Club News

Connemara Whiskey Connacht Rugby Club Person Of The Year

April 26th, 2011


(Photo by Connacht Rugby)

Irene King Named Connemara Whiskey Connacht Club Person of the Year

Irene King of Connemara RFC was named as the recipient of the inaugural Connemara Whiskey Connacht Club Person of the Year award.  Irene was presented with an engraved Bog Oak award by Stephen Teeling, Brand Manager, Connemara Whiskey and Connacht star Michael Swift during the half-time break of the Magners League clash between Connacht and the Cardiff Blues. (K.O. 7.45pm)

The Connemara Whiskey Connacht Club Person of the Year award was launched at the start of the season to recognise individuals who have made a significant contribution to the development and advancement of their rugby club.  Be it managing or coaching teams, being involved in fundraising or club committees, maintaining the club grounds or looking after team kit. 

Irene was nominated for the award by her club after 8 years of dedication to the Connemara Blacks.  During this period she has served as Hon. Secretary, Child Welfare Officer, Registration Officer and Minis Fundraising Officer.  Her excellent organisation and communications skills have been vital to the club’s growth and success over the past number of years while her dedication to the club goes above and beyond that of the title volunteer.

Irene received an engraved bog oak award and a hand-signed bottle of Connemara Peated Irish Whiskey.  Connemara RFC also received a sports equipment voucher to the value of €500.

Stephen Teeling, Brand Manager, Connemara Whiskey, commented, “We are delighted to be able to present Irene with this award in recognition of her contribution to Connemara RFC.  Irene is a prime example of a local hero whose selflessness and generosity has enabled her club to thrive and be enjoyed by the whole community.”

Gerry Kelly, CEO, Connacht Rugby commented, “This is a great scheme which rewards and recognises the people who give so much time and energy to the club game throughout the province. I would encourage all clubs to support this initiative in the years to come.”
About the Connemara Whiskey Connacht Club Person of the Year Award
Each club was invited to nominate candidates from their club for the award.  Entries were submitted to the offices of Connacht Rugby and the winner was selected by a committee of Connacht Branch officials.  The winner’s club receives a €500 sports equipment voucher.

About Connemara Peated Single Malt Whiskey
Connemara Peated Single Malt Whiskey has been the official spirit of Connacht Rugby since 2009.  The multi-award winning whiskey, produced by Cooley Distillery – Ireland’s only independent whiskey distillery, is inspired by the ancient Irish distilling traditional of drying malting barley over peat fires.  Connemara is Ireland’s only Peated Single Malt.

Article and Photo from Connacht Rugby –

Park and Ride for the 7’s Tournament

April 23rd, 2011

A courtesy bus will travel back and forth from Clifden town to The Monastery Field over the course of the upcoming Connemara 7’s Tournament which will take place on the 1st, 2nd & 3rd July 2011. The courtesy bus has been kindly sponsored by Michael Nee, Connemara Coaches. Many thanks Michael for your kind sponsorship, both for the tournament and also annual sponsorship of Connemara RFC. Sponsor’s are the life blood of any club and it is very much appreciated by the tournament organisers and Connemara RFC.

The pick up and drop-off point for the courtesy bus will be at the AIB Bank on the Galway Road, opposite Topaz Filling Station. We are asking all participants to avail of the courtesy bus where possible as parking at the club grounds will be limited due to all the extra activities, marquee, bar, shop, BBQ, refreshments, entertainment etc  over the weekend.

Parking at the pitch is limited to organisers,officials, referee’s and volunteers. Any player’s, supporter’s & spectator’s  who wish to bring their own cars to the tournament are asked to park on the main road (100m) from the pitch. Traffic management will be in place and only officials, referee’s, organisers & volunteers will have parking available to them inside the Connemara RFC grounds.

7’s T&C’s

April 23rd, 2011

Connemara 7’s Tournament

Terms & Conditions

Tournament Information
The Connemara Sevens is run under Connemara Rugby Football Club (Connemara RFC), The Monastery Field, Clifden, Co. Galway, Ireland.

Refund and Returns Policy
Any refunds will be made through the Connemara RFC Treasurer. Refunds will be made in the event of an error, not in the event of a team deciding to withdraw their application subsequent to confirmation of registration and payment.

Privacy Policy

Any data collected by Connemara Sevens organisers will be handled with the utmost of care and responsibility. All information collected will be dealt with in accordance with the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003 and will not be passed on to any other third party under any circumstances.


The cost of this registration is €120 which provides:

-Competition Entry for the 2011 Event

-Weekend Pass for Players

Please Note

-All members participating on your team must be at least 18 years of age and paid up members of a rugby club

-The fee for registration is €120 per team which allows a squad of 12 people:Competition Entry for the 2011 Event & Weekend Pass for Players

•Application will not be complete until fees have been paid in full
•Management reserve the right to refuse an entry.

