Galwegians RFC

Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

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Youth Academy Awards 2018-19

Galwegians is proud to congratulate the Youth Academy on another fantastic season. Thanks to all the coaches and supporters for their efforts and support. The ethos of rugby is to put the enjoyment and values of the game first, but it is also important to celebrate our achievements so congratulations to our squad award winners and the players who earned representative honours.

Squad Awards

  • U13 Black Boys
    • Most Improved Player: Alex Bleahen
    • Players Player of the Year: Rory Gavin
    • Player of the Year: Dara Counihan
  • U13 Blue Boys
    • Most Improved Player: Colm Marnell
    • Players Player of the Year: Conor Gibbs
    • Player of the Year: Luca Danjou
  • U14 Girls
    • Most Improved Player: Anna Keady
    • Players Player of the Year: Caitlin O’Hara
    • Player of the Year: Rebecca Hastings
  • U14 Boys
    • Most Improved Player: Fionn O’Rourke
    • Players Player of the Year: Jamie Cunningham
    • Player of the Year: Iarla Collins
  • U15 Boys
    • Most Improved Player: Eoghan Harlowe
    • Players Player of the Year: Colin Counihan
    • Player of the Year: Aidan Crowe
  • U16 Girls
    • Most Improved Player: Holly Taylor
    • Players Player of the Year: Sinead Black
    • Player of the Year: Rosa O’Connor
  • U16 Boys
    • Most Improved Player: Jack Kennedy
    • Players Player of the Year: Andrew Sherlock
    • Player of the Year: Kieran Park
  • U17 Boys
    • Most Improved Player: Benjamin Hynes
    • Players Player of the Year: Daragh Kennedy
    • Player of the Year: Tadhg Melville
  • U18 Girls
    • Most Improved Player: Laura Hastings
    • Players Player of the Year: Ruby Lynch
    • Player of the Year: Ellen Greally
  • U18 Boys
    • Most Improved Player: James Reynolds
    • Players Player of the Year: Liam Smyth
    • Player of the Year: Tomas Gillanders

Recognition of Achievements

  • International Cap, U18 Clubs v Italy: Conor O’Shaughnessy
  • Interprovincial U18 Winners: Conor O’Shaughnessy, Jack Power, Edward Skekete
  • Interprovincial Call Up U17: Millar Yule, Garvin Surlis, Edward Shekete, Darragh Kennedy, Joe Agbo, Gary Lally, Zak Rather, Darragh Creighton, Andrew Sherlock
  • Interprovincial Call Up U16: Nicky Pfeiffer, Dylan Keane, Mark O’Connor, Andrew Sherlock, Patrick Nash

Galwegians announce Andrew Browne as Head Coach for 2019/20

Galwegians RFC have just announced the appointment of former Connacht Player Andrew Browne as their new head coach for upcoming 2019/20 season.

Andrew comes with huge experience from his time with Connacht and is being joined by current Connacht player Tiernan O’Halloran, who will take on the role as assistant coach.

Current Strength & Conditioning coach Jarlath Naughton will complete the coaching ticket.

The city based club have gone through a turbulent few years, but are excited at the appointment of the new coaching team and, according to Club President Michael Tarpey, are looking forward to what the future holds “We are delighted to have Andrew on board as our coach, particularly as he was a former player here and has strong family connections with the club. The addition of Tiernan O’Halloran is also a massive coup for us and we really feel that this can be the beginning of a successful period in our club”.

Andrew Browne said, “I am really excited to be taking up this new role as head coach with Galwegians RFC and am relishing the Challenge that the position brings. Galwegians has a proud history and Im looking forward to being part of its future and developing as a coach myself. Joining me will be current Connacht player Tiernan O’Halloran and former Galwegian stalwart Jarlath Naughton, both of whom bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, along with a desire to succeed and bring the club on to the next level.”

Galwegians RFC can also confirm that outgoing Senior Coach Brian McClearn will be taking over the helm with their U20s next season. Sincere thanks to Brian for all his efforts over a very difficult three years and the club is delighted to see him remaining involved in the club. 

