Connacht Rugby

  • There are three changes from the Senior Women's side that lost to Munster last time out for their clash with Leinster. Moya Griffin comes into the side at hooker where she forms a front row with captain Laura Feely and Annemarie O'Hora. There's also a new face in the second row with Denise Redmond starting alongside Amelie Roux. Tara Buggie, Edel McMahon and Nichola Fryday complete the pack.

    Midfield is unchanged with Nichole Fowley at out-half and Shannon Touhy and Catherine Martin at centre, while Mary Healy is named at scrum-half. There's a change in the back three with Jill Draper moving from full-back to the wing with Mairead Coyne at 15, while Orla Dixon is again named on the other wing.

    The action kicks off at 1pm when the U18 Girls aim to make it two wins from two when they host Munster, and the management team have made four changes from the side that snatched a late win over Ulster in Ballinasloe.

    Two of those are in the front row where Macy McDermott and Mia Fahy join Mary McLoughlin who moves to tight-head. The rest of the pack is unchanged with Jordan Hopkins and Eva McCormack forming the second row, and Emily Gavin, Lily Brady and Grace Browne Moran completing the set.

    Captain Aoibheann Reilly and Meabh Deely renew their half-back partnership, while there's a change at centre with Niamh Kenny coming in alongside Beibhinn Parsons. Finola Collins also comes in on the wing, with Hannah Guillane and Aine Galvin completing the back three.

    CONNACHT SENIOR WOMEN V LEINSTER (K/O 3PM SUNDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER)

    1 Laura Feely (Capt) – Galwegians
    2 Moya Griffin – Tullamore
    3 Annmarie O’Hora – Castlebar
    4 Denise Redmond – Galwegians
    5 Amelie Roux – Galwegians
    6 Tara Buggie – Galwegians
    7 Edel McMahon – Galwegians
    8 Nichola Fryday – Galwegians
    9 Mary Healy – Galwegians
    10 Nicole Fowley – Galwegians
    11 Orla Dixon – NUIG
    12 Shannon Touhy – Galwegians
    13 Catherine Martin – Suttonians
    14 Jill Draper – Tullamore
    15 Mairead Coyne – Galwegians

    16 Ciara O’Connor – Galwegians
    17 Elizabeth McNicholas – Tuam
    18 Julia Bauer – Suttonians
    19 Nicola Caldbeck – Tullow
    20 Clodagh Dunne – Old Belvedere
    21 Hilary Griffin – Tullow
    22 Jane O’Neill – Old Belvedere
    23 Rachel Healy – Railway Union

    CONNACHT U18 GIRLS V MUNSTER (K/O 1pm SUNDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER)

    1 Macy McDermott - Westport RFC
    2 Mia Fahy - Ballinasloe RFC
    3 Mary McLaughlin - Westport RFC
    4 Jordan Hopkins - Ballinasloe RFC
    5 Eva McCormack - Westport RFC
    6 Emily Gavin - Ballinasloe RFC
    7 Lily Brady - Westport RFC
    8 Grace Browne Moran - Westport RFC
    9 Aoibheann Reilly (Capt)- Ballinasloe RFC
    10 Meabh Deely - Ballinasloe RFC
    11 Hannah Gullane - Ballinasloe RFC
    12 Niamh Kenny - Ballinasloe RFC
    13 Béibhinn Parsons - Ballinasloe RFC
    14 Finola Collins - Ballina RFC
    15 Aine Galvin - Ballinasloe RFC

    16 Kayley Mannion - Westport RFC
    17 Claudia McNicholas - Ballinasloe RFC
    18 Sarah O’Rourke - Buccaneers RFC
    19 Hannah Johnston - Sligo RFC
    20 Nina Mathastein - Westport RFC
    21 Ava Ryder - Westport RFC
    22 Rian Callaghan - Buccaneers RFC
    23 Victoria Farrell - Buccaneers RFC

  • Connacht have suffered yet another injury blow.

    Flanker Colby Fainga'a looks set to miss the Christmas period of games, after injuring his knee during their defeat to Gloucester at the weekend.

     

     

  • Connacht Junior Cup Semi-Finals
    Ballina 20-6 Connemara
    Sligo 13-11 Creggs

  • AIL Division 2C 
    Ballina 20-7 Malahide 

  • Ballina Rugby Club are seeking the help of anyone, near or far, in order to beat the weather and make sure one of the biggest games of the year is played this weekend.

    With weather conditions deteriorating rapidly, the club is making every effort to have their Heffernan Park pitch playable for Sunday's crucial top-of-the-table junior league game with Connemara.
     
    This morning, club President, William O'Connor has sent out a plea asking for help from the local farming community or agri suppliers.
     
