Ballyhaunis RFC played host to the first three Connacht Schools League Finals today, with the Junior Emerging, Senior Emerging and Junior Development Leagues all decided in a unique triple header of schools rugby.

The action got underway in damp and misty conditions shortly after 11am when Athlone Community College took on Clarin College in the Junior Emerging decider. Athlone were heavily fancied leading into the tie having won all four of their pool games including a comfortable win over Clarin in the opening round, and they lived up to their billing despite an impressive showing from their opponents. In the end the Roscommon/Westmeath side won 17-7 to take home the first trophy of the day, but there was no doubt that a potential meeting between the sides in the Schools Cup would be equally competitive.

Meanwhile there was a 12pm kick-off for the Senior Emerging League final where St. Pauls Oughterard took on St. Raphaels Loughrea in a topsy-turvy encounter. Both sides went into the game with 100% records so it was always going to be a tough one to call, and in the end it was a game that went right down to the wire. Heading into the last 15 minutes St. Pauls held a narrow 8-6 lead, but up stepped impressive Raphaels fly-half Tomas Burns who nailed three brilliant penalties as the pressure on the St. Pauls defence eventually told. The Loughrea side ultimately came away with a 15-8 victory.

Lastly the Junior Development decider saw the meeting of St. Geralds Castlebar and Colaiste Einde Salthill. Here the game arguably turned into the best of the lot as Colaiste Einde just held on for a 15-13 win despite a massive Geralds onslaught in the closing stages. The Salthill side were looking good for the win as they led 15-3 at the break but their Castlebar opponents refused to give up, securing two well-worked tries to bring it back to a two point deficit. The closing stages were among the most exciting in schools rugby this season as Geralds went through at least 20 phases five metres short of the Salthill line and ultimately the victory. However it was the Einde defence that won them the game in the end, eventually forcing the knock-out and securing the title sparking wildly contrasting scenes of jubilation and dejection.

A sincere thanks must go to the referees and Ballyhaunis RFC for making the day possible, and the remaining three Schools Leagues will be decided in the weeks ahead.

There’s been some memorable rugby moments happening at grassroots level across the province so far this season.
After two weeks of entries, we’re delighted to share the 8 nominees for the winner of the first Connacht Rugby / Portwest Ireland Rugby Moment of the Season award, covering September, October and November.
You can check out the nominees on our Facebook page below – the winner will be chosen by a selection committee and announced here on Monday!

The fixture details have been confirmed for three of the Connacht Schools League finals, with all the ties to be played at the one venue for what’s set to be a brilliant day’s rugby.
The games will be played on Wednesday 5th December in Ballyhaunis RFC, starting with the Junior Emerging Final at 11.15am which will be contested by Athlone CC and Clarin College. Athlone were comfortable 35-0 winers over Foxford in their semi-final yesterday, while Clarin overcame Sancta Maria 21-0.
That will be followed by the Senior Emerging decider at 12pm between St. Pauls and St. Raphaels after they came through their respective semi-finals. St Pauls beat Athlone 43-3 while St Raphaels narrowly overcame Foxford 16-15.
Then at 1.15pm it’s the Junior Development final where St. Geralds take on Colaiste Einde. St. Geralds beat Gallen 17-12 while Colaiste Einde defeated Presentation Athenry 30-12 to each book their place in the decider.
Best of luck to all the competing teams.

57 teams kicked off their Connacht Schools League campaigns back in September and we are now down to the final 4 in five of the six schools competitions.
The remaining fixtures are as follows:
Senior A League SFs

Garbally College vs Sligo Grammar 29/11/2018 KO: 2pm in Garbally
Marist College vs Colaiste Iognaid 28/11/2018 KO: 1pm in Marist

Junior A League SF’s

Colaiste Iognaid vs Marist College 27/11/2018 KO: 12pm in Dangan
Garbally College vs CBS Roscommon 28/11/2018 KO: 12pm in Garbally

Senior Development League SFs

Semi-finals TBC

Junior Development League SFs

Colaiste Einde Salthill vs Pres Athenry 28/11/2018 KO: 12pm in Colaiste Einde
St. Geralds Castlebar vs Gallen CS 28/11/2018 KO: 12.30pm in Castlebar RFC

Senior Emerging League SFs

St. Raphaels Loughrea vs Foxford 27/11/2018 KO: 12pm in Loughrea RFC
St. Pauls Oughterard 43 bt. Athlone CC 3 21/11/2018

Junior Emerging League SFs

Sancta Maria Louisburgh vs Clarin College 28/11/2018 KO: 11.30am in Westport RFC
Athlone CC 35 bt. Foxford 0 21/11/2018
Finals for the Junior A, Senior A, Junior Development, Junior Emerging and Senior Emerging Leagues are scheduled for the week of Monday 3rd of December 2018.
Venues and kick off times will be confirmed once all finalists are known.

