Women’s Rugby in Connacht is thriving like never before, and now Connacht Rugby is shining a light on all the great work that has been done in the past and is continuing to take place around the province to promote the female rugby stars of the future.

Every week you’ll get to read a bit about every club in Connacht that offers a Girls Rugby programme. You can find out about what they’ve done in the past, how many teams they have, what times they train and who are the people that bring Girls Rugby to life in the club.

This week we have Westport RFC, with text and pics with thanks to Liz Brady.

Westport is the home of some of the earliest female rugby in the Province. Young players who came into the minis set up looked for and inspired the Youths set up that is the foundation of today’s U14, U16, U18 and Women’s teams that have hit the pitch over this past season.

Girls’ Youths built up slowly as players came through the ranks and wanted to put a bit of shape on things and make their mark in Connacht and further afield. From the early days, the Girls’ section has grown and gone from strength to strength, not only on the pitch, but in the lifeblood of the Club.

A dedicated group of coaches, managers, parents, club members, and most importantly, players, have taken the proverbial Bull by the horns and made Westport RFC their second home!

Players have come from a vast geographical spread from Connemara, Ballinrobe, Louisburgh, Newport, Achill, Castlebar and Westport. Indeed, our newly established Women’s team is drawing players from Spain, Italy and even Clare. Athletes have transferred their skills to and from a multitude of sporting backgrounds including Gaelic football, Camogie, Swimming, Athletics, Sailing, Handball and basketball.

“Girls travelling from Achill Island, Leenane and Inisbofin weekly, it just shows a little bit of the love and dedication these girls have for one another and for the sport. Westport RFC is more of a family than a team, the girls put their bodies on the line week in week out and they do it all with pride. If it’s plaiting eachothers hair, scoring tries or even just belting out some pregame tunes, these girls do it with such enthusiasm and a true reflection on girls’ rugby. We’ve made memories that will last forever and most importantly we’ve made lifelong friendships.” (Aisling & Nina -u18s)

“At 14 in second year in school I saw a sign to try rugby in school and decided to go down on Tuesday evening, in the rain and wind and loved the physicality of the sport, at the start we didn’t have many teams near us but the craic was 90 in the bus going all over the country, and nearly 10 years later we still re-tell the stories and howl with laughter. As we got older we gained more skills and became better rugby players and this year we finally have a senior team and we did the cup and league double, something our coach told us we could do if we believed in ourselves and the feelings at both finals whistles are something i can’t describe, unfortunately the result last Saturday didn’t go our way but the feeling of being on the pitch with some of your best mates and playing some unbelievable rugby is what dreams are made of, I honestly can’t put into words what it like to be part of this clubs and especially the senior women team, I have 27 people who I can call at any time of the day with a problem and they will help me sort.” (Becky – Senior)

While everyone enjoys success on the pitch, it’s the long- lasting friendships and sense of community in our rugby family that are the real measure of success. Heading off to Dublin for Irish International matches, camping in Achill, Club and personal celebrations have given us experiences and memories that are made richer by our commitment to our Club and each other.

Mixed Friendly with Connemara

At an Irish International @Donnybrook

U16s

U18s

U14s joined up with Corinthians this past season

One of our players piping in the Women’s World Cup

Sumo Coaches entertaining the crowds at a Club celebration.

Westport’s Inaugural Women’s team.

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