Connacht’s U17 squad played against their Munster U17 counterparts in a challenge match last Thursday at the UL Sports Arena in Limerick.
The annual fixture drew a large crowd as the Connacht players, under the coaching ticket of Colm Tucker and Conor Galvin and managed by Luke Murphy, completed their eight-week summer training programme. The match follows on from a triangular tournament two weeks ago which saw Ulster, Munster and Connacht play in a round robin style competition hosted by Dubarry Park in Athlone.
Speaking about the programme Head Coach Colm Tucker praised the attitude of the players:
“It’s been a great summer programme, the players have had two tough days of training every week for the past two months and these fixtures are the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort.
“The determination and willingness to learn shown by this group of players has been extraordinary and we are delighted with their progress so far.”
These players will go on to form the bulk of next season’s Connacht U18 squad and have benefited from a number of areas of development both on and off the pitch throughout the summer programme.
The squad of 35 players were supported by a backroom team that included physiotherapists Michael Donohoe and Shayne O’Reilly, two interns Aoife Kerrigan and Pat O’Neill, Strength & Conditioning coach Ann Caffrey assisted by interns Alan Fitzpatrick and Niall Finnegan, Aidan O’Flynn, nutritionist Laura Mahony and intern Martin Mullane.
Assistant Coach Conor Galvin added:
“This isn’t the end of development for this group, with club and school training starting back shortly they will continue their development in their regions. We are confident they will go back to their clubs as better athletes and help raise the standard across the province.
“There will be more challenge matches coming up, including a fixture against a South African side in October and a tour over Easter and we are very excited about the future for this promising group of players.”