    "A few years ago Connacht Rugby were in a similar position and they got a supplier to donate straw so that they could cover the pitch and make sure a big game could go ahead. 
    Today, we're wondering if there's anyone, or a group of people, out there who might help us in the same way.
    "If we could get enough straw to cover the pitch, we'd round up a band of volunteers who would help spread it on the surface and keep the ground soft.
    We want the game to go ahead and are doing everything we can to make sure it does. However, we need the help of the community on this occasion. I hope there's somebody out there who can help us."
     
    Any offers of help can be made by contacting 087 9394255
     
  • For many rugby fans in this part of the world, the changing weather signals the end of the club season and a well-earned break for players, coaches, officials and club officers. But there is still business to be done, and this coming Saturday, Ballinrobe RFC will host a Junior Interprovincial fixture for the first time ever.

    This year’s Connacht Junior squad, managed by Tuam’s Sean Higgins and Declan Slattery, will face off against Leinster in the opening fixture of the 3-match series in what is sure to be a mouth-watering encounter.

    The match day squad is not due to be named until later this week (Wednesday night) but there are 11 clubs from all over the province with players in the reckoning – Ballinrobe, Galwegians, Buccaneers, Monivea, Sligo, Tuam, Dunmore, Westport, Castlebar, NUIG and Ballina.

    From a local point of view its great to see four Mayo clubs represented with Ballinrobe trio of Daniel Keane, Rob Holian and Tom Staunton all in with a shout of making the squad for the opener this weekend on their home soil.

    Last season, number 8 Jack Winters was Ballinrobe’s only inclusion in the squad and the current Galwegians back-rower represented his former club with distinction.

    Keane and Holian were particularly impressive for Ballinrobe throughout the season and Tom Staunton was recently voted “Players Player of the Year” for 2018. Staunton, a native of Tourmakeady, will captain the club for the 2018/2019 season

    The game kicks off at 2.30 in The Green this coming Saturday and a huge crowd is expected.

  • Bundee Aki has returned to the Connacht starting team for their European Challenge Cup Quarter Final against Sale Sharks on Friday night (Kick Off 7:45pm - Live BT Sports 2). This will be Aki's first start for Connacht since featuring in all of Ireland's games in the recent Six Nations Championship.

     The Connacht side will be captained by hooker Tom McCartney, who makes his 100th appearance for the province. Carty also returns to the starting line-up, having come off the bench in the home win over Benetton last weekend. Alongside Carty will be fellow international Kieran Marmion who also featured off the bench last time out.

    In the back three, Darragh Leader is named at full back with Cian Kelleher and Niyi Adeolokun on the wings. Adeolokun makes his first start since November, when he picked up an arm injury against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

    Aki's inclusion in the midfield sees him form a partnership with the versatile Kyle Godwin.

    Up front, props Peter McCabe and Dominic Robertson-McCoy join McCartney in the front row. While in the second row Gavin Thornbury continues his return from injury alongside James Cannon.

    In the back row Eoghan Masterson and James Connolly are named at blindside and openside respectively, with 22 year old Paul Boyle at number 8.

    (15-9) Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin, Bundee Aki, Cian Kelleher, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Peter McCabe, Tom McCartney (Capt), Dominic Robertson-McCoy, James Cannon, Gavin Thornbury, Eoghan Masterson, James Connolly, Paul Boyle.

    Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham, Joe Maksymiw, Robin Copeland, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Stephen Fitzgerald.

     

  • Bundee Aki could be set to return against Leinster following his three match ban after the Samoa game.

    The Irish Independent reports that because Aki hasn’t played since the 12th of October he could be available for Connacht’s showdown with Ospreys on the 2nd of November.

    However, there is some confusion from World Rugby’s statement as to whether Aki received a three-week or three-match ban.

    If it is confirmed as a three match ban then Aki won’t return until the Western provinces’ clash with Leinster in the PRO 14 on the 8th of November.  

  • Bundee Aki will make his first start of the season for Connacht against the Scarlets at the Sportsground tomorrow.

    The Irish international has been named in the centre as one of six changes.

    Former Munster back row Robin Copeland will make his debut for the Province in the at Number 8.

    Kick-off tomorrow at the Sportsground is at 5.15pm.

  • Castlebar have won promotion to the J1A League by defeating Galwegians 20-18 in the playoff today. 

  • Chris Ashton is back for Sale's European Challenge Cup clash with Connacht this Saturday.

    The England back has returned to the Sharks' squad after serving a seven week suspension.

    Sale's U-S-A international out-half A-J MacGinty will miss the visit of his former side, he's been ruled out until the New Year with a shoulder injury.

  • Connacht have been boosted by the return of Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Tom Farrell and Caolin Blade from international duty and are named in the Connacht squad to play Ospreys in the Sportsground on Saturday.