Discounted Accommodation For Teams Entering The Connemara 7’s

April 23rd, 2011


Below are some accommodation deals we have secured locally for teams entering the Connemara RFC 7’s Tournament. Please quote “Connemara Rugby 7’s Tournament” when making your reservation.

Station House Hotel – 095 21666 – €130pp for 2 nights B&B
Alcock and Brown Hotel
1. B&B (per person for 2 persons sharing a double room) – €45 per night (usual price €55)
2. B&B (per person for 3 persons sharing room – room contains double bed, single bed and    
    pull out bed) – €35 per night (usual price €45)
3. B&B – Single room – €65 per night.
Foyles Hotel – 095 21801 – €90 for 2 nights B&B

All the Two’s Guesthouse  – 095 22222 – €90 for 2 nights B&B

Dun Rí Guesthouse  – 095 21625 –  B&B rate of €35 pps per night
A full list of accommodation available in Clifden can be found on

If you require any help or assistance with your accommodation needs, self-catering, camping, hostels etc. please feel free to contact Irene on 087 9017406 or email and we will help you to source relevant accommodation.

PRO’s March & April Notes

April 20th, 2011


Club Person of The Year
Heartfelt congratulations to our hard working secretary Irene King Staunton who has been chosen as Connacht Rugby Connemara Whiskey Club Person of the Year. This is a well deserved honor for the mother of five, four of whom are young Connemara players, and wife of referee James Staunton. Irene’s work with Connemara RFC includes Honorary Secretary, Child Welfare Officer, Registration Officer,Mini Fund-raising, Ticket Officer, Website Administrator and online promotion of the club.

She received her commemorative plaque & signed Connemara Whiskey at half time during the Connacht – Cardiff Magners League Game on the 15th April.  We had many well wishers there to cheer her and Connacht on.  The Connemara Club also received vouchers worth €500 towards sports equipment for the club and Irene insists that this will be used towards training equipment for the mini & youth sections of the club.

Under 15’s Connemara Versus U.L Bohmenians of Limerick was a fine spectacle of rugby at the Monastery pitch on Sunday last Mothers Day, 3rd April 2011. The Connemara Ladies should be proud of their offspring in the under 15’s challenge.
All coached by John O’Halloran the 17 local lads from Recess to Lough Fee and other areas who togged and played some brilliant running rugby and scored some fabulous tries, notably John Joyce at No. 12 who collected a penalty kick on his own line and sidestepped his way to run clear at the half way line and score under the posts.
The pitch was in great condition and referee James O’Toole had no problems.  This Connemara side will hopefully stay together and represent us in the A.I.L League if Connemara manage to stay there.   They have great pride in themselves, their school and club and wearing the local All Black outfit is an honor to them.
No. 3 James O’Toole, No. 12 John Joyce Recess, No. 7 Thomas Joyce, Matthew Gavin who scored two tries, Brendan Regan, Lough Fee and Emanuel Zorei from Westport Road all scored great tries.  All the Connemara lads played extremely well.

Under 13’s

Connemara under 13’s qualified for the final of the Connacht Cup where they will played Castlebar at 12:00 on Sunday Morning 10th April.  They had played their semi-final game and won 35 -5 over Corrib.  Under 13 Connacht Final

These under 13 Connemara players should be very proud of the excellent rugby they played at Corinthian Park in the Connacht U13 Cup Final.  Though beaten 27 -15 they contributed to a great sporting occasion watched by a fine crowd of supporters.
Their parents, teachers and coaches Nigel Murray & assistant Ryan Murtagh can be very proud of them.

Unfortunately two intercept tries was the difference between the two teams.  Connemara Rugby has a bright future with these young lads around, also the progress of Oughterard and Carraroe as thriving under age centres must be appreciated.
Hopefully at senior level these sides will complement each other rather than the usual train rush to Galway Clubs every Summer.  Its up to us to initiate dialogue.
Acorns become Oaks with a bit of attention!

Connemara v Instonians

Connemara had their worst result of the season on Saturday last when they visited Instonians in Belfast and came out the wrong side of a 68 -0 defeat.
Apparently Connemara were short a number of regulars but this result reflects very badly on the club as a whole.  The Club was founded in 1974.  Other teams suffer because of our weakness and playing us does not do much for their improvement.
Hopefully the coaches for the new season will be in place soon, so they can meet the players, many of whom are very talented and plan for the new season, and get to train well before their Connacht Senior League Games.  There is no point in not preparing and then get very badly beaten.  This does damage to morale and is not giving proper respect to opposing teams.  This year many players and coaches gave lots of energy and effort for the club.  Committee members, players, supporters etc must all play their part.