This Is Your Club – Galwegians, 1957

Harry Blake Is Still There – After 34 years

Without Harry Blake there would have been be no Galwegians Rugby Club. He helped to start the club 34 years ago – and he’s still with them today.
So Harry Blake was the man I wanted to tell me the story of Galwegians. One bright moring I drive up to the Blake home, a country mansion that look sout over Galway Bay.

Harry was ill. His wife took me to his bedroom and there he was, sitting up in bed and talking rugby with Jack Deacy and Sean Healy.

Talking with them took me back into Galwegians history. They told me how the club was formed, of the early struggles to keep the game alive and of the wonderful progress over the past years.

Courageous

There were three clubs in Connacht in the season 1921-22 – University College Galway, Galway Town, and Sligo – and Galway Town wereon the way out. Out they went the following season.

Harry Blake and a few pals decided that the game must go on in teh city – so they formed Galwegians. It was a corageous decision – and one they never regretted. Today the club has five teams with players ranging from schoolboys to seniors.

The Seniors went on tour to France in November and the Juniors have fixed a tour to the Isle of Man at Easter. It will be financed by the tour fund they have among the players.

After the war, Galwegians made a great effort to boost rugby in teh West. They brought over, at their own expense, the famous Vikings side, but the match was a financial flop.

Undismayed, they have continued to bring over many famous touring sides. And rarely have they had to call on guest players, so rich is the quality of Galway rugby talent.

Galwegians are Connacht Cup holders and they have won it eight times in all. Starting in 1926 they won the Cup four times in a row.

Racing Club de France were greatly impressed by Galwegian playing standards – and their hospitality – when they visited the West. They wanted to repay the Irishmen for a wonderful time.

That’s why Galwegians were in France in November. That’s why the French International trial was cancelled so that a really strong team could be fielded against the boys from Galway.

In recent seasons Galwegians have had eight, nine, ten and even 12 players in the Connacht team.

Connacht fielded three internationalis for the first time against Munster in Cork in October. They were Dickie Roche, Charlie Lydon and Brendan Guerin – all from Galwegians.

Galway folk have another international in their team. Latest to join the elite is Tony O’Sullivan, club captain and one of the best lock forwards in Ireland.

Galwegian players have given the club prominence by their performances on the field and by the quality of their rugby. But we must not forget the backroom boys who have steered the club through difficult times, the men who today are playing their part in the affairs of teh Union, branch and club.

Seen club rise

Harry Blake has been president of Galwegains since 1928. He has seen the club rise from a shaky start 34 years ago to its present status. galway folk will always remember Harry Blake.

They will also remember Henry Anderson, one of Harry Blake’s ablest assistants in the early days. He was Connacht’s first rugby international and their first president of the Irish Rugby Football Union.

The club has given many splendid men to the administrative side of the game. Johnny Glynn is junior vice president of the Union and secretary of Connacht branch. Harry Blake and Chris Crowley are on the committee of teh Union and Chris is treasurer of the branch.

Jack Deacy represents Galwegians on the Connacht branch. Gerry Dodd is secretary of the club, with Jack Fitzgerald as treasurer.

Gerry Dodd helped to make an unusual record for Galwegains last season. He gave his 14 stone odd to the second row of thejunior team and was supported by 22 stone Des Dempsey. A second row of nearly 37 stone … Can you beat that?

U13s in hard fought weekend of rugby

Busy Saturday for Galwegians u13 Last weekend. Blacks kicked off in the first round off the cup in Ballinasloe.

Ballinasloe, who were a relative unknown quantity as they were playing in tje B league, got off to a good start after showing they were not going to be a pushover with a few turnovers and eventually a try following a kick chase. They failed to convert.

The Blacks upped the tempo and out half Dara Counihan set up a nice try after a cross field kick ably received by winger Sean Murphy which Counihan also converted.

Jack Kennedy then crossed the whitewash to make it 12: 5 to Wegians at the break.

Ballinasloe came back strongly after the break and edged closer to Wegians after a try 10:12.