The IRFU are delighted to announce that a first ever Spirit of Rugby Conference is to take place in Dublin in 2019. The one-day event will be held at Aviva Stadium on Sunday 13th January as part of the IRFU’s commitment to a safe and fun environment for age-grade players.
The theme of the conference is ‘Play Your Part, Let Them Play,’ with the aim of helping adults to create and maintain a safe and fun environment that prioritises player welfare. Player welfare has been identified as an essential element in the retention of age-grade rugby players.
The conference is open to coaches, volunteers, parents and all those working with age-grade players in clubs and schools across the four provinces.
Four experts in well-being will address the conference, including keynote speaker John O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan is a coach, author, TEDx speaker and founder of Changing The Game Project, a US organisation dedicated to improving the lives of children through sport.

The theme of the keynote address is: “How Adults Can Contribute to Creating and Maintaining a Player Centred Environment in Age-Grade Rugby.”
Also addressing the conference are IRFU Head of Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Prof. Phil Glasgow, Senior Clinical Psychologist Dr. Paul Gaffney and Dr. Anne Marie Waldron, who is a Clinical Director with the HSE’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
The conference will be opened by Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt and MC for the day is RTÉ broadcaster Damien O’Meara. A Q&A session with all four speakers will follow the key note address.
Attendees will learn how to create and maintain a safe and fun environment that prioritises player welfare.
Previous initiatives by the Spirit Safeguarding programme include a side-line behaviour video and providing every club in the country with fun friendly pavement signs.
The conference costs €25 to attend and early registration is advised.

Welcome to the brand new Connacht Rugby Club & Community website, the new home of grassroots rugby in the West of Ireland.

The website has been built from the ground up to cater for all the goings-on at Club & Community level in Connacht, from minis right through to the youths, schools, junior and provincial level.

Some of the features include…

  • A brand new user interface which is both easier to navigate on desktop and mobile-friendly on phones and tablets. Regular visitors to will be no stranger to the design, so we have now brought both the Professional and Club & Community online worlds under the one umbrella.
  • A completely redesigned fixtures and results page which again is both cleaner and easier to navigate on your handheld device.
  • An updated Connacht Club Finder, making it easier to find your local team in your area.
  • Our new Coaching Corner (launching soon) will provide Connacht coaches at all levels with a large array of videos and resources which will give you the tools you need to help your players and teams grow.
  • Easier to find information about upcoming totalhealth Pharmacy Camps and SkillZones.

As with any new website there is the possibility you may run into a small bug or two. If this is the case we’d greatly appreciate you dropping us a line HERE and we’ll get it looked at ASAP.

Girls Youth rugby in Connacht continues to go from strength to strength after two schools from the province contested the IRFU Girls Sevens Secondary Schools National Finals at Energia Park.
In the end there was success for Ard Scoil Mhuire Ballinasloe who defeated Sacred Heart Westport in a brilliant senior final, winning by four tries to three.
The Co Galway side had earlier overcome Colaiste Ide from Munster, St Kevins from Leinster and Enniskillen from Ulster.
Clifden Community Schools and Mercy Tuam were among the schools to contest the junior competition.



The draw has taken place of the 2018/19 Top Oil Connacht Schools Cups, which will feature the largest ever amount of competing teams in the competitions.
A record 62 teams learned their opponents at yesterday’s draw which was held at the Heineken Rugby Clubhouse at The Sportsground, prior to Connacht’s Guinness PRO14 win over Dragons.
Reigning Senior A champions Garbally have been paired alongside Colaiste Iognaid, the team they beat in last year’s decider, as well as Summerhill College. Pool 2 will be contested by Marist College, Roscommon CBS and Sligo Grammar.
Meanwhile in the Junior A Cup Marist College will defend their title with pool games against Colaiste Iognaid, Summerhill College and Sligo Grammar. Pool 2 will contain Garbally, CBS Roscommon, St Muiredachs and The Bish.
The opening pool games taking place on Wednesday 16th January. Further pool games on Wednesday 23rd and Wednesday 30th January will determine who will go on to the knockout stages.
The draw is listed below and for details on fixtures and cup structures click HERE.