Retirement:  It is very sad to hear of the retirement of Bernard Keaney as coach to Connemara due to family commitments.
Bernard was one of the first Connemara men to set the trend in the A.I.B League.  Now dozens of Connemara players have tasted this competition.  He was and still is a great coach and player and lately has played brilliantly in the Connemara colours.  He was and is also a fine Gaelic Footballer and is an incredible asset as a green keeper at Connemara Golf Links.  To Mary Anne and sons Jack, Patrick & Bernard and himself we say a thousand Thank You’s.  Bernard is a total Connemara Man and proud of it, and hopefully very soon we will be able to say a proper “Thank You“.

Ards 36-32 Connemara

Connemara could and should have won this absorbing game against Ards on Saturday, despite scoring 4 tries Connemara succumbed to defeat, although there are many positives to be taken from the game, including the two bonus points that Connemara received.
Although Connemara played attractive free flowing rugby at times during the game they missed many routine tackles and kicks which proved pivotal to the final score.
Having not attended the game it would be wrong for me to single out any particular players  for individual praise  but Bernard Keaney made a telling contribution.
 Hopefully we’ll get a good result in the penultimate three fixtures and can look forward to a new start in next year’s A.I.L.

Connemara v Ballinrobe Junior Rugby
Ballinrobe  14 Connemara 11

The second team also played well Sunday in the Connacht league against a very big and fit Ballinrobe side, who are managed by former Ireland great Noel Mannion who has done an excellent job coaching the team. Michael O’Toole at full back is continuing to improve with every outing. The evergreen’s Tomas King, Kevin Keogh and Kevin Ward continue to impress although Wardy has room to improve in order to meet his great former standards.
 There were over twenty keen local men on the pitch and with Paddy Madden, Oisin Conneely, David McHugh, Stephen Nee and all the others things are beginning to look better for our team. Over the weekend you had over forty local individuals representing Connemara, including our underage girls who done exceedingly well at an All Ireland blitz in Athlone. The young Connemara girls despite their lack of experience in comparison to their opponents performed excellently losing by the slimmest of margins to the Munster champions and won their remaining fixtures against two Leinster teams, a few of the Connemara girls also helped a Wexford team who were short for numbers. Despite being relatively inexperienced there were four Connemara girls representing Connacht against Munster in an under 17’s fixture, which it testament to the girls ability due to them all being 15 years old or younger.

John O’Halloran & Women’s Rugby

It may come to a shock to many people but women’s rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and this has caused a swell in enthusiasm for the game amongst the women of Ireland.
 With the growing trend in mind Connemara acted to set up its own women’s rugby club, along with our own club there has been similar clubs set up in numerous locations along the province, including: Westport, Ballina, Dunmore, Ballinasloe and Loughrea.
Despite our girls team being set up at the start of the 2010-2011 season, six local girls were selected to represent Connacht at under 17 level after a series of selection matches and trials, as impressive as their achievement’s are, it is added to because all of the girls are 15 or under. The young Connacht representatives play Munster this coming Saturday in the Sports Ground Galway, and further matches against Leinster and Munster are planned for the near future.  The six girls selected for the Connacht squad are as follows:
Darwyn O’Halloran
Shauna Horan
Eileen Gyandi
Katelyn Wallace
Roisin Heffernan
Ciara Hewett.

The girls are under the expert tutelage of John O’Halloran who has a wealth of sporting experience in both playing and coaching.  John has served as Connacht cycling development officer for one year and has managed both Ireland and Connacht under age cycling teams at underage level under 15’s and under 17’s. John has also been actively involved in youth rugby in the Connemara area for over six years, he is currently youth development officer for the club, which entails visiting eleven North Connemara schools promoting the game, and hopefully instilling a love for the game in the young people of Connemara.  John last year guided the under 15 boys rugby team to a third place finish in the league as well as a runner up spot in the plate.
John’s own sporting career is just as impressive having represented both Ireland and Connacht in cycling, he boasts two top twenty finishes in the Ras and is also a former Connacht time trial champion
John gives great credit to the surge in interest in the women’s game to Wendy Hickey who is a Connacht community development officer, Wendy has done sterling work in promoting the game in the province through tag rugby and coaching courses.
Race Night
Our pre Cheltenham race night was held in Griffins on Friday 11th March at 9 p.m.
Unfortunately this took away from our local Comhaltas Ceoltoiri function at the Station House.
This meeting was organized some eight weeks prior. We are encouraging all our members and supporters to contribute to the Comhaltas people who are bring the country Fleadh Ceoil to Clifden in May. We wish to thank all our sponsors and horse buyers as well as jockeys for their support, a select number of jockeys were  “weighed in” after the races.