However, a strong last quarter from the Galwegian Blacks including a try from no 8 Ben O’Dwyer which was converted by Dara Counihan left it 10:19 to Wegians at the final whistle.

The Blacks now face local rivals Corinthians on the 9th March in the next round.

The coaching team had to quickly relocate to Castlepark after the Ballinasloe fixture and the blues were facing Buccaneers in their first round match at 3.30pm.

The Blues were very light on numbers for the game with only three substitutes on the bench and 6 players missing.

The Blues put in a very solid performance in the first half with Colm Marnell powering through the Buccaneers defence for a try after several attempts to make it 7 points to Wegians following a John Graddich conversion.

Despite Buccaneers abrasive playing style and a strong wind in their favour it was 7: 5 to wegians at the break.

The light numbers took their toll in the second half, with the forwards putting in a big shift to resist the Buccaneers attacks and Buccs eventually breaking through for a converted try.

The Blues pushed hard in attack and were unlucky with the bounce of the ball following several kicks deep into Buccs half. Despite the gallant effort from the Blues with astounding performances from the entire team, the clock eventually ran out with a final score of 7:12 for Buccs.

The Blues now face Tuam or Ballina in the Plate on the 30th match.

Mickey Heaslip RIP

We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing on Tuesday morning 19th February of former Club Captain and President Michael Heaslip.

A Galwegian to the core, Mickey was something of a legend who gave a lifetime of stellar service to our club both on and off the pitch. He will be sorely missed by his family and many friends.

Funeral arrangements are as follows: Removal Thursday 21st Feb. reposing at An Cillín, Immaculate Mary Queen Church, Barna from 5-7pm. Service Friday 22nd at 11am in Barna.

There will be a guard of honour by club members.

U13s test themselves in Munster

The U13 Blue team travelled to Old crescent on Sunday last with almost a full squad for the first time in a while.

The game kicked off in damp conditions on the main pitch in Old Crescent with a large crowd watching from the clubhouse. A big physical Crescent side gave the blues some trouble at the breakdown initially but the boys found their feet and once the ball hit the wings the pace of full back Paul Sharkey delivered a first try under the posts. This was converted by Callum Elwood back once again in the familiar role of no. 10.

A further period of pressure by Galwegians after the restart with the pack including John Gibbs, Mathew Harty, Sam Guillfoyle, Senan Flynn and Colm Marnell making big gains up the centre. A final big carry by Colm Marnell right under the crescent posts was finished by Conor Gibbs and once again converted by Callum Ellwood.

An extended period of pressure by Crescent despite a solid wegians defence with big tackles by Mossy Fitzgerald, Jamie Connolly and Eanna Mac Mahon eventually resulted in a Crescent try.

After the first of the half time periods and some changes to the wegians side including Will Mahon in the pack and a blood substitution for scrum half Luka Danjou through the introduction of Michael Hussey on the wing and replacement scrum half Padraig Conole moving to no 9 from the wing, Wegians held out an extended period of Crescent pressure with some accurate clearance kicks by the no 10.

One of these was capitalised on by Hussey after a great chase and tackle which resulted in a turnover and an eventual try by Alex Brown who was excelling in the centre. This was converted despite being close to the touchline by young Ellwood.

The Blues including replacement full back Charlie Conneely kept crescent scoreless for the remainder of the third.

With the introduction of Ryan Murphy and Brendan O Gorman on the wing, Cian O Shaughnessy in no 5 along with the reinstatement of Danjou and Sharkey after the final break Galwegians gave a fine display of attacking and defensive rugby despite the strong pressure from the crescent side and only conceded one un converted try in the final third.

A great result against a strong side and a great experience for the entire squad in the run up to the cup first round in late February . Many thanks to our kind hosts who will travel to Glenina to play the Black team in March.

The U13 Black team are up next against Monivea next Sat 9th Feb in the eagerly anticipated final fixture of the U13 League.

U13s finish year in style

Despite the dire forecast the U13 Blues team enjoyed dry and bright conditions for their final game of 2018 against Westport last Saturday.

