Galwegians RFC

Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

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Advice from our club doctor regarding COVID-19

I would like to give a few bit of advice from a medical point of view to the best of my ability. I would point out that I am not an expert in epidemiology, viruses or respiratory medicine but I will do my best to try and outline what is going on, what you can do to help yourself and others and how to get through this crisis.

David Bouchier-Hayes, Galwegians Medical Doctor

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a variant of an extremely common virus which has caused respiratory infections for many years. However, the difference on this occasion is that this strain is incredibly contagious and has a significant death rate or mortality which is about 10 times that seen with the common flu.  It appears to have been transferred from the animal community, as many of these viruses are, and originated in the Wuhan region of China. Due to strong trade links in the textile industry, it found itself being transferred to Italy and other countries and then has travelled throughout the world.  

How Does It Impact Us?

It is important to remember that the vast majority of people who contracted this virus will have minimal symptoms and will recover very well. However, a number of people will be severely affected and this is especially relevant in people who are over the age of 70, with mortality rate increasing as you get older. The good news is that we are starting to see a significant drop off of the cases in China, there are medications that had been trialled which look very promising and there are also vaccines which are being inflated and investigated at present. However, there is no chance of a vaccine being available qualified for probably 12 months, unless some drastic measures are taken, which may compromise safety for those receiving vaccines in the long-term.

How Can We Prevent It?

With this in mind, in the short term the best measures are preventative. You will have heard probably of the phrase ‘flattening the curve’. The idea of this is to reduce the amount of social contact and interaction so that when the inevitable infected cases arise, they do so in numbers and over a period of time that the health care system can handle. The problem in Italy has been that the rise in affected cases has been so rapid that the health care system has been overwhelmed. I have been in touch with friends and colleagues in Italy, Asia, Seattle, Australia and Germany and the situation is very severe in Italy, with the whole health care system of the North of the country being devoted to treating people who have been affected by this virus. 

This is why ‘social distancing’ is such an important concept. An infected person will infect between 2 and 5 people.  Each of these will go on to infect between 2 and 5 people, and so on and so on, causing exponential growth. This will lead to massive numbers of infections that will also occur here unless we reduce the number of people that we come into contact with. The most effective measures to reduce social interaction are to:

  1. Stay at home.
  2. Stay approximately 6 feet away from other people as much as possible. 
  3. Reduce all activities outside of the home to an absolute minimum. That means only travelling to pick up medicines, shopping for food stuffs, or to seek medical care.  Activities such as going out to dinner, shopping for clothes, getting a haircut, going to the gym or going to any social gathering including meeting up together in someone’s home, should be avoided as much as possible
  4. Simple hand washing is the most effective way of reducing transmission.  This is much more effective than use of hand sanitiser, it is also much cheaper, and easily available in your home. 
  5.  If you have to sneeze, sneeze into a tissue and dispose of this tissue immediately. If you do not have a tissue, sneeze into your elbow. 
  6. Something that I have found helpful is to always have a pen on me. I use this for pushing buttons on lifts, pushing open doors or anything I can use it for so that I avoid touching possibly contaminated surfaces.

What if You Show Symptoms? 

If you develop a fever, or a dry cough, significant shortness of breath or begin to feel unwell, at present the advice is to contact your General Practitioner by telephone. They will decide whether you meet the criteria for testing for the virus. In the meantime you should self-isolate.

What is Self-Isolation? 

Self-isolation is recommended for anyone who believes that they may have the viral infection, or have recently been in a high risk area.  It is quite significant and you have to spend in your time in 1 single room, with meals being delivered to you to the door of the room. You should also try and use a separate bathroom from the rest of the family. It is a pretty daunting prospect, but is extremely effective.

In general, the best rule of thumb advice that I can give in relation to reducing transmission of this virus is to think you have yourself in the situation that you actually have the virus and trying not to give it to anyone else, as opposed to attempting to try and not contract the virus.  If you act as if you are contagious, you will be going a huge way forward towards reducing your risks of becoming infected.

Coping Strategies & Mental Health

Another area that is of significance is that of physical and mental well-being. The areas of keeping fit etc will be addressed by other contributors within our club, but I might give a small word in relation to mental health. This is a crisis of unprecedented proportions.  It may appear that nature and this virus has defeated us, despite our robust economies, lack of poverty and technological achievements.  However, all of these things will work very much in our favour to ensure a resolution of this crisis.  Please note that the number of recovered patients is also rising exponentially, and they will help confer immunity in our communities. 

