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.


    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


    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

  • A second Six Nations tournament could be played in 2020, as the sport's governing body’s look to recoup their lost earnings.

    It's being reported plans are being made to play a championship over an 8 week block in the Autumn, should the touring southern hemisphere countries be forced to cancel their trips.

    Ireland still have two games of the original campaign to play against Italy and France, with those being provisionally pencilled in for September, before the supplementary competition.

  • Connacht head coach Andy Friend has credited Quinn Roux's vocal leadership style as a pivotal factor in their landmark victory over Leinster in the RDS at the weekend. 

    Leo Cullen's side, seeking a fourth title in a row in 2020-21, were unbeaten before the weekend, lying second in Conference A to Ulster only by virtue of having played less games.  

    However, Connacht stunned the defending champions, running in four tries in a 35-24 win.

    Ahead of the final leg of their inter-pro series against Munster on Saturday evening, Andy Friend acknowledged that the RDS display was among the best performances of this three and a half year reign with the province.

  • Andy Friend has signed a new deal with Connacht, keeping him at the province until 2023.

    The Australian took over in the summer of 2018 and has guided the Western outfit to two Champions Cup qualifications.

    Connacht currently lie second in Conference B of the Pro 14.

  • Connacht have been hit by another departure from their coaching team.

    Forwards coach Jimmy Duffy will leave in the summer after six-years with the province.

    Last week, attack coach Nigel Carolan said he'd be ending a 26-year association with Connacht to seek a new challenge.

  • 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.

  • Connacht have been handed a major boost ahead of Saturday's Heineken Champions Cup clash with Toulouse.

    Bundee Aki, captain Jarrad Butler and Ireland duo Jack Carty and Ultan Dillane all return for the game in Galway.

    Finlay Bealham has returned to full training and is available for selection after completing his return to play protocols. He was involved in a collision in the game against Ulster.


    Connacht need to win the game to keep alive their hopes of a quarter final place.



  • 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.

  • Bundee Aki will earn his 100th cap for Connacht in Sunday’s clash with Ulster.

    Alex Wooton and Peter O'Sullivan will make their debuts on the wings.

    New signings Ian Madigan and Alby Mathewson will be on the bench for Ulster.

  • Castlebar 13 - 10 Monivea AET

    Connemara 31 19 Ballinrobe.

    Final will be played on the 22nd of March.

  • 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 announced four of new signings today, strengthening their squad ahead of the 2020/21 season by landing two Munster players and two from Leinster.

    Munster duo Sammy Arnold and Conor Oliver, and Leinster pair Jack Aungier and Oisin Dowling will become Connacht Rugby players from 1 August, with Dowling and Aungier signing two-year deals.

    Oliver and Arnold both featured for Ireland in the 2015 World Rugby U20 Championship, who were then coached by current Connacht Attack Coach Nigel Carolan.

    Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend says all four players can make significant contributions to the squad ahead of the new season. 



  • Connacht have announced a reshaping of their coaching setup for next season after backs coach Nigel Carolan and forwards coach Jimmy Duffy both confirmed they are to leave the province this summer.

    Beginning in 2021-22 Peter Wilkins will move to a new role of Senior Coach where he will have primary responsibility for attack. He will be supported by Mossy Lawler who has been appointed Assistant Attack & Skills Coach, in addition to Colm Tucker who comes on board as Defence & Forwards Technical Skills Coach.
    A process to recruit a new Forwards Coach is also now currently underway following the announcement of the departure of Jimmy Duffy at the end of this season.
    These changes will take the total number on the Professional coaching team from 4 to 5 providing Head Coach Andy Friend with greater coverage across each of the respective areas of the game.
    All three coaches have signed two-year contracts running in tandem with Andy Friend’s recently announced extension as Head Coach.