The game opened with a try by no 10 John Graddich which he also converted. Next it was a try from a blistering run from winger Alex Brown which was ably converted again by the out half despite the blustery conditions. The Wegians defence was solid throughout the half, with Westport rarely breaking through the blues defensive line.

Hooker Mossy Fitzgerald, flankers Jamie Connolly and Eanna McMahon and number 8 John Gibbs were all very solid in defence. John Graddich crossed for another try at 15 minutes in and then it was the turn of the full back Paul Sharkey who crossed twice before the break after some lovely passing from the remainder of the back line, including centres Conor Gibbs, Michael Hussey and winger Donncha Ganly.. John Graddich finished his kicking duties after his 5thconversion in the first half, an excellent outcome considering the blustery conditions.

After the break and whilst adjusting to some changes to the backline, the Blues conceded a Westport try which was greeted with great celebrations by the visiting side. Normal service resumed however when scrum half Luca Danjou crossed for a try which was converted by his fellow Kinvaraman Charlee Conneely. Alex Brown showed his amazing turn of speed once again shortly after with another try. Paul Sharkey completed his hat trick with a third try which was converted by the now calibrated boot of Conneely.

The replacements showed their defensive abilities with strong tackles by both replacement wingers Brendan O’Gorman and Ryan Murphy denying Westport any gains on the outside. Colm Marnell, playing out of position as a prop due to injuries to the normal front rows, was finally able to show his speed from a standing start and crossed for a try after a direct run through several defenders . Kicking duties fell to replacement full back Shane Moriarty who ably converted .

Finally it was the turn of Luca Danjou who sniped over for another try which he converted himself. All in all a very strong performance from the Blues with a lovely display of fluid running rugby.

The U13s take a well-earned break from their final training session on Saturday before the big home derby of Blue vs Black on the 12th of January.

U13 Blacks fair better than All Blacks

The U13 Blacks team took to the field against Corinthians, ably captained by Luke Casserly, on Sunday last in Glenina. Kick off was brought forward to 3.15pm with concerns about the dying light in the second half, but the bright low winter’s sun and blue sky made for perfect rugby playing conditions. Young Casserly wisely chose to keep the blinding sun at their backs in the first half.

The first half kicked off and fast free flowing play ensued. The Blacks held excellent field position from the outset in no small part to some strong play in the front row by Evan Cunningham, Michael Dolan and Jack Kennedy. The second row saw a new partnership of Cillian O’Donovan and James Keane who were quick to clear out the rucks. Alex Bleahen impressed with his first start at wing forward and was balanced well by Jason Mullins on the open side. Ben O’Dwyer continued to make ground straight up the middle of play at No. 8 causing the Corinthians defence all kinds of problems.

The forwards created a strong platform for Charlie Valentine at scrum half who was able to unleash Darragh Counihan at outhalf and Sean Murphy at first centre. Captain Casserly was a rock of defence at second centre and the back three was made up of Michael Brosnan and Christopher Callinan on the wings. Stevie Parkinson was as always solid in defence and deadly in attack at full back.

The Blacks went in at half time three tries to one up including a stunning cross field kick from Counihan (a quickly taken penalty), which was collected with ease by Chris Callanan and dotted down in the corner.

The Corinthians squad nearly had the makings of an entire second team while the Blacks bench was smaller than usual due to some withdrawals. But the Blacks substitutions of Niall O’Donoghue, Louis O’Connor , Eanna Hillary and Colm Saughnessy ensured that the Blacks finished strongly with a late fourth try after fresh Corinthians legs from their genrous bench managed to score two tries in a third quarter purple patch for the away team. The Blacks fourth and winnnig try came from a powerful run from the halfway line by No.8 Ben O’Dwyer (Noel Mannion would have been proud of it).

U13 Blues head for Creggs on Sunday next eager for game time as an exciting Blues v Blacks match looms on the league calendar.