Choose Information Sources Wisely

In the meantime, it is worthwhile trying to avoid bombarding yourself on a minute to minute basis with the ever changing details of the crisis. This will only lead to information overload and can be emotionally very difficult to handle. Take a break from social media, and try and concentrate on something else. I would recommend reading a book, binge watching that Netflix series that you wanted to watch, or playing games like Sudoku etc.  

Social media will convince you that the end of the world is upon us, if you let it. I would also only put trust in information sources that you respect and can trust.  I would listen to the WHO, and in particular, Dr. Michael Ryan, who is a no-nonsense Galwayman, who is at the forefront of defeating viral outbreaks for the last 25 years.  He is a straight talking, incisive man of action, and watching him on line will give you confidence that everything that can be done is being done. Also listen to the HSE.  They are coordinating the national response, and have many hard-working dedicated people there. There is not a huge conspiracy out there to ‘cull’ part of the population, nor was this a Chinese manufactured biological weapon.  It is a tiny, sub microscopic virus, with no innate will power or purpose.

Positive Social Interaction

While the dangers of social media are very apparent, I would also advise keeping in touch with each other. This can be done through telephone communication, WhatsApp groups, Facetime or any number of video communication applications that can be run off your phone or computer.  Humans do need some sort of social interaction, and to see other human faces and this is one sensible way of doing this. I would ask people to call their parents, grandparents and other loved ones regularly, and to keep in touch with neighbours, especially those who are older and live on their own and may be very frightened. 

A Hopeful Future?

To finish, I would like to point out that there is significant hope out there.  We are at the early stages of something that we cannot predict, but with everyone coming together, we can improve the outcome. Those of us involved in Healthcare will be dedicating ourselves over the next few weeks to make sure that this will come to pass. I myself have signed up with the HSE as a volunteer for when the system starts to come under pressure.  All of us involved in Healthcare got into this line of work primarily to help our fellow man. It is in a time of crisis like this that I believe that you will see the best response possible from us in the true traditions of medicine and nursing throughout the ages, and I promise you that we will do our very best to get through this crisis with as little damage as possible. 

How Can We Help?

Any of you with organisational skills, or simple enthusiasm can sign up as a volunteer via the HSE website. And when you are asked in 15 years time, ‘Dad/Mum, what did you do when the world was going down the tubes in 2020?’, you can say ‘I tried to help’.  No one can ask any more of you than that.  It is also a good way to fill your time during this lock down period.  I would finally say that, in time, this virus will recede, and we will pick up the pieces, and the bar will reopen, and rugby will go on.  And when it does, we will all be supporting our club with a new sense of pride and camaraderie that we all got through this together.  Stay well, my friends, and feel free to contact me by text or WhatsApp on 0868578222 if you need any help or guidance, and I’ll do what I can.

David Bouchier-Hayes, Galwegians Medical Doctor

Advice from the HSE regarding COVID-19

The IRFU has provided the following advice and attached posters for the corona virus (COVID-19).

Do

  • Wash your hands properly and regularly
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze.
  • Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs

Don’t

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Wash your hands

  • After coughing or sneezing
  • After toilet use
  • Before eating
  • Before and after preparing food
  • If you are in contact with a sick person, especially those with respiratory symptoms
  • If your hands are dirty
  • If you have handled animals or animal waste

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, phone your GP or local emergency department (ED) without delayDo not go to your GP or ED. Phone them first. If you do not have a GP, phone 112 or 999. Tell them about your symptoms. Give them the details about your situation.

Avoid contact with other people by self-isolating.

LK Shields Solicitors announces sponsorship of Galwegians Rugby Football Club

LK Shields is proud to support one of Connacht and Ireland’s leading rugby clubs

LK Shields Solicitors is delighted to announce our appointment as lead sponsor of Galwegians Rugby Football Club.  This sponsorship further reflects our growing commitment to the region.  Galwegians is one of Connacht and Ireland’s leading rugby clubs with an active community of over 700 players and members.  It is a club with exciting plans for the future and, with an emphasis on supporting and developing young talent, it is an ideal partner for the firm. 

LK Shields is guided by the principles of access, opportunity and inclusion and we see all three of these values mirrored in the Galwegians male and female teams at every level.  Their vision for the future development of all players and the club is one which we share.

