, they embraced the concept and the reactions from the players says it all.”
“This season we have embarked on a number of initiatives to raise awareness of the values of rugby and this Silent Sidelines blitz helps us to highlight two of the most fundamental core values, respect and fun, and both were evident in abundance today!”


Sligo RFC has become the latest club to adopt the Rugby For Children (RFC) coaching model.
The programme has energised the mini rugby experience with players constantly active in a rotation of fun, developmental and skills activities.
Coach Development Officer Gavin Foley led the workshop for coaches of U7 to U12 teams, where they could see the GAME Box, SKILL Box and FUN Box in action.
Game Box Small Sided Games which avoids bigger numbers of kids with no space and less touches on the ball
Fun Box Allows the players to be less focused with more fun.
Skills Box This allows coaches to focus on key skills with more outcome eg catch/throw tackle tech.
This format caters towards children’s needs of variety and changing environments while providing skills development in both game and reduced activities.
Credit must go to Phelim O’Connor and David Gerrity of Sligo RFC for facilitating the workshop.
Phelim O’Connor says:

“The framework helps coaches to maximize game time – and also helps to remind that there needs to be a balance of fun activities and skills with small sided games throughout every session. We’ve used the format at U11 now for a number of weeks and it’s been working really well. The kids love it, and it has actually helped manage our increasing numbers. With this week’s session it will be great to see the new standard used for all our mini age groups. I can’t see us ever reverting to the standard drills which we used over the years.”
Gavin Foley added:

“The level of activity children are experiencing in these sessions speaks volumes. We set out to create a fun experience for children , while supporting the challenges coaches have in time constraints and coaching resources. In clubs who have adopted the programme we are already seeing more skill repetition and smiles on faces.”

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!

Connacht Rugby are delighted to announce the Player/Club Ambassador Programme for the 2019/20 season.
This programme involves each club in Connacht being paired with two pro or academy players who will act as their ambassadors for the remainder of the campaign. Over the coming months these players will be made available to the clubs for a number of visits, with the club deciding how best to utilise their skills and expertise for those visits.
This is the third year of the Player Ambassador Programme and its aim is to build on the already strong relationships that exist between the playing squad and grassroots rugby in the province. During the pre-season the squad held a club visit to Connemara RFC with further club visits planned for later in the season.
Check out below who your club will be paired with for the season ahead:
An Ghaeltacht Finlay Bealham, Conor Fitzgerald & Colm De Buitlear
Ballina Eoin McKeon & Conor Dean
Ballinasloe Joe Maksymiw & Tiernan O’Halloran
Ballinrobe Quinn Roux & Niyi Adeolokun
Ballyhaunis Darragh Leader & Colm Reilly
Buccaneers Colby Fainga’a & John Porch
Carrick-on-Shannon Shane Delahunt & Cillian Gallagher
Castlebar Denis Buckley & David Horwitz
Claremorris Seán O’Brien (pro) & Seán O’Brien (acad)
Connemara Paddy McAllister & Luke Carty
Corinthians Eoghan Masterson & Hugh Lane
Corrib Gavin Thornbury & Peter Robb
Creggs Stephen Fitzgerald & Mikey Wilson
Dunmore Matthew Burke & Conor Kenny
Galway Bay Jack Carty & Dylan Tierney-Martin
Galwegians Ultan Dillane & Kyle Godwin
Gort Dominic Robertson-McCoy & Angus Lloyd
Loughrea Matt Healy & Jonny Murphy
Monivea Tom Farrell & Jordan Duggan
NUIG Dave Heffernan & Rory Burke
Our Lady’s Boys Club Bundee Aki & Sean Masterson
Oughterard Tom Daly & Robin Copeland
Portumna Kieran Marmion & Niall Murray
Sligo Caolin Blade & Paul Boyle
Tuam Jarrad Butler & Stephen Kerins
Westport Tom McCartney & Shane Jennings

Connacht Rugby and Galway City Council are delighted to announce the appointment of Craig Hansberry as Regional Development Officer (Galway City) for Connacht Rugby.
Hansberry is originally from Killererin outside Tuam, Co. Galway and was most recently a Connacht Club & Community Rugby Officer. He is also a regular rugby player for Corinthians RFC.
This new RDO role will see Hansberry work alongside Galway City Council to provide rugby coaching and sessions to primary and secondary schools and clubs across Galway City.
Joe Gorham, Head of Domestic Rugby at Connacht Rugby says:
“The continued development of rugby in Galway City is a key objective in the Club & Community Strategic Plan. We are delighted to welcome Craig to the team after his excellent work as a CCRO and look forward to seeing more rugby balls in the hands of as many students and players as possible in the months and years ahead. We’re also delighted to work in conjunction with Galway City Council to make this possible”
Gary McMahon, Head of Corporate Services & Community at Galway City Council says:
“Galway City Council is committed to the development of increased participation in sport and active recreation across the range of communities, schools and clubs in the city. We look forward to working closely with Connacht Rugby and with Craig in particular to enhance and deepen the participation in rugby at grassroots level. Go n’éirí leis an obair!”
To contact Craig regarding a visit to a school or club, follow him on his Facebook page at or email [email protected]

