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Sligo claim Invitational Cup honours
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Saturday 4th April saw the Connacht Cup action for 2015 come to a close. Firstly Galwegains/NUIG took on Castlebar in the plate final decider in Crowley park at 1.30. It was the Galway side that got off the mark first, Edel McMahon scoring a try, which was unconverted. Both teams defended well in the first half and it looked as if there was no way through for either team after the first try but McMahon struck again before half time leaving the score as 10-0 at the break.

Castlebar responded well in the second half, captain Caroline Staunton crossing for a try soon after the break, which was also unconverted. With only a score in it both teams had periods of possession but it was Galways Elaine Johnson who crossed after a series of forward pick and drives. Another missed conversion left the score at 15-5. The last points of the day were scored by Emma Doyle of Castlebar bringing Castlebar to within 5 points of the Galway side. Final score in Crowley park was 15-10 and captain Marion Doolan lifting the plate on behalf of her side.

Sligo WIC564Attention then switched to the Sportsground where Buccaneers were taking on Sligo in the Cup final. Both sides exchanged penalties in the opening 15 minutes, in testing wet and windy conditions both kickers performed admirably. The teams were well matched with both putting in huge defensive efforts. It was Ruth Goodwin of Sligo that crossed for the only try of the game, about mid way in the first half. The try was converted by Lauren McGee leaving the half time score at 10-3 to Sligo. After the break Buccs attacked with gusto but they couldn't get past Sligo’s defence and neither team crossed the line again in the match. A jubilant Jacquai Mulligan lifting the cup for Sligo who won with a final score of 10-3.

 
U15 & U18 Girls Triumph
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Ballinasloe U15's and Ballina U18's girls lift trophies in the Sportsground 

Ballinasloe Girls CupA very strong Ballinasloe U15's side took to the pitch on Saturday's marathon of matches in the Sportsground against Ballina/Creggs. Some excellent rugby was played, with numerous tries being scored from the Ballinasloe team. Ballina/Creggs never gave up and fought until the end, with a converted try coming near the end of the game. Ballinasloe, who won the Cup last season, were just to strong for the combined team, and Georgia Codyre once again lifted the Cup in victory. 

Ballina Girls CupNot long after the final whistle from the U15's match appeared the U18's teams from Ballina/Creggs and Westport/Galwegians combined teams. It was going to be an exciting match, as both teams' players know each other very well, many of them part of the Connacht U18's team. It was a well fought match from the outset. Westwegians didn't capitalize on their opponents' mistakes, and Ballina/Creggs came out on top, beating Westwegians 17-5. 

​Wendy Hickey, WCRO, was happy with how the day unfolded. "The chance to have 3 cup finals in the sportsground on the same day created a great atmosphere for players, coaches, and supporters. The clubs also brought their mini girls who were part of the day, lining up for the guard of honour and taking to the pitch themselves at half time. I would like to thank the Connacht Branch for their support in hosting the Cup finals, as well as all the supporters who braved the elements to cheer on the players. And lastly, to the coaches, managers, and parents who give up their time to support the girls with their rugby development. Without them, days like that would not be possible."

 
Women’s Cup rugby takes over
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Women’s Cup rugby takes over the Sportsground this Saturday

The Sportsground will be a hub of women’s rugby in the province this Saturday, March 28th, with 3 cup finals being played on the main pitch.

The U15’s Cup final will kick off at 12:30, with defending champions Ballinasloe RFC taking on a newly combined Ballina/Creggs side.

WestwegiansU18’s Cup final follows at 2:00, with Ballina/Creggs featuring again against a very strong Westport/Galwegians team, otherwise known as WestWegian. It will the first time these two sides meet this season, with many of the current Connacht U18’s featuring on both teams involved on the day.

The final game is the Connacht Invitational Cup final, with Buccaneers RFC playing Sligo RFC at 3:30. Both clubs have won the Cup in the past and are both eager to put their hands on a piece of silverware this season.

Wendy Hickey, Women’s Community Rugby Officer , is looking forward to the day. “To have 3 Cup finals in the women’s game  take place in the Sportsground on the same day is fantastic. I would like to wish all the clubs the best of luck in their respective finals, I’m sure we are going to be in for a brilliant day of rugby here in Connacht.”

 
4 Connacht Girls Selected for Irish Squad
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Ireland Squad announced for Women's RBS 6 Nations 2015 The Ireland Women's Squad (sponsored by AON) ahead of the RBS 6 Nations has been named.