U13 side both in Connacht League action

U13 Blue v Buccaneers

Galwegians U13 Blue hosted Buccaneers in Crowley Park on Saturday. The torrential downpour during the warmup ceased just before kick-off but was replaced by a very strong wind. Galwegians Captain Senan Flynn elected to play into the wind for the first half and the weather conditions and a very physical Buccaneers side tested their defence in the first half.

The boys held most of the pressure up well apart from a single try for Buccs under the posts.  The team were hopeful of reversal of fortunes in the second half with the now fading wind on their side. It was not to be however as a few holes in the Wegians defence were found by a hard running Buccs side.

The Blues fought on however and some hard drives  by Colm Marnell  and others and finally after about 40 phases of play under the Buccs posts including hard work by Scrum half Luca Danjou efforts  were  rewarded by an eventual touchdown by John Gibbs. This was ably converted by John Graddich.

U13 Black v Sligo

Galwegians u13 Black were on the road this week against Sligo on Sunday.

Playing against a strong wind off the Atlantic as usual in Strandhill the Black team had a solid first half conceding just 12 points against a physical Sligo side.  Cillian o Donovan touched down for a  well deserved try for Galwegians leaving it 5: 12 at the break.

With a half gale at their back Galwegians opened up on their hosts with a display of real skill with some lovely running rugby.  Try’s from Ben o Dwyer (2)  Daragh Counihan (1) and Caleb Fleetwood (1)  which were all ably converted by the boot of young Counihan resulted in an outstanding victory of 33 points to 12 for the Blacks.

It’s a break from games for both teams now for a week   with the next fixtures against Creggs for Blues and a local derby against Corinthians for the Blacks on the 17thof November

Featured Squad: U13s Double Duty Day

U13 had a busy day of rugby on Saturday Oct 20th with the Blues kicking off in Corinthians park at 12 o’clock

The Blues took a little while to find their feet but eventually produced a lovely try after a strong carry by John Graddich. This was ably converted by Calum Ellwood. After a period of solid defence from the Blues against a threatening Corinthians attack, Conor Gibbs dotted down a hard fought try which was also converted by the boot of young Elwood.

Corinthians came back strongly at this stage and ex Galwegians player Darragh Kearney broke through to score a lovely Corinthians try, despite the best efforts of the Wegians defence. After the restart John Graddich showed a clean pair of heels to dot down for his second try of the day. The Blues defence worked hard for the remainder of the game and resisted some strong Corinthians pressure. Some strong tackles by the forwards including John Gibbs and Eanna McMahon helped keep Corinthians to just a single try in the second half and a well-deserved victory for the U13 Blues.

The coaching team had to quickly make their way to Glenina for the second fixture of the day which saw U13 Blacks face a strong Ballina side.

Ballina got off to a good start with a try after 5 minutes, however the Blacks stepped up and equalised through the lightning pace of Dara Counihan immediately after the restart. A further try from fellow Clarenbridgeman Ben O’Dwyer followed, which was converted by the accurate boot of Counihan. Dara then completed his hat trick of tries by the end of the half, created through some hard running and impressive passing play with centres Stevie Parkinson and Sean Murphy.

After the restart Ballina made good use of possession to dot down two tries. The Blacks forward put in a hard shift due to the lack of substitutes and the front row of Michael Dolan, Dean Smith and Evan Cunningham as well as James Keane and Jack Kennedy were solid throughout the 60 minutes. Some great steals from Jason Mullins and Rory Gavin gave the Blacks some possession again, and Stevie Parkinson dotted down for a try shortly after moving into scrumhalf to replace the steadfast Charlie Valentine.

An impressive cross field kick from a penalty in a nicely choreographed move saw Sean Murphy get over the whitewash for the 6th Wegians try. Ballina crossed for a 5th try shortly afterwards, which was responded to by a further Ben O’Dwyer try assisted by centre Luke Casserly. Full back Alex Bleahen, his replacement Christopher Callanan and wingers Cillian O’Donovan, Eanna Hillary and Sean Clarke contributed to a solid Blacks defence for the remainder of the game.

So a great day’s rugby for the U13’s with two solid wins over strong sides.

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