Connacht Junior Plate
Connemara 21  Bucaneers 17
Connemara had a great win in this roaring game at Athlone on Sunday after being unlucky against Ballinrobe the previous Sunday.
Connemara with a strong wind at their backs led 7- 5 at half time thanks to a fine try by scrum – half Oisin Conneely converted by Shane Sweeney. 
A fine try in the second half by Stephen Nee who had to use his fine frame and converted by Michael O’Toole gave the visitors a good lead.  However Bucaneers came back to lead 17 -14 with ten minutes remaining.
Connemara showed good steel and composure to have continuous pressure and a fine try from Eoinn Bourke ensued.  This was converted by full back Michael O’Toole for a great victory.  Bucaneers had their full second side on the pitch.

Veterans Kevin Keogh & Bernard Keaney had notable games as well as prop Gerry King who came on in the second half.
Young John O’Brien is at home this week for a well earned rest from his exploits as full back from Bucaneers in the A.I.L and Ireland in the International Rugby Club events.

Not only was he picked for Ireland but retained his place as full back with some fine rugby.

Next Saturday Bucaneers have a vital game in Limerick.  John is the proud owner of an All Ireland Minor football medal as well as being the Connacht Interprovincial Youths Captain that beat all the provinces in the Round Robin and then won the semi beat Leinster easily at Mullingar in the final.  Connacht supporters will remember that this great achievement never got onto our air waves or into the National papers.

Johns parents are from Cork & Sligo and with his Native Connemara talent and grit has a great future in Sport.

It is good to see Tiernan O’Halloran of Connemara and Connacht back from injury and playing for Ireland against France on Saturday. He was injured a few months ago, while representing Ireland in the under 20’s World Cup. He played extremely well for Ireland last year when they won the Six Nations trophy. Aaron Conneely is also in the back row on Saturday. He is also on the Connacht senior side. His father Eamon is from Patches, Claddaghduff, and in his youth won many trophies with the Community School, Clifden. He is internationally well known from his world sailing achievement, aboard his boat “Patches”.


Gabriel Keady was in a generous mood  on an AIL Saturday when he presented a tie to the president of Sunday’s Well R.F.C.
He made a very thoughtful speech. He also presented an umbrella to Br.Vivian Cotter who coached rugby in the Community School and Connemara R.F.C since 1967.
Br.Vivian is also a treasured contributor to Connemara Community Radio.

(Submitted by Matt O Sullivan – PRO)

Connemara U13’s V De La Salle Palmerstown – Killary Challenge Cup 17th April 2011

April 17th, 2011

Connemara 36 – De La Salle Palmerstown 12

 A fantastic display of rugby was provided by both U13 teams on a glorious sunny Sunday at The Monastery Field. These young lads are a fine example of what underage rugby is all about. Pre-match team talks got underway with mentions from both camps of “Don’t think ye can walk onto that pitch and win”, “Play hard but fair”, “We want that cup to stay in the west” & “Lets take some of Connemara back to Dublin” being heard.  U13 rugby is a huge transition from mini rugby to youths rugby, having gone from short games on half pitch to a 60 minute game on a full pitch. All of the lads today have surely adapted to the changes very well. Without a doubt, all of these young players will thrive and succeed year by year as they climb the underage structure in their respective clubs.

 DLSP, on a touring weekend to the Killary Centre were provided with a challenge game by Nigel Murray’s Connemara U13 team.  The Connemara U13’s are in flying form this season, having made it to the Connacht U13 Final last week and unfortunately lost out to Castlebar.

The game kicked off with great style with some fine open rugby. As the game settled down both teams found their feet and showed some great tackling as well as some very good line breaks. Great scrummaging, great lineouts, great running, a very good game by two very enthuasiastic teams. Congratulations to Connemara’s Dylan O’Neill on getting the Man of the Match award!

BBQ & refreshments followed the game where those who battled on the field now chatted like old friends. Coaches, volunteers, parent’s and helpers bid a farewell to eachother with the hopeful promise of a return fixture next season.

Sincere thanks to Mary Young, The Killary Centre for sponsoring the Killary Cup. Also sincere thanks to Morgan O’Connor, Oughterard, and PJ Heffernan, Off the Square Restaurant, for sponsoring the fantastic BBQ for both teams, coaches & supporters after the game.

Thanks to our many Sponsors and Supporters

Sponsors Clifden Station House David Jameson Group Clifden SuperValu The Oil Company Clifden