The brand new Connacht Rugby Summer SkillZone with totalhealth Pharmacy has seen bookings in huge numbers since its initial launch last week.
 
The series, which sees two-hour, one-day camps take place in 10 clubs across Connacht, begins this Friday. Two of those camps, at Galwegians RFC and Creggs RFC, are now completely SOLD OUT with just a handful of spots left in places like Connemara RFC, Ballinasloe RFC and Tuam RFC.
 
In these two hours, children will get to relive the enjoyment of rugby in their community with fellow players their own age, all under the guidance of fully accredited IRFU and Connacht Rugby coaches.
 
Most importantly, these SkillZones will be held in a safe and healthy environment, where the wellbeing of all attendees will be of absolute paramount importance.
 
Connacht Rugby would encourage parents, particularly in Loughrea, Sligo and the Mayo vicinity of Westport, Castlebar and Claremorris, to avail of the opportunity of sending their kids to a Summer SkillZone in advance of the planned reopening of the schools next month.
 
Joe Gorham, Head of Rugby Development at Connacht Rugby, says they have been blown away by the response to the Summer SkillZone series:
 
This has been a summer unlike any other. While there have been some extremely challenging times for everyone associated with rugby in Ireland, I am delighted to see such a positive response to our return to the Connacht communities with the Summer SkillZone series.
 
We are thrilled to see so many events already sell out, but I would also encourage everyone to consider a spot for their sons and daughters in one of our other camps where there is limited availability.
 
The Summer SkillZone is our first step towards a ‘new normal’ and we can’t wait to get it all started. We’d also like to say a particular thank you to our partners totalhealth Pharmacy for their continued support, particularly in these difficult times.”

 
For full details on our Summer SkillZone series, and to book a place, click on the link below.
 
BOOK A SUMMER SKILLZONE SPOT HERE

The IRFU are now in a position to add a ‘Competition Stage’ to their Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs.
 
This is to allow clubs to plan and work towards the start of the 2020/21 season and the playing of rugby matches.
 
September has been given as the month in which rugby matches will be permitted to return for clubs.
 
Given the changing nature of the reopening of society and the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, a specific date will not be issued until further clarity is available and will remain subject to change.
 
The given date will also factor in a minimum window of five weeks permitted for contact training ahead of a return to rugby matches.
 
The Competition Stage is the final stage in the summary roadmap of the IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines. All clubs are currently in the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage, which they must complete before moving to the resumption of training at any level.
 
The IRFU are working toward a modified season for 2020/21. The governing body recognises concerns over travel, safety and expense and this will be reflected in the season’s structure. Clubs should expect that games at the start of the season will be kept local where practicable.
 
Further detail on the structure of the season will also be issued in due course.
 
The IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs are available at https://www.irishrugby.ie/running-your-club/return-to-rugby-for-clubs
 
Speaking about the announcement, Chair of the IRFU Rugby Committee Greg Barrett said:
 
“This is another welcome step in our return to rugby. There is a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes in clubs at present as they put Health & Safety plans in place to manage the risk of COVID-19. This announcement helps give us all something to work towards.
 
“It’s important for rugby players to have competitive sport to look forward to and they deserve to know that our return to rugby guidelines are built around their welfare.
 
“We will provide further clarity on what the 2020/21 season will look like, but what we can say is that the first matches permitted will keep travel to a minimum.
 
“This should help with concerns around travel, but our hope is that this will also serve as an opportunity for the rugby community to support their clubs and help generate some much needed cash-flow.
 
“For now, I would urge clubs to continue to focus on completing the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage of our guidelines and availing of the education & training supports that the IRFU have put in place. That is ultimately what will lead to the resumption of rugby as we know it.”

Connacht Rugby partners, Clubforce, are hosting a Webinar on Wednesday 10th June on the topic of ‘Fundraising in a Virtual World’, something that has become very relevant over the last few months.
 
Clubforce would like to share their wealth of experience and support in this area with all Connacht Clubs. We encourage a member of your club to attend online to gain some invaluable knowledge for future fundraising.
 