Commenting on the announcement, Michael Kavanagh, Chairman, LK Shields Solicitors said:  

“Galwegians are a leading club in the west of Ireland.  With a commitment to developing young talent and with an exciting vision for the future, I see real parallels between LK Shields and Galwegians.  As we continue to grow our team in Galway I am excited to see us partnering with such an impressive club and we look forward to supporting them in realising their ambitious plans for growth and development.”

Padraig Moran, President of Galwegians Rugby Football Club, said: 

“We are delighted to welcome LK Shields on board as the main sponsor of Galwegians Rugby Football Club. Like most sports clubs we are a voluntary organisation, and sponsorship is a vital source of funding to help us field over 20 rugby teams.  LK Shields is a successful and ambitious organisation who are committed to Galway, having opened their office in Dockgate last year. This makes them ideal partners for Galwegians RFC, and I would sincerely like to thank them and especially their Chairman and Galway native Michael Kavanagh.”

About LK Shields

Established in 1988 and with offices in Dublin, Galway and London, our firm has over 100 legal professional staff and a total of 150 employees.  We help our clients achieve their strategic commercial objectives and proactively advise them on harnessing new opportunities as they arise.  We are committed to adding value both in terms of business success and also through superior service to our national and international clients.  To find out more visit www.lkshields.ie.

For more information please contact: Emer Craig, Marketing and Communication Manager, LK Shields
E: T: +353 1 6385882

L. to R: Niall Beatty, Director of Development – Galwegians RFC; Cathal Hestor, Solicitor – LK Shields; Rory Gaffney – Galwegians RFC; Michael Kavanagh – Chairman – LK Shields; Padraig Moran, President – Galwegians RFC
L to R: Carl Blake, Junior Vice-President – Galwegians RFC; Cathal Hester, Solicitor – LK Shields; Ryan Lomas – Galwegians RFC; Michael Kavanagh, Chairman – LK Shields; Andrew Browne, Head Coach – Galwegians RFC
L. to R.: Carl Blake, Junior Vice-President – Galwegians RFC; Cathal Hester, Solicitor – LK Shields; Rory Gaffney – Galwegians RFC; Michael Kavanagh, Chairman – LK Shields; Ryan Lomas – Galwegians RFC; Padraig Moran, President – Galwegians RFC; Andrew Browne, Head Coach – Galwegians RFC; Niall Beatty, Director of Development – Galwegians RFC
L. to R.: Cathal Hestor, Solicitor – LK Shields; Rory Gaffney – Galwegians RFC; Michael Kavanagh – Chairman – LK Shields; Ryan Lomas – Galwegians RFC; Padraig Moran, President – Galwegians RFC

IRFU Concussion Reporting Letter

Dear All

As we have received a number of queries about concussion in the AIL I am emailing to outline the process by which concussions are reported to the IRFU (via the referees) and to provide each club with all the information they need to clear a player from a suspected concussion that has been reported to us.

Please ensure that this email is forwarded to all doctors and physios who work with your AIL team (men’s and women’s teams), especially on match days.

Please note that players who suffer from a suspected concussion should be removed from the field of play and must not return that day. Please see www.irishrugby.ie/concussion for information on recognising and managing concussion and for return to play guidelines.

All concussions should be reported by the team physio or doctor via the IRFU Injury reporting system (https://www.irishrugby.ie/playing-the-game/medical/injury-reporting/). This is a separate system to the referees reporting. 

Please find attached:

  • The process for reporting concussions in the AIL
  • The letter that you will receive (by email) when a referee reports that a member of your AIL team was removed with suspected concussion. This letter outlines how this player can be cleared to play if your medics believe that he/she did not suffer from a concussion.

The referee reporting system and the appeal system apply only to All-Ireland League matches and not to other competitions.

Kind regards 

Mairéad Liston

New Club Sponsor: LK Shields

We are delighted to announce LK Shields Solicitors as our main club sponsor.

We will formally announce this new and exciting sponsorship in the coming days, but we would first and foremost like to inform you our members.

Established in 1988 and with offices in Dublin, Galway and London, LK Shields Solicitors has over 100 legal professional staff and are one of Ireland’s leading corporate and commercial law firms.

They opened their offices in Dockgate on Dock Road in late 2018 and from here they service national and international companies located in the western region.

LK Shields have agreed to become the main sponsor of Galwegians RFC for an initial 5-year period.

Our particular thanks to Chairman of LK Shields and Galway native Michael Kavanagh, and we would like to warmly welcome them on board.

We would also like to acknowledge and thank our main sponsor of recent years, Cold Chon, for their loyal support of Galwegians.