Pool 1 Pool 2
Garbally College Marist College
Colaiste Iognaid CBS Roscommon
Summerhill College Sligo Grammar
Pool 1 Pool 2
Garbally College Colaiste Iognaid
CBS Roscommon Marist College
St Muiredachs Summerhill College
The Bish Sligo Grammar
Pool 1 Pool 2 Pool 3
HRC Mountbellew Yeats College Pres Athenry
Gortnor Abbey Colaiste Einde Salthill Gallen CS
St Geralds Castlebar Scoil Chuimsitheach Pres Headford
St Muiredachs Calasanctius
Pool 1 Pool 2 Pool 3
Gallen CS Rice College St Geralds Castlebar
St Marys Ballygar HRC Mountbellew Gort CS
Colaiste Einde Salthill Colaiste Bhaile Chlair Gortnor Abbey
Pres Headford Pres Athenry St Jarlaths Tuam
Pool 1 Pool 2
Lacken Cross Sancta Maria College
Clarin College Enniscrone
Abbey CC St Jarlaths Tuam
Swinford St Pauls Oughterard
Pool 3 Pool 4
St Josephs Foxford Colaiste Chiaran
Colaiste Bhaile Chlair Athlone CC
St Raphaels Clifden CS
Roscommon CC
Pool 1 Pool 2 Pool 3
Swinford St Tiernans Enniscrone
St Josephs Foxford Sancta Maria College Scoil Chuimsitheach
St Brigids Loughrea Athlone CC St Pauls Oughterard
Abbey CC Gortnor Abbey


A record number of teams will contest this season’s Top Oil Connacht Schools Cups which will be officially launched later this week.
In total there are 61 teams across 37 schools taking part in this year’s tournaments, with the opening pool games taking place on Wednesday 16th January. Further pool games on Wednesday 23rd and Wednesday 30th January will determine who will go on to the knockout stages.
The Connacht Senior Schools Cup will be contested by six teams, with Garbally College aiming to defend the crown they won last March in a 34-7 victory over Coláiste Iognáid. The win gave the Ballinasloe school their 46th outright title, making them far and away the most successful team in the competition’s history. The Senior Cup will see the teams entered into two pools of three, with the top two in each going on to the semi-finals.
The Senior Development Cup features 12 teams in three pools of four, while the Senior Emerging Cup will include a massive 14 teams.
In the Junior A Cup it’s Marist College who go in as defending champions after their victory over Garbally in last year’s decider. They’re joined by seven teams in this year’s tournament. The 11 teams in the Junior Development Cup and 10 in the Junior Emerging Cup complete this year’s entrants.
The draw for the six cups takes place this Saturday at 4.05pm in the Sportsground’s Heineken Rugby Clubhouse, prior to Connacht’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Dragons.
For the full list of competing teams and further details on the structure of this year’s tournaments click here

Next Monday marks the start of Parents in Sport Week 2018 and rugby clubs and schools across the province will be celebrating the positive role parents can play in their children’s sporting development.

Parents in Sport Week is a joint initiative between Sport Ireland and the NSPCC and is run in October every year with over 100 sporting organisations taking part in various events across the country. Its main aims are to ensure parents recognise their role in keeping children safe in sport, helping them to positively influence their child’s enjoyment and wellbeing and to encourage clubs to engage and involve parents in sport.

As a follow-on from last year’s incredibly successful Silent Sidelines campaign, which was run in conjunction with Parents in Sport Week, clubs and schools across the province will be falling silent again as parents and coaches are asked to Play Your Part – Let Them Play

Speaking about the initiative Spirit of Rugby Officer Luke Murphy said:

“The feedback we received from the young players during last season’s Silent Sidelines was phenomenally positive, they loved the freedom and ability to express themselves without fear of interjection from their coaches and spectators.”

“It can be a tough gig for coaches, especially if they are used to guiding players through every play, but the rewards can be immense, both from the enjoyment of the players, but also from the ability to get an over-view of the game and not to be micro-managing every facet of play”

This year will see a new addition with the inclusion of schools rugby across the province in the initiative and Luke is hoping to build on the positives of the recent blitz in Athlone adding:

“We ran a Silent Sidelines event part of an U14 blitz in Athlone recently and the day was a huge success. Our Coach Development Officer, Conor Galvin, organised a superb day where eight teams from across Connacht, including a team from Co Cavan got into the spirit of the Silent Sidelines event. We distributed lollypops as a fun way to engage with the parents and coaches, and to keep them quiet and it was a great opportunity for everyone to reflect on their role in the young player’s enjoyment and development”

This year’s Parents in Sport Week will be held between the 1st to the 7st October and further information on how you can get involved and support your local club or school can be found on the Child Protection in Sport’s website:


2018/19 Connacht Junior Cup Draw throws up intriguing ties

Eight nominees for the first Rugby Moment of the Season Award

Eight nominees for the first Rugby Moment of the Season Award

2 weeks ago
Triple header of Connacht Schools League Finals confirmed for next week

Triple header of Connacht Schools League Finals confirmed for next week

2 weeks ago
2018/19 Connacht Schools Leagues draw to a close

2018/19 Connacht Schools Leagues draw to a close

3 weeks ago