Clubforce: Fundraising in a Virtual World Webinar
Date: Wednesday 10th June
Time: 7 PM
Registration link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7314591670880317196
 
“While some clubs have frozen their fundraising activity and are waiting for “things to return to normal”, more and more clubs are recognising that we will have to adjust to a new normal and are accelerating their online fundraising efforts in anticipation of a return to sports participation in the near future. The old reliable ways of fundraising through in-person, cash-based fundraisers have become a thing of the past”.
 
“Clubforce offers clubs the flexibility to handle virtually any fundraising effort with ease online. We provide a range of alternative ways of generating revenue for your club from members and supporters at home and abroad. All fundraising activity is made easier with the Clubforce app, designed to make it easier to raise funds and manage member data from one complete club management system”.
 
In this webinar, Clubforce will look at
– Examples of current Club fundraisers on our system
– Communicating with your members with new fundraisers
– How to utilise the Clubforce App to promote sales

Following yesterday’s statement from the IRFU, Connacht Rugby wishes to reaffirm that the decision to conclude the 2019/20 season applies immediately to all domestic rugby within Connacht Rugby.
 
As is the case with the Men’s and Women’s Energia All-Ireland Leagues, there will be no promotion or relegation in the respective Connacht Rugby Leagues for 2019/20. All teams will remain in the leagues they are currently in for 2020/21.
 
In the respective Cup competitions where the two finalists are known, the cups will be shared with the two teams who have reached the final. In particular, this applies to the Connacht Junior Cup.
 
This also applies to the respective Connacht Schools competitions as there were a number of cups & leagues outstanding.
 
In total 69 leagues and cups were held across Adult, Schools and Youth Rugby. Of those competitions:
25 competitions have been completed with one winner.
15 competitions have ended with shared winners, based on the criteria set out by the IRFU Rugby Committee.
25 competitions have been declared incomplete.
4 competitions are listed as non-competitive.
 
The final status of each competition is listed below. While Connacht Rugby shares in the deep disappointment of the Club & Schools rugby community that the season was unable to conclude, we are fully supportive of the decision by the IRFU to put the physical welfare of our rugby community above all else.
 
We would encourage every member of our Clubs & Schools to continue to adhere to the advice of the HSE and the Irish Government in relation to the current COVID-19 outbreak, particularly with regards to social distancing at all ages.
 
Never before has the sense of community been more important to all of us. Please continue to look out for the vulnerable people within your localities and above, stay safe.
 
CONNACHT RUGBY COMPETITIONS CONCLUSION 2019/20
 
ADULT RUGBY

Women’s League – Westport RFC
Women’s Invitational Plate – Westport RFC 2nd XV
Women’s Invitational Bowl – Ballinasloe RFC
Women’s Cup – Incomplete

Senior League – Sligo RFC
Senior Cup – Sligo RFC
Cawley Cup – Creggs RFC
Curley Cup – Ballinasloe RFC & Corrib RFC shared
Ard na Cregg Cup – Incomplete
Junior Cup – Connemara RFC & Castlebar RFC shared
Junior Plate – Tuam RFC & Westport RFC shared
J1A League – Incomplete (Won by Connemara RFC prior to conclusion)
J1B League – Incomplete
J1C League – Incomplete
J2 League – Portumna RFC & Westport RFC 2nd XV shared
 
SCHOOLS RUGBY

Girls Junior 10s League – Incomplete
Girls Senior 10s League – Incomplete

U14 A League – Incomplete
U14 B League – Athlone CC
U14 C League – Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiaráin
Junior A League – CBS Roscommon
Junior B League – Athlone CC
Junior C League – Gort CS
Senior A League – Sligo Grammar
Senior B League – St. Muredach’s College
Senior C League – Gallen CS

Junior A Cup – CBS Roscommon
Junior B Cup – Athlone CC & Coláiste Éinde shared
Junior C Cup – Enniscrone & Sancta Maria shared
Senior A Cup – Garbally College
Senior B Cup – St. Muredach’s College
Senior C Cup – St. Joseph’s Foxford & Gallen CS shared
 
