• 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.

  • Leinster Senior League 2 Connacht FA 1

    Connacht FA suffered a one-goal defeat to Leinster in the Ward Cup.

    Gary Kineen scored the Connacht goal but LSL held off late pressure as the Connacht lads pressed for an equaliser.

    In the other match played today it finished Munster Senior League 3 Ulster Senior League 2.

  • Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend has made a total of ten changes to the side that won away to Perpignan in the European Challenge Cup last weekend, as Connacht take on Leinster in the RDS on Saturday (kick-off 7:45pm).

     Included in the starting side are internationals Finlay Bealham and Ultan Dillane as Bundee Aki is named among the replacements.

     Bealham comes back into a front row that sees Denis Buckley returning at loosehead and Tom McCartney retained at hooker. In the second row Dillane will line up alongside Gavin Thornbury with James Cannon named among the replacements.

     Captain Jarrad Butler comes into the side alongside Colby Fainga'a and Paul Boyle at number 8.

     Jack Carty and Caolin Blade renew their half-back partnership, while the back three sees Darragh Leader come in for Matt Healy who picked up a knock in training during the week, with Cian Kelleher named on the opposite wing with Tiernan O'Halloran at full back. The midfield pairing of Tom Farrell and Kyle Godwin completes the side.


     (15-9) Tiernan O'Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Kyle Godwin, Tom Farrell, Darragh Leader, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Gavin Thornbury, Jarrad Butler (Capt), Colby Fainga'a, Paul Boyle.

    Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Dominic Robertson McCoy, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, James Mitchell, David Horwitz, Bundee Aki.

  • Connacht have welcomed back Irish internationals Jack Carty and Bundee Aki for their Guinness PRO14 clash with champions Leinster tomorrow night.

    Carty starts at out-half with centre Aki on the bench for the match at the Sportsground.

    Leinster have brought props Cian Healy and Andrew Porter into their front-row.

    Robbie Henshaw starts in midfield for the Blues against his home province while Luke McGrath is paired with Ross Byrne in the half-backs.


    Connacht team: Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, Stephen Fitzgerald, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Cillian Gallagher, Joe Maksymiw, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler, Paul Boyle.

    Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Matthew Burke, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Sean O'Brien, Colby Fainga'a, Kieran Marmion, Bundee Aki, Kyle Godwin.


    Leinster team: Hugo Keenan, Adam Byrne, Robbie Henshaw, Joe Tomane, James Lowe, Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, Ronan Kelleher, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Scott Fardy, Josh Murphy, Will Connor, Max Deegan

    Replacements: James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Rhys Ruddock, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ciaran Frawley, Rob Kearney

  • Leinster had a convincing 54 points to 7 win over Connacht at the RDS in the Guineess PRO 14 last night.

     The result means they earned themselves a bonus point and keep their 100 per cent start to the season intact.

    Max Deegan, Ciaran Frawley, Dave Kearney, Joseph Toman, Luke McGrath and Gary Ringrose all went over the line for Leo Cullen's side.

  • Connacht captain John Muldoon will lead his province out in his 327th and final appearance against Leinster in the Guinness PRO-14 tomorrow. 

    Tom Farrell and Bundee Aki continue their partnership in midfield while Ireland internationals Tiernan O'Halloran, Matt Healy and Niyi Adeolokun all start in the back three. 


    (15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoin McKeon, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt).

    Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Craig Ronaldson, Darragh Leader.


  • Connacht will add extra terracing to the Sportsground for the Pro14 clash with Leinster after fans snapped up tickets for Saturday night's provincial derby.

    Andy Friend's men powered past the Scarlets in Galway at the weekend, producing they type of free-flowing, expansive game they so defined during the Pat Lam era. 

    It left Connacht with two wins from their first four games and teed the Westerners up for a humdinger with Leo Cullen's reigning champions.

    Additional temporary terracing will be installed at both the Bohermore and College Road ends of the ground, which will potentially boost the attendance to over 8,000.

    Kick-off at the Sportsground on Saturday is at 5.15pm.

  • Galway's under 21 hurlers will make a small piece of history this evening when they play their first ever game in the Bord Gáis Energy Leinster under 21 Hurling Championship.

    The likes of Sean Loftus and Brian Concannon - both of whom have senior experience - start against Offaly at Bord na Móna O'Connor Park tonight. It will be Galway's first foray into the Leinster under 21 championship following a ruling at Congress in 2017. Interestingly though, it is not the first provincial campaign for the county having participated in the Munster championship from the inception of the under 21 competition in 1964 until they left the province in 1969. In fact Galway and Kerry played the inaugural fixture in the Munster campaign in 1964. They played two Munster finals in their sojourn in the province, in 1965 & 1967.  

    Tonight's other quarter final sees Westmeath take on Dublin in Mullingar. Both games have 7.30 throw-ins.




  • Caelan Doris’s preparations for this Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 final against Ulster has received a timely boost after the Leinster back-rower was named the tournament’s Next-Gen Star of the Season.

    The award for Under-23s playing in the PRO14 came hot on the heels of a man of the match performance in Leinster’s semi-final victory over Munster last Friday night at Aviva Stadium as Doris, 22, topped a poll of media representatives, former players and coaches from the five countries with participating teams.

    The Lacken native has enjoyed a breakout season in 2019-20, played 10 times in the PRO14 this season, scoring one try and winning two man of the match awards while also earning an Ireland Test debut in Andy Farrell’s maiden team selection as head coach for the 2020 Six Nations opener against Scotland.