Women’s and girls’ rugby is off to a flying start this year in Connacht, with new teams starting at all levels.

The Development League that was started last year is continuing to grow, with the addition of a few new teams. Tuam RFC ladies, who played their first ever match on Monday evening against A.I.T, battled it out in what can be described as atrocious conditions and won 10-5. In Mayo, Westport struggled last year to produce a competitive side, but this year, numbers have improved and they will be taking part in the league for the first time. A.I.T and NUIG will also competing in the Development league with a 3rd division side from Limerick, Galbally, joining in to make it a first ever Women’s South West conference League. NUIG, AIT and Sligo IT also take part in the College competition run by CUSAI, where mid week games are played against colleges and IT’s across the country.

Secondary schools in Galway City have also been hard at work playing Girls’ Schools rugby with YDO, Emer O’Dowd. A blitz held in the new sports hall in NUIG saw over 120 take part in a first ever Girls Schools rugby blitz (two handed tip). Rival schools Mercy Secondary and Presentation secondary displayed some fine rugby skills over the 2 hour blitz.

Charlie Couper and Kieron Sloyan in Athlone have also been spreading the rugby gospel with a Transition year project involving schools such as the Bower, Summerhill, and The Marist and linking the in with Buccanners RFC. Every Thursday, TY students from various secondary schools in Athlone and Ferbane descend onto Buccaneers and play tag rugby for 2 hours. Wendy Hickey, Connacht Women’s Rugby Development Officer, was well impressed with the standard of play displayed by these girls. “This is a great way to introduce girls to the game, and they are now training after school and are moving from the tag game to contact. It’s fantastic that finally, women and girls’ rugby is getting off the ground in Connacht, and the future is looking bright”.

Westport RFC held an Open day Oct.6th in conjunction with the Mayo Sports partnership, and saw 28 U16 girls take part in the session., and the numbers have stayed much around the same, with training  one night a week in the evenings. Castlebar have also started starting U16’s rugby, with numbers hoping to increase over the next few weeks.

For more information about girls and women’s rugby, contact Wendy at [email protected]


Gillian McDarby appointed IRFU Head of Women’s Performance & Pathways