YOUTH RUGBY

U14 Girls Div. 1 – Non-competitive
U14 Girls Div. 2 – Non-competitive
U16 Girls Div. 1 – Claremorris RFC
U16 Girls Div. 2 – Corinthians RFC & Westport RFC shared
U18 Girls Div. 1 – Ballinasloe RFC & Connemara RFC shared
U18 Girls Div. 2 – Corinthians RFC & Portumna RFC shared

U13 Boys Div. 1 – Non-competitive
U13 Boys Div. 2 – Non-competitive
U14 Boys Div. 1 – Buccaneers RFC (Black team)
U14 Boys Div. 2 – Ballinasloe RFC
U14 Boys Div. 3 – Gort RFC & NUIG RFC shared
U15 Boys Div. 1 – Sligo RFC
U15 Boys Div. 2 – Ballinasloe RFC
U16 Boys Div. 1 – Creggs RFC & Corinthians RFC shared
U16 Boys Div. 2 – Incomplete
U17 Boys Div. 1 – Ballina RFC
U17 Boys Div. 2 – Corrib RFC
U18.5 Boys Div. 1 – Ballinasloe RFC
U18.5 Boys Div. 2 – Corrib RFC & Westport RFC shared

U14 Girls Cup – Ballinasloe RFC & Creggs RFC shared
U14 Girls Plate – Incomplete
U16 Girls Cup – Ballina RFC & Claremorris RFC shared
U16 Girls Plate – Incomplete
U18 Girls Cup – Incomplete
U18 Girls Plate – Incomplete

U13 Boys Cup – Incomplete
U13 Boys Plate – Incomplete
U14 Boys Cup – Incomplete
U14 Boys Plate – Incomplete
U15 Boys Cup – Incomplete
U15 Boys Plate – Incomplete
U16 Boys Cup – Incomplete
U16 Boys Plate – Incomplete
U17 Boys Cup – Incomplete
U17 Boys Plate – Incomplete
U18.5 Boys Cup – Incomplete
U18.5 Boys Plate – Incomplete

Irish Rugby’s 2019/20 domestic season is to conclude with immediate effect due to ongoing concerns over coronavirus.
 
Government action in combatting the virus looks set to continue beyond March 29th. Irish Rugby wants to play its part while giving clubs the chance to put plans in place for the 2020/21 season.
 
The directive applies to all incomplete national and provincial competitions. It was ratified by the IRFU Rugby Committee on Thursday March 19th 2020.
 
Cups will be shared by finalists, where cup competitions have reached the final fixture.
 
There will be no promotion or relegation in any of the five divisions of the Energia Men’s All-Ireland League.
 
The planned expansion of the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League for the 2020/21 season remains in place.
 
There will be no league or cup winners in any competition organised at a national level including the Energia All-Ireland Leagues, Energia Women’s All-Ireland Cup and the Energia Bateman Cup.
 
The Fraser McMullen U20 Cup, the Junior Interprovincial Championships and the round-robin qualifiers for the Energia All-Ireland League will not take place.
 
Speaking about the announcement, IRFU Director of Rugby Development Colin McEntee said:
 
“The decision to end the domestic rugby season for 2019/2020 season has not been made lightly. All options were discussed and the IRFU is satisfied it has arrived at the only equitable solution.
 
These are challenging times for us all and we know clubs will be impacted by this directive, but we will look back at this season as one where we put the physical welfare of our rugby community above all else.
 
Clubs are now in a position to make plans for the 2020/21 season. We look forward to marking the 30th anniversary of the All-Ireland League.”

The Irish Rugby Football Union, together with Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster Rugby have announced the suspension of all Domestic Rugby activity from 6pm this evening 12th March until the 29th March (inclusive), in response to the latest Government advice on the Coronavirus (Covid – 19) pandemic.
 
Future Domestic Rugby activity will be reviewed in line with government advice.
 
Training and Playing
All Rugby activities across Clubs and Schools , from minis to adult rugby, must now cease.
 
