Connacht Women’s Rugby – Awards Preview
The Connacht Rugby Awards are fast approaching, and another exciting season for Connacht Women’s Rugby will be acknowledged with awards to be presented in two categories.
Who will succeed last year’s winners Emma Clery (Connacht Senior Women’s Player of the Year) and Mar Sheridan (Connacht Women’s Club Player of the Year)?
Meet your nominees…
Connacht Senior Women’s Player of the Year
The Portlaoise forward burst onto the interprovincial scene three seasons ago with her strong running, and even stronger defensive play. However, Kehoe came true to form this season with her dynamic play causing opponents headaches in defence. A stalwart for her club teams, Kehoe also capped off a wonderful college career helping her IT Carlow teammates to their first Intervarsity Division One title recently.
The Tralee woman has been a fixture on Connacht teamsheets since she made her debut three seasons ago, but may have secured her future in green with her displays this season. The talented O’Connor who lines out in the front row but who can also play impressively at outhalf, proved pivotal to her club’s All-Ireland success later in the year when they claimed the Plate title against Queen’s University in Tullamore last month.
Raftery consolidated her place as Connacht’s first choice playmaker with her intelligent displays this season. Orchestrating attack after attack in Connacht’s campaign opener against Munster in particular, the Castlerea native demonstrated her value yet again. Raftery concluded her season with a second All-Ireland Cup title with her Galwegians teammates, contributing 11 points to her team’s final tally.
Connacht Women’s Club Player of the Year
Edel McMahon, NUIG RFC
McMahon started her rugby career last year with ruthless aplomb, contributing to NUIG’s second ever College League Final appearance, and culminating in her interprovincial debut this season, during which she earned three starts from three. A ferocious tackler, McMahon was also involved in Galwegians’ national cup title last month, competing flawlessly with her first division peers. A former inter-county footballer with Clare, the nineteen year old flanker has a colourful future ahead of her.
Ruth O’Reilly, Galwegians RFC
O’Reilly has had a season to remember. While her contributions to club and province have always been unquestionable, this season she has captained Connacht, received a call-up to the Ireland squad, and led Galwegians to a second national cup title in three years. Not bad going for the veteran prop who only improves in dynamism and strength with age. With the Women’s World Cup fast approaching, another call-up would be the perfect end to a momentous season.
Caroline Staunton, Castlebar RFC
Castlebar RFC have impressed since the women’s team was established a mere two seasons ago. Chief among those responsible for collective head-turning across the province is captain Caroline Staunton, who has led her team to the Connacht League title and to the Connacht Invitational Cup final. The flanker, also heavily involved in the administration of the side, has been acknowledged not just for her side’s remarkable achievements this year – their first competitive season – but also for her undeniable rollicking talent on the field.
The Connacht Rugby End of Season Awards Dinner takes place this Saturday, 26th April in the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway.