The IRFU has published a summary roadmap for a return to rugby in clubs.
 
The objective of the roadmap is to provide high level clarity to clubs and ensure COVID-19 safety measures are taken before activities can resume.
 
Irish Rugby is now in the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage of its roadmap.
Clubs may only resume training and rugby activities in accordance with government protocols.
 
Full details are available at https://www.irishrugby.ie/return-to-rugby/
Clubs are being asked to focus for now on COVID-19 safety planning. A range of training and education supports will be available to guide clubs through this stage.
 
IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines will be issued to all clubs on Friday June 5th 2020.
 
The summary roadmap and details of the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage were issued to club Honorary Secretaries on Friday May 29th.
 
Recommendations include the appointment of a COVID-19 Club Safety Officer to oversee public health measures in the club. Appointed COVID-19 Club Compliance Officers will be asked to monitor day-to-day compliance with protocols across all teams.
 
Clubs will be guided through the process of completing a COVID-19 Club Risk Assessment and a COVID-19 Club Safety Plan to outline safety measures and minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
 
Templates for these documents will be issued to clubs as part of the IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines
 
Speaking about the plan, IRFU Director of Rugby Development Colin McEntee said:
 
Like everyone else, our community has been following the updates to government roadmaps and recovery plans and asking when clubs can reopen. That’s from junior clubs right up to our men’s and women’s clubs in the Energia All-Ireland League.
 
The fact remains we can only resume activity in line with the easing of government restrictions, but there is also a lot we can do to ensure the right practices are in place.
 
Many clubs are already looking at revised operating procedures. This plan is about helping all clubs move forward as one in providing health and wellbeing opportunities for their community.
 
I’m hopeful our clubs can rise to the challenge. The support will be there for them at both national and provincial level.
 
From there, we can look at a graduated return to rugby with a focus on reduced activities and non-contact forms of the game along the way.”
 
There were 217 clubs active in the 2019/20 season.”

 
Guidelines for rugby in schools and third-level institutions will be issued in due course.
 

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

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.

The draw for the 2020 Connacht Youth Cups took place last Monday night, with 137 teams across 22 clubs learning their opponents for the months ahead.
 
In all there are nine cup competitions – six Boys Cups ranging from U13 to U18.5 level, and Girls Cups at U14, U16 and U18 age grades.
 
It’s the girls who get their campaigns underway this weekend, with the last 16 games across the three competitions taking place on Saturday, while the Boys Cups begin next month.
 
Other important dates for your diaries are the three Cup final days, with a triple-header of Girls Cup deciders on 8th March and the Boys Cup finals on the 19th and 26th April, with all nine games taking place at the Sportsground.
 
The full draw including who could be playing who in the latter stages can be found below. Best of luck to all clubs taking part!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Due to Storm Brendan and the ongoing Status Orange warning, tonight’s Connacht Youth Cups draw at the Sportsground has been *postponed*.

The draw will now take place next Monday 20th January at the same location.

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.
 

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!”
 

 

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 facebook.com/CraigHansberryRDO or email [email protected]
 

Would you like to help shape the future of Irish Rugby?
 
Applications are now open for vacancies on the IRFU Youth Council, for further information on the work of the Youth Council, please see our terms of reference below.
 
The aim of the programme is to advocate for and on behalf of all youth and ensure there is a range of opportunities youth can have their voices heard.
 
Candidates should be an active member in their rugby club, must be aged 16-25 and must be committed and passionate about youth rugby.
 
Candidates are being recruited from Connacht, Ulster and Munster.
 
COMMITMENTS

  • At least 1 hour per week working on Youth Council Projects (further commitments may be needed at weekends)
  • Attend meetings up to 4 times a year
  • Report to Spirit officers in each province
  • Present and report to national committees as well as provincial committees
  • Youth Council members may be asked to assist at other IRFU events
  • Liaise with clubs and club officers to organise Youth Council events

TO APPLY:
 
Please complete the attached application form HERE and email to [email protected]
 
Candidates will be contacted by the Co-ordinator to set up an interview.
 
Should the applicant meet the criteria conditions the candidate will be invited to attend regular meetings.
 
The closing date for applications is strictly 1pm, 4t h October 2019.

Connacht Rugby have launched their strategy for the development of the women’s game in the province.
 
“Women of the West” sets out ambitious targets to increase participation rates right throughout the province and develop the pathway for players to transfer from underage grades to senior adult rugby.
 
The strategy is fully aligned with the IRFU Women in Rugby Action Plan and is based on the core principle of integration with all departments of Connacht Rugby.
 
Women’s rugby in the province has seen some significant developments over the past twelve months both on and off the field. The emergence of Beibhinn Parsons to become the youngest ever player capped for Ireland at the age of 16 has demonstrated the good work being invested in the women’s game by clubs like Ballinasloe RFC.
 
Off the field there has been another first as Anne Heneghan now holds the position of Senior Vice President of the Connacht Branch of the IRFU. In the 2020/21 season Ms Heneghan will be the first woman in any province to be elected President of their home Branch. Furthermore, she has recently been accepted as a Judicial Officer with World Rugby.
 
Connacht Rugby also recently announced the appointment of a second Women’s Development Officer, with Emer O’Dowd taking up the role to work in conjunction with current WDO Wendy Hickey. O’Dowd will oversee the development of woman’s rugby in North Connacht with Hickey working with clubs in the south of the province.
 
Commenting on the launch of the strategy, Head of Club and Community at Connacht Rugby, Joe Gorham said: “We are delighted to be publishing our four year strategy, Women of the West. We have engaged with our clubs and schools in the province, along with coaches and people working on the ground to develop the game. That has helped to develop a comprehensive and ambitious plan to grow the game in every area. Our strategy is based on the principle of integration not segregation. We want people from the women’s game to add value not just in the women’s game but in all areas of Connacht Rugby. We already have some incredible players and coaches involved in the game and this strategy is about developing a clear pathway for the young girls of tomorrow to get involved and more importantly to stay involved in playing, coaching or administration”.
 
The following are some of the key targets set out in the strategy
• 23 Clubs with a Female Mini Rugby section by 2023
• 10 Clubs with a Full Female Rugby Pathway by 2023 (Mini, U14, U16, U18 & Adult)
• 114% overall increase on Player base by 2023 (Additional 735 Players)
• ‘Staying in the game’ programme – This is a fully developed strategic programme aimed at former players and players nearing the end of their playing careers, which allows them to pursue other aspects of the game such as coaching, refereeing and/or administration.
• Introduction of an emerging talent programme
• Designed specifically to address the talent fall off years after U18s
• Build on progress made in the first of this programme in 18/19 (Year-long sponsored programme)
• Aim for 25/30 participants per season with a Transition target of 30% to the Connacht Women Senior Squad.
• Have 2 competitive teams in the AIL by 2023
• Representatives from women’s rugby involved in all sub committees of the Connacht Branch.

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