Message from IRFU President, Nicky Comyn

Nicky Comyn

On my own behalf and on behalf of the IRFU, I extend my best wishes to Galwegians RFC  for the 2019-20 season and hope it is a successful one.   

The start of this season heralds the staging of the Rugby World Cup in Japan and I know you join with me in wishing every success to coach, Joe Schmidt, and his management team, together with the Ireland playing squad.   

This Rugby World Cup year creates a very busy season, taking account of Ireland’s women 15s team; the under 20s; men’s and women’s sectors; the fortunes of our provincial clubs in the Guinness Pro14 and Heineken Champions Cup and also the myriad club, women’s, third level and schools competitions through the grass roots landscapes. 

While by its nature the professional game takes precedence on the International stage, the welfare of the domestic amateur game is of paramount importance to me and to the IRFU.  

Having been chairman of the AIL and Third Level, I am acutely aware of the position of clubs and I take this opportunity to acknowledge the committed and critical role being played by our huge number of volunteers, who make it all happen.   

I greatly welcome the IRFU’s signing of a five year partnership with Energia, which sees the electricity and gas supply company become the official energy partner to Irish rugby and also title sponsor of both the men’s and women’s All Ireland League competitions. 

This year is the 30th anniversary of the AIL and the support being demonstrated by Energia is timely. It will hopefully give a lift to all clubs in the AIL, both men and women. 

I appreciate the struggles of some clubs at all levels and hope this season 2019-20 will be a special one.  I wish your club, its members, volunteers, players and supporters every success and enjoyment for the rugby year.

Nicky Comyn, President IRFU.

Message from AIL Sponsor, Energia

We at Energia are extremely proud to have further strengthened our commitment to Irish rugby by becoming the Official Energy Partner to the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and title sponsor of the Energia All-Ireland Leagues (AIL). Through our five-year partnership, we are committed to supporting rugby at all levels through the teams, clubs and competitions the breadth of the nation. 

Energia understands the value of the AIL and the importance of fostering and nurturing Irish rugby clubs so that collectively we can continue to build world-class international teams. We look forward to working closely with the IRFU over the coming years to help facilitate the future development of rugby in communities up and down the country through our new campaign #PositiveEnergy.

Through the #PositiveEnergy campaign, we will be offering tools and supports to help Irish rugby clubs reach their sustainability goals. For so many players and fans, the journey and passion begins at their local club and Energia wants to ensure the future of these clubs. If we can help them to become sustainable, the clubs can re-invest in grassroots, ultimately developing the next generation of players, coaches and volunteers.  

This is an exciting time for Energia.  We are passionate about investing positive energy in rugby, from grassroots level with the Energia All-Ireland Leagues, to provincial level as the Official Energy Partner of Leinster Rugby and our stadium at Energia Park, all the way to the highest level of the Irish Men’s and Women’s teams.

On behalf of Energia, I would like to wish all club and international teams the very best of luck for the upcoming season. 

Gary Ryan, Managing Director, Energia Customer Solutions

Morgan Codyre Q&A

Morgan Codyre at Out Half for Galwegians Firsts

When did you first start playing rugby?

I joined Na Bairneachai for a year when I was 9, then took a break for a few years.

When did you join Galwegians?

I was 13.

Why did you join Wegians?

My uncle, Tim had played here. A lot of my school friends were up here too.

What are you Career Highlights to date?

Winning the Connacht Schools Senior Cup with the Jes in 2016 was pretty special. Getting a couple of caps for the Connacht Eagles while I was in the sub-academy was cool too.

Were you always a 10?

Not always. I was quite small when I was younger, so I played mostly at scrum-half until I was around 16. I haven’t strayed from out-half too often since then.

Your Favourite Player or Role Model You Look Up to?

I couldn’t name one person in particular. A few coaches and teammates have had a big impact on my playing and coaching.

What does your CCRO role involve?

CCRO is Connacht Community Rugby Officer. I’m a support coach for the youth academy, so I’d be in Glenina each evening and at the weekends helping different coaches and age groups. I also work with the underage Connacht squads throughout the year.

What are your career plans?

For now, I have my eyes set on coaching professionally. I’m studying sports science, though, so I’ll probably end up unemployed!

Your goals and ambitions for this season and beyond?

After missing the last year through injury, my main goal is to get back on the pitch and hopefully get a good run of games. If we can consolidate our position in AIL 2B this year, then we can start to build towards climbing back up the divisions over the next few seasons.

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

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?

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