Clubhouse Operations:
While Rugby Clubs may wish to continue to operate facilities such as bars and function-rooms they must observe government restrictions in relation to the number of people that may attend indoor (no more than 100 people) and outdoor (no more than 500 people) events.
 
Impact on fixtures of note:
We will work with clubs and schools to rearrange fixtures.
 
Professional Game:
Updates, when available, in relation to the professional game will come from tournament organizers.


 
’Learn to Perform’’ is a one day event brought to you by Connacht Rugby and Official Fuel Partner and Schools Cup Sponsor Top Oil for school players aged 16-18 and their coaches across the province.
 
The content on the day will be delivered by Connacht Rugby senior professional staff members and will be packed with helpful and practical tips to improve your game. Areas covered on the day will be:
 
Strength and Conditioning: Get game ready through strength and conditioning
Nutrition: Its importance to your performance
Match Analysis: Assess your game to gain an edge
Tackle Your Feelings: Deal with pressure on and off the field
 
Venue: Clubhouse Marque at the Sportsground, College Road, Galway
Date: Wednesday Feb 19th
Start Time: 10am sharp
Finish Time: 2pm
 
Lunch will also be included. Please note there is limited availability so the sooner you register in the link below, the better.
 

 

The Top Oil 2020 Connacht Schools Cups continue tomorrow with six week in all across four cups at Senior and Junior level.
 
The sole Senior A Cup comes from Pool 2 where Marist College play host to Sligo Grammar. With both sides already through to the semi-finals, this tie will determine who tops the pool and faces the runners-up in Pool 1.
 
It’s a big day in the Junior A Cup with two games that could have big ramifications on the make-up of the knockout stages. In Pool 1 Garbally College face Sligo Grammar, with Sligo knowing a win sends them into the semi-finals. With Marist (6 points) sitting between Sligo (9) and Garbally (5), they’ll also be eagerly awaiting the result from Garbally before their meeting with the reigning champions next week.
 
Things are slightly less complicated in Pool 2 where Summerhill take on St. Muiredach’s in a winner-takes-all final pool game. The victors will seal a runners-up spot behind CBS Roscommon and are guaranteed a place in the last four.
 
In the B ranks there’s one game at Senior level with St. Pauls Oughterard facing The Bish. Victory for the Bish will send them to the semi-finals while St. Pauls need a win to keep their qualification hopes alive.
 
Lastly there’s two games in the Junior B Cup with Pres Headford taking on Pres Athenry in Pool 1, and St. Geralds Castlebar facing Rice College in Pool 3.
 
TOP OIL 2020 CONNACHT SCHOOLS CUP FIXTURES (WEDNESDAY 5 FEBRUARY)

Junior A Cup
Garbally College v Sligo Grammar
Summerhill v St. Muiredachs
 
Junior B Cup
Presentation Headford v Presentation Athenry
St. Geralds Castlebar v Rice College
 
TOP OIL 2020 CONNACHT SCHOOLS CUP FIXTURES (THURSDAY 6 FEBRUARY)

Senior B Cup
St. Pauls Oughterard v The Bish
 
TOP OIL 2020 CONNACHT SCHOOLS CUP FIXTURES (FRIDAY 7 FEBRUARY)

Senior A Cup
Marist College v Sligo Grammar
 
CLICK HERE FOR ALL CLUB & COMMUNITY FIXTURES

Marist College and Sligo Grammar will join last year’s finalists Garbally College and CBS Roscommon in the semi-finals of the 2020 Top Oil Connacht Schools Senior A Cup.
 
With most of the pools games now played, the four sides have booked their place in the knockout stages with a game to spare at the expense of Summerhill and Colaiste Iognaid, and all that’s left to decide now is who will play who in the semi-finals.
 
The Junior A Cup has so far proven to be a much tighter affair with only one team so far assured of their place in the semi-finals.
 
CBS Roscommon are safely through after picking up a perfect 15 points from 15, meaning it’s a straight shootout between Summerhill and St. Muiredachs next week to decide who qualifies as runners-up in Pool 2.
 