The squad sees a number of new faces, uncapped at international XV a side rugby.

Seven players included in the squad are involved with the Ireland Sevens set-up, including Nicole Cronin, Katie Fitzhenry, Sene Naoupu, Hannah Tyrrell and Megan Williams along with experienced Internationals, Alison Miller and Jenny Murphy.

Speaking of his selection, Director of Sevens and Women's Rugby, Anthony Eddy said "It's a very exciting time for Women's Rugby in Ireland. We have had a number of camps over the past few weeks and have had to make some tough choices reducing the squad to 30 players.”

"It's a new dawn for the women's team with a new coaching set-up, including Head Coach, Tom Tierney and 12 uncapped players named in the squad. That we can bring in this new talent is testament to the work done previously.”

"We are all looking forward to the first game and kicking off a new ear for the Ireland Women's Team”

The squad will play a warm-up game against Wales on Sunday in Ashbourne RFC at 1pm Both of Ireland's home games will be streamed live on www.IrishRugby.ie

Ireland Women's RBS 6 Nations 2015 Squad

Gillian Bourke (Olympico de Pozzuol/ Selección de Madrid)

Niamh Briggs (UL Bohs/Munster)

Kerrie-Ann Craddock (Saracens/Exile)

Nicole Cronin (Shannon RFC/ Munster)*

Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock/Leinster)*

Emma Dunne (Old Belvedere /Leinster)*

Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere /Leinster)

Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Sevens)*

Paula Fitzpatrick (St Marys/Leinster)

Orla Fitzsimons (St Marys/Leinster)

Fiona Hayes (UL Bohs/Munster)

Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht)

Sarah Mimnagh (Wasps/Exile)*

Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht)

Larissa Muldoon (Skewen RFC)

Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Sevens)*

Katie Norris (Blackrock/Leinster)*

Heather O'Brien (Highfield/Munster)

Fiona O'Brien (Old Belvedere/Leinster)*

Elise O'Byrne-White (Old Belvedere/Leinster)*

Ruth O'Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht)

Marie-Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster)

Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile)

Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Sevens) *

Megan Williams (St Marys/Exile) *

Jade Wong (Richmond/Exiles) *

*Denotes uncapped player at this level

Ireland Women's XV Management

Anthony Eddy - Director of Sevens and Women's Rugby

Tom Tierney - Head Coach Declan O'Brien - Assistant Coach

Derek Dowling - Scrum Coach

Jean Casey -Team Manager

Marian Earls – Strength and Conditioning Co-ordinator

Lukasz Kirszenstein – Strength and Conditioning Coach

Brian Fitzgerald -Video Analyst

Lucy Soden - Team Doctor

Ulrik McCarthy - Physio

Dom Hoban - Physio

Nora Ni Fhlannagain - Nutritionist

Carmel O'Dwyer - Squad Co-ordinator

Maria Boland - Media Officer

RBS 6 Nations Ireland Women's Fixtures:

Fri 6 Feb 19:00 Italy v Ireland Stadio Mario Lodigiani

Fri 13 Feb 19:30 Ireland v France Ashbourne RFC

Fri 27 Feb 19:30 Ireland v England Ashbourne RFC

Sun 15 Mar 12:00 Wales v Ireland Swansea RFC

Sun 22 Mar 13:00 Scotland v Ireland Broadwood Stadium

 

 
Girls 7's Cup pictures
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A great day was had in Westport RFC recently at the Girls 7's cup final at both U15's and U18's. Ballina, Westport, Portumna, Ballinasloe and a Galwegian/Sligo combo fielded at U15's, with Ballinasloe playing Westport in the final. Both teams fought hard til the end, but Georgia Codyre from Ballinasloe lifted the cup in victory.
At U18's, Tuam, Westport, Ballina, Galwegians/Sligo combo and Ballinasloe competed for the senior cup, resulting in a WestportvBallina final. A great game from both Mayo sides was played, and Ballina were victorious, defeating Westport 15-0.​

Wendy Hickey, Connacnt Women's Development Officer, was delighted with the day. "The 7's competition worked well for Connacht this season because allowed the new clubs to grow their playing numbers by being able to fulfill fixtures on a regular basis. The game has grown immensely here in Connacht over the past few years, which can only bode well for the game in Ireland overall."

Clubs will be taking part in the Connacht Youths League in January which will be followed by a Cup competiton. Anyone interested in taking up rugby in Connacht can contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Photos (C) Connor McKeown Photography

 

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