Parents in Sport Week 2019 kicked off on Monday and Connacht Rugby are celebrating it with a unique initiative to help shape sideline behaviour.
Adapted from John O’Sullivan’s Changing the Game Project The event will see clubs distribute flyers and stickers at U14 matches across the province.
This year we are asking those involved in youth rugby to Know Your Role – a simple yet powerful message that we believe will improve touchline behaviour towards players, coaches and referees, thus improving the quality of the experience for young people!
Keep an eye out at your local club at weekend for this innovative experience as we strive to create a child-centred environment for all our young athletes.
Know Your Role has been adapted with kind permission from John O’Sullivan’s Changing the Game Project, for more information visit:
For more information on Parents in Sport Week visit the CPSU’s website:

The Connacht Rugby Governance & Nominations Committee are inviting applications for the role of Secretary of the Mini Rugby Committee.
Role and Purpose

• Ensure information is cascaded throughout Mini Rugby in Connacht.
• Prepare agendas in consultation with the Chair and the C&C Department.
• Minute meetings and circulate the draft minutes to all Mini clubs, Committee Members & CCRC.
• To circulate agendas and minutes of monthly and End of Year Meetings.
• Report on strategic & operational performance of the Mini Boys & Girls Rugby Committee to the Age Grade Committee.
• Support the Chair to ensure the Mini Rugby game is progressing towards achieving Connacht Rugby’s Plan on a Page & IRFU strategic objectives relating to the development of Girls & Boys Mini Rugby.
• Support the Chair to ensure the Mini Rugby committee and any of its sub committees are operating effectively and to best practice.
• Develop and enhance the relationship between the Clubs and Schools.
• Report on the performance of the Mini Rugby Committee verses its key performance indicators (KPI’s) on a monthly & annual basis.
• Ensure all communication with external bodies including the IRFU is consistent with the policies set out by the Board of Connacht Rugby and is approved by the CCRC.
Time Requirements
• Attendance at all Mini Rugby Committee meetings which shall meet at least 4 times per Season.
• Attendance at all Age Grade Committee meeting as they arise.
• Attendance the Bi-Monthly Club & Community Rugby Forum meetings when the Chair of Mini is unable to attend.
The Secretary Mini Rugby Committee shall have the relevant experience and demonstrates a number of the key competencies listed below:
• Communications
• Vision
• Leadership
• Strategic Planning
• Project management
• Organisational change management
• Negotiation
Term of Office is for an initial three-year period with the opportunity to seek a second term of three years based on terms & conditions set out by Connacht Rugby’s Governance & Nominations Committee.

Applicants should apply to [email protected] before the closing date of Friday 23rd August.

Note: – This is a voluntary role and it will not be remunerated.

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.


Buccaneers RFC this week held its annual primary school contact rugby blitz on a day that presented four seasons in one. The excellently presented facilities served as a great backdrop for a fantastic morning of rugby where 250+ players got to grips with rugby, many of which in their first ever competition.
The blitz is run on a non competitive nature of and is a culmination of schools visits and training run by Buccaneers’ Charlie Couper.
Boys and Girls from 4th 5th and 6th class have been hard at work preparing and learning the skills of the game with a concentration on tackling, running, offloading and passing.
Charlie Couper Buccaneers says: “Firstly a huge thank you goes to teachers and players for attending today and doing so well as well the club volunteers who helped with refereeing duties. I really look forward to seeing many of these boys and girls playing here next year as so many of them have taken to the game so quickly. The high standard every year is great to see. The purpose of this blitz is to give as many children as possible their first taste of playing rugby and coach them in the important skills to help them play”.
Cornafulla NS, Ballbay NS, Coosan NS, Baylin NS, Tubberclair NS and An Grianan NS have been great supporters of this project and Charlie hopes to grow the group of schools even further next year.
East Connacht CDO Conor Galvin says: “I have been lucky enough to attend a lot of these blitzes over the years and they go from strength to strength. The players are really enjoying themselves out there and its always great to see how well the new players adapt to contact rugby. Charlie does an outstanding job working with so many new players and I’m looking forward to seeing these boys and girls continue to play in September here in Buccaneers”.


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