    Dillane and Roux continue their second row partnership that started the Six Nations game against Italy last weekend. They join a front five that includes props Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham with Shane Delahunt coming in at hooker.

    The back row remains unchanged from the game against Glasgow, with captain Jarrad Butler starting at number 8 and Eoin McKeon and Colby Fainga'a at blindside and openside respectively.

    Kieran Marmion starts his second game in a row at scrum half after returning from injury. He forms a half back partnership with Kyle Godwin who comes in at out half.

    In the midfield Peter Robb gets his first start of the season after impressing off the bench last time out. He is joined in the centre by the returning Tom Farrell.

    The back three is unchanged with Stephen Fitzgerald and Matt Healy on the wings and Tiernan O'Halloran at full back.

    With Connacht sitting three points ahead of Ospreys in Conference A of the PRO14, Head Coach Andy Friend knows how important a home win could prove against their conference rivals; "We have trained well and prepared well this week. We have seen a really positive response from the players after a disappointing result last weekend in Glasgow. We will continue to focus on our game and what we can control, as we have done all season. We know every game now is a must win and with a two week break before our next game we are determined to finish this block on a high", Friend said.

    Commenting on his team selection, he added: "We are boosted by four of our players coming back from international duty. They bring a huge amount of experience to our match day squad", he added.

     

    Kick-off 2:45pm:

    (15-9) Tiernan O'Halloran, Stephen Fitzgerald, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, Matt Healy, Kyle Godwin, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, Ultan Dillane, Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga'a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).

    Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Paul Boyle, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Cian Kelleher.

  • The Heineken Champions Cup fixtures for the upcoming season have been released.

    Leinster host Benetton in their opening Pool One game on Saturday November 16th.

    Munster travel to Ospreys and Ulster take a trip to Bath on the same day.

    Connacht begin their European campaign with Montpellier visiting the Sportsgrounds on Sunday November 17th.

  • Connacht have been boosted by confirmation that Bundee Aki will be available to face Leinster in their first interprovincial game of the season, as well as their return to Champions Cup rugby the following week.

    Aki will sit out the final game of his 3-match suspension away to Ospreys on Saturday - a ban that was handed down when he became the first Irish player to be sent off in a World Cup match, against Samoa earlier this month - but he will be back when Connacht take on Leinster on Friday week 8th November.

    Out-half Jack Carty will also make his return for the derby with Leinster at the Sportsground, following his impressive World Cup, after both internationals were pencilled in for training next week.

     

  • Connacht have been boosted by the return to fitness of full-back Tiernan O'Halloran for their game against Benetton.

     

    The Ireland international has made a swifter than expected recovery from a hamstring injury.

     

    Flanker Jarrad Butler and prop Denis Buckley also come into the side.

     

    Niyi Adeolokun and Ultan Dillane are both among the replacements.

  • Connacht have pulled off a dramatic 27-24 win over Gloucester in the European Champions Cup.

    A late try from Robin Copeland gave the Westerners a win that lifts them off the bottom of Pool One - and still in the hunt for the knockout stages.

    Caolin Blade and Shane Delahunt were the other try scorers for Connacht.

  • Connacht have confirmed the signing of former Munster prop Rory Burke.

    The 25-year old will join from English Championship side Nottingham ahead of the 2019-20 season.

    Burke's spent two-years in Nottingham and is a former Ireland under-20 international.

    Connacht have also confirmed that Academy scrum-half Stephen Kerins has signed his first professional contract.

     

     

  • Connacht have confirmed the signing of Robin Copeland.

    The back-row forward has signed a two-year contract at the Sportsground after it was announced last week he was to end his four-seasons with Munster.

    He will join Connacht at the end of the current season on a 2-year contract.

    Copeland has made over 60 appearances for Munster during four seasons with the club and previously played over 50 times with the Cardiff Blues.

    At international level, Copeland was capped for the Irish Senior International side when he made his debut against Georgia in November 2014. The back row has also represented the Irish Wolfhounds and Emerging Ireland sides.

     

  • Connacht have confirmed that they've parted ways with head-coach Kieran Keane.

    The 64-year-old had completed just one year of his three year term at the Sportsground.

    It was a disappointed season for the westerners who finished second bottom of Conference A of the Guinness PRO-14.

  • Connacht have been dealt a blow with centre Tom Farrell set to be sidelined for up to six weeks.

    The 26-year-old, who scored a try in last weekend's Champions Cup defeat to Toulouse, has a fractured shoulder.

    In better news for the province, Andy Friend will have a number of players returning for this Saturday's Pro14 visit of the Southern Kings.

    Bundee Aki, captain Jarrad Butler, Denis Buckley, and Niyi Adeolokun are among those back in the fold.