In Pool 1 The Bish have exited the competition after three defeats, and one of Sligo Grammar, Marist and Garbally will join them. Sligo have 2 wins from 2 so far so they’ll be guaranteed a knock-out place if they defeat Garbally next week. If they do so the following week’s game between the reigning champions and Marist will decide who moves on to the semi-finals.
 

 
In the Senior B Cup it’s still relatively early days with Presentation Athenry in Pool 3 the only team so far guaranteed a semi-finals spot, while St. Muiredachs in Pool 2 will join them if they can overcome Presentation Headford.
 
Meanwhile we know 3 of the 4 semi-finalists in the Senior C division, with Colaiste Bhaile Chlair, Gortnor Abbey and Foxford all moving on to the next stage. The remaining spot goes to the victors of next month’s Pool 3 game between Gallen and Clifden CS.
 
The Junior B ranks have seen Colaiste Einde and Athlone CC qualify for the semi-finals, and Gallen CS can also look forward to the knock-outs if they can finish Pool 1 with a 100% record and defeat Pres Headford. The remaining semi-final place goes to the best runner-up from Pools 1 and 3 and so there’s still plenty to play for here.
 
Lastly the Junior C Cup pool stages have already given us our four semi-finalists. Sancta Maria College, Colaiste Chiaran, St Marys Ballygar and Enniscrone all come through their respective pools to move on the knockouts.
 
CLICK HERE FOR ALL CLUB & COMMUNITY FIXTURES

Another year of Top Oil Connacht Schools Cup action gets going this week with 22 games across Senior and Junior Level.
 
The majority of those games take place on Wednesday, with seven games on Thursday and just the one tomorrow to get things going. That one sees St Pauls Oughterard face The Bish in the Senior B Cup.
 
All of this week’s fixtures are as follows:
 
WEDNESDAY 15TH JANUARY 2020

Top Oil Senior A Cup Pool 2
1245: Sligo Grammar v Colaiste Iognaid @ Sligo Grammar

Top Oil Senior B Cup Pool 1
1200: St Jarlaths College v Colaiste Einde @ Tuam RFC

Top Oil Senior B Cup Pool 2
1230: St Muiredachs v Scoil Chuimsiteach Chiarain @ Ballina RFC

Top Oil Senior B Cup Pool 3
1200: HRC Mountbellew v Pres Athenry @ Monivea RFC

Top Oil Senior C Cup Pool 2
1115: Abbey CC v St Tiernans Crossmolina @ Carrick RFC

Top Oil Junior A Cup Pool 2
1200: St Muiredachs v Colaiste Iognaid @ Ballina RFC

Top Oil Junior B Cup Pool 1
1200: Gallen CS v Calasanctius Oranmore @ Ferbane

Top Oil Junior B Cup Pool 3
1230: Athlone CC v Colaiste Bhaile Chlair @ Athlone CC

Top Oil Junior C Cup Pool 1
1200: Scoil Chuimsiteach Chiarain v Sancta Maria College @ An Cheathru Rua

Top Oil Junior C Cup Pool 2
1200: Achill v Gortnor Abbey @ Westport RFC

Top Oil Junior C Cup Pool 3
1200: St Marys Ballygar v Swinford @ Creggs RFC
 
THURSDAY 16TH JANUARY 2020

Top Oil Senior A Cup Pool 1
1400: Garbally College v CBS Roscommon @ Ballinasloe RFC

Top Oil Senior C Cup Pool 1
1130: Sancta Maria College v Gortnor Abbey @ Westport RFC

Top Oil Junior C Cup Pool 4
1145: Enniscrone v Clifden CS @ Ballina RFC

Top Oil Junior B Cup Pool 1
1200: Pres Headford v Pres Athenry @ Corrib RFC

Top Oil Junior A Cup Pool 1
1230: The Bish v Sligo Grammar @ Newcastle-Galway
1200: Marist College v Garbally College @ Marist College

Top Oil Junior B Cup Pool 2
1200: Colaiste Einde v St Pauls Oughterard @ Colaiste Einde Salthill

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