September 30th, 2010
Connemara Rugby Club Players are back on the training and playing fields for the new season. There is a mixture of old, not so old and new performers taking part.
The first game a friendly against Monieva at Clifden was very interesting with some 25 players on each side togged out. The first session was won by Connemara and the second when all the reserves on both sides took part was easily won by Monivea.
Galwegian’s were next in the Connacht Senior League which the Galwegian’s won easily. Still Connemara had a number of new players showing promise. The next game was against Corinthians in Galway. Connemara used all their players here at some stage. They were well beaten but young players like Ian McDonagh, Jack Vaughan, Colin Reilly showed a lot of promise. Michael Aspell at full back was good as was David Keogh at scrum half, the Sweeney brothers, Emmett Ferron, Martin Coyne and MacDara Breathnach from Carna all showed promise.
So there is a hard road ahead in the All Ireland League starting against a very fine Derry on the first Saturday of October. Hopefully there will be lots of support on the Monastery Field.
This year’s main sponsor for the Connemara Club is Griffin’s Sports Bar. It is hoped to have a few functions here during the year – race nights, membership invitation evening. Anyone interested in promoting the affairs of the club should contact any members of the Fundraising & Sponsorship Committee.
Connemara rugby Football Club would like to congratulate St. Feichins, Clifden Minor Football team on their recent winning of the West Board Title and wish them well against Williamstown in the final on Sunday. Congratulations to Patrick King, Willie & John McDonagh and all the coaches who looked after these young players from childhood.
Also congratulations to Grainne Mhaols ladies football team for winning the Galway Intermediate title in Clonbur and best wishes to them and their coaches in the Connacht title race.
Matt O’Sullivan PRO
The Irish Times – Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The Blacks always go the distance.
GERRY THORNLEY on the number of difficulties facing the west of Ireland club in what will be a transitional year
ASK MATT O’Sullivan, one of the four teachers who founded Connemara RFC in 1976, what is the biggest challenge facing “the Blacks”, and he says simply: “Distance.” Clifden and the club’s picturesque home ground, the Monastery Field, is over 50 miles from Galway city. They are the western outpost of the All-Ireland League and maintaining the senior status and viability of this community-based club is a constant challenge.
O’Sullivan, a local auctioneer who has returned to the club as chief fund-raiser, explains that the club doesn’t like to hold back young players such as Tiernan O’Halloran, now in the Connacht set-up, or last season’s Connacht and Irish Youths centre John O’Brien. “A lot of our lads also move to Galway or to Dublin, to go to college or to work, and we don’t want to stand in their way.”
Having been the dominant force in Connacht junior ranks in the late 1990s, Connemara won the play-off final against Trinity at Lansdowne Road in their debut season after a high of fourth.
Now in their 10th season in Division Three, they survived by a point last season, thanks in the main to away wins against the relegated duo of Portadown and Carlow, although were safe going into the final round of games.
This season’s squad is relatively young, and they are high hopes for their hooker-cum-prop Emmet Ferons from Roundstone, a key figure in the last couple of seasons who may captain the side, and promising teenagers like prop Ian McDonagh, versatile back-five forward MacDara Breathnach and centre Jack Vaughan, who was on the Galway minor team that reached the All-Ireland Gaelic football semi-finals this summer.
But there always remains a dependency upon stalwarts such as the Keogh brothers, scrumhalf Dave, fullback Alan and lock Kevin, who, it is hoped, will resume playing before long. But centre Mark Foyle has retired.
Coming from the noticeably less competitive Connacht Senior League – which consists of only four clubs – the Blacks have conceded 30 points to both Corinthians and Galwegians in their only games to date and do not look particularly well set for the start of the league and especially the returning City of Derry, who have booked out both the Alcock and Brown and Station House Hotels for Saturday’s opening day.
As the only Connacht club in this flight, along with seven from Leinster, five from Ulster and three from Munster, they’ll be relieved to have eight games at home and seven away – the nearest of which will be Barnhall or Naas, circa 190 miles away.
“It’s always a struggle, at this time of the year especially,” admits coach Bernard Keaney. “We’re trying to get started because a lot of our guys play Gaelic football as well. Everyone’s pulling from the same well kinda.”
As with the league itself, with AIB having ended its sponsorship, Connemara have no main sponsor and are thus indebted to the backing of locals such as former player Dave Griffin and his bar, Griffins, or those who holiday there in the area, such as Dave Jameson, a well-known political figure in Northern Ireland who has a house locally.
Clifden Community School remains the main feeder to the club although according to O’Sullivan they are endeavouring to broaden their base to Carna, Carraroe and Cashel. Central to those twin ambitions is retaining their senior status and rediscovering the feel-good factor around the turn of the millennium.
At least there’s no spectre of relegation, which may be partially a mixed blessing, for as Keaney says: “We have a young side and it will be a transitional season.”
Home ground: The Monastery Field, Clifden.
Colours: All black.
Nickname: Connemara Blacks, named after a type of fishing fly.
Honours: Connacht Junior League champions 2001. Beat Trinity in Division Three play-off final at Lansdowne Road in 2002.
Final league position in Div 3 since debut season: 4th, 8th, 11th, 6th, 13th, 13th, 5th, 13th, 14th.
AIL Division three format
COMPRISED of 16 teams, this season the top four clubs will win promotion to Division Two A, while the fifth-place side will go into a promotion/relegation play-off with the last-placed side in Division Two. All four provincial junior league winners will be promoted automatically to the new Division Two B without recourse to a junior round-robin, and hence there will be no relegation from Division Three this season.
Highfield and the Reggie Corrigan-coached Greystones have come down from Division Two and will fancy their chances of bouncing back while Nenagh Ormond, with their smattering of ex-Shannon players, and Sunday’s Well will be contenders.
But the heavy favourites for promotion will be Wanderers, who have again recruited heavily. Relatively speaking they are the Manchester City of this division, with the opulent Aviva Stadium an appropriate visiting place for away sides.
Seapoint, having cut a swathe through the Leinster Junior ranks and qualifying round-robin, might be dark horses, as could the other promoted side City of Derry, a big, potent side who have scored 167 points in dispatching of Banbridge, Dungannon, Instonians and Malone thus far in the Ulster League.
September 16th, 2010
Mini Rugby training will recommence on Wednesday 22nd September 2010 at 6.30pm sharp and finishing at 8pm. As always we welcome new players and coaches. Mini rugby caters for children from 6-12 years with the emphasis being on fun while learning mini rugby skills.
For anyone interested in coaching at mini rugby level please contact Irene 087 9017406 or Peter 0876687468.
Please ensure all children are dressed in warm clothing for training and that they have a change of clothes to change into after training. Rugby boots and gumshields are compulsory.
We ask that children are picked up promptly at 8pm.