Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

Category: Squad News

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.

U16 Tour to Italy

The U16s squad and supporters left Galwegians on Friday morning at 2.30 am with 4 coaches Cian and Eamon Hornibrook, Niall Beatty and myself. Got through the airport shenanigans without breaking a sweat.

The party eventually arrived at the Best Western Treviso and settled in for food.

They then played a really slick regional team at 6.30 pm in freezing and wet conditions at the Ghirada Soorts Centre. The boys, though tired, put up a great fight until the second half.

Many of the new players got their chance against a well oiled machine and a somewhat confusing definition of the offside rule! Must have been the language.

Treviso ran out the winners and we joined them for food and watched the Italian match afterwards. A lovely occasion and great rugby.

On Saturday morning after a scrumptious breakfast the boys travelled to support Connacht v Treviso. It was a fantastic occasion in blazing sunshine, and what a result.

John Muldoon led his team over to us and applauded the boys: It must have been their singing. TG4 captured a few of the lads on TV also.

Next was the Ireland match at the stadium and afterwards home-made local pizza and Tiramisu in a little pizzeria beside the hotel! Perfect.

Next day was Sunday and we hit Venice for the day. A truly beautiful city and a little culture for the boys. While it was Baltic, that beast from the east did not interfere. A lovely time shopping and sight seeing. Still lost no boys!

On return, it was pasta while Niall dished out awards for various achievements to all the players in our now favorite pizza restaurant in Italy: Pasta Madre beside the hotel, run by Christian Furlan who was a life saver for us.

Finally it was the return journey on Monday again without any trouble, and a full compliment of boys (and coaches).

Before we travelled, the boys had been treated to a presentation from adventurer Gavan Hennigan and he asked them to represent us all well. They did their families, Galwegians and Ireland proud with no serious issues to contend with.

Thank you to all our parents and especially the organizing committee for all their hard work. Roll on the next trip!

Featured Squad News: U15 Girls

This year we have made history as it is the first time we have entered a full team in the Girls league at U15. So far the girls are really approaching this new endeavour with great enthusiasm. They have played 3 games including their first Home game.

History Makers: U15s first Home game at Crowley Park.

The girls are a really positive hard working bunch of players and with healthy numbers training every Tuesday evening are growing stronger every week. It is a steep learning curve up against teams and players that have played in the league for the past season or two. However the management group are very excited about the potential of this group going forward given the obvious depth of talent and the positive attitude of all the players towards learning and having FUN. Next up is Westport at home this weekend.

Last Saturday brought a very positive reward for the girls when they were invited along with Connemara, Portumna and Corianthians to play at half time in the Sportsground for the Connacht v Munster womens InterPro match. This was a really positive experience with the added bonus of a brilliant Win for the Connacht Ladies.

There has been a lot of work put in in the girls section over the past few years and this is now starting to show some good progress. In the recent Connacht U18 Interpros, Galwegians had four players in the squad. Unfortuantly we dint have the numbers to enter a squad in the U18 league this season and are still actively trying to recruit more girls to come and give it a try.

There is a vibrant Minis section training every Saturday morning and our U13 girls regularly take part in Blitzs organised around the county. Always room for more girls at all ages. So if you know someone tell them to Give it a TRY!!

Featured Squad News: U16s

U16s have had a really productive league so far currently topping the league to Ballinasloe, the form team in Connacht in recent years. We are level on points but as we beat them, we sit top.

Our League began on Sat 23rd Sept with a well earned win v’s our city rivals Corinthians. We won this game well 29:3.
We had a very narrow defeat in a cracking home match v Monivea on Sat 28th Oct. This game started well for us with a penalty after 3 mins but we conceded a try on 5 mins and we lead 6:5 at the half. Monivea scored 2 unconverted breakaway tries in the second half to lead 15:6 but we answered with a converted try in the 55th minute and that was how it finished 15:13. The rivalry continues against worthy opponents.

NUIG failed to field for a second time against us and we were awarded the points on Oct 7th.

Next up was Buccaneers on Sat 4th Nov in Galwegians. Buccs are making great progress in a rebuilding of their squad but we won out 46:0 on the day. The scoreboard does not reflect the hard battle that took place between these teams. We scored 19 points in a 12 minute period that killed the challenge completely. Buccs were unlucky not to score on more than a couple of occasions.

Our next game was Sat 12th Nov and was also at home but to Ballinasloe whom we defeated 29:27 in a real cliffhanger. That game ebbed and flowed to and from us right throughout We handed them a 13:0 start which we clawed back to 14:13 at half time. We swapped tries in the second to end up 29:27 winners.

Our last game was away to Creggs in Creggs but under Floodlights on Friday night and what an occasion that was for all of us. Creggs as always were uncompromising and skilled around the park. We were level 7:7 after 6 minutes! Creggs lead 10:7 after 12 minutes while on 16 minutes we hit the whitewash again and converted to lead 14:10. By half-time it was game on again with the scoreline reading 19:17 to Galwegians. We did pull away after a fine display in the second half to finish winners on a scoreline of 41:17.

Next up for us this weekend is our second cross pool round 7 match V Castlebar. We play in Glenina at 12 pm this Saturday. Two more matches after this and we could be in League Final for the very first time in this squads history!

In February, we will travel to Treviso to play a couple of matches and watch the Connacht match in Treviso. Fundraising for this trip is in full swing – all help so far is greatly appreciated. We owe a huge thank you to the parents of the boys who have rallied to the fundraising challenge and also to traveling away (Creggs on a Friday was tough going on families) and providing great quantities of food and real Galwegian hospitality for all our home games.

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