This was a good win for Connemara away from home in very windy conditions. Missing 1st choice scrum half Michael O’Toole through injury meant cause for concern but Eoin Bourke his replacement slotted in seamlessly. Ballinasloe were first on the scoreboard in the opening minutes after Connemara were penalised for offside, Kealin O’Neill slotting over for 3 points.The game ebbed & flowed for the next 16 minutes when Connemara upped their game and against the wind played for terrirtory by kicking two penalties to touch. They profited from this game plan when full-back Jack Vaughen crossed the line for the games first try, unfortunately Shane Sweeney missed the conversion. With their pride dented Ballinasloe rallied and a well worked move from the pack resulted in Jamie Kelly sneaking in for a well earned try with no extras. Shane missed a penalty after twenty minutes with the blustery conditions not helping his effort. Ballinasloe scored their second try of the match with a wonderfully worked move, after winning a clean lineout out half Kealin O’Neill cleverly kicked to the right hand touchline, the ball was gathered by Darragh Burke who touched down for 5 points with no conversion added. With the score now 13-5 to the home side Connemara were never going to lie down and after some intricate passing across the back line Eoin Kilkenny sauntered through a slack defence to score his team’s second try with Shane adding the conversion to leave the travelling side a point behind going into the break but aided by a strong wind in the second half.
As per the first half Ballinasloe came out with all guns blazing and they stopped the visitors gaining any sort of rhythm. As one Ballinasloe said ” Connemara’s possession and swagger against a defensively defiant Ballinasloe” was the theme for the second half. With the minimal score between the two sides the win was there for the taking.Playing with a strong breeze Shane Sweeney came close with two penalties (54″ & 63″) before he got all his calculations right in the 67″ and calmly put his next attempt straight between the uprights. Wth Connemara now having a one score advantage Ballinasloe regathered and although having a man in the sin bin they attacked the visitors line. After a marauding maul in the 77″ the home side crossed the Connemara line but the referee deemed the ball was held up. With their confidence high now Ballinasloe kept up the pressure and were awarded a kickable penalty in the final few seconds of the game but unfortunately for their kicker the wind or lack of it put him off and Connemara escaped with the points. Another plus was to see the Heanue brothers back in full flow after weeks out with injuries.
These two sides will have the opportunity to entertain us all over again at the same venue when they meet three weeks hence. This time it will be in what is undoubtedly the tie of the first round of the Heineken Connacht Junior Cup. Another cracker should be in store.
BALLINASLOE: A.Mannion, D.Burke, C.Johnston, R.Cullinan, Cian Loughrey, K.O’Neill, J.Kelly, J.J.Carey, A.O’Hara, T.Dolan, N.Staunton, H.Reynolds, A.Loughrey, K.Headd(capt), J.Hayes. Replacements: G.Donnellan, M.Harrigan, K.Gavin, D.Freeman, R.Keller.
CONNEMARA: J.Vaughan, E.Kilkenny, I.Heanue, D.McDonagh(capt), P.O’Toole, S.Sweeney, E.Burke, E.Conroy, A.Pryle, K.Barry, M.Faherty, N.Staunton, T.J.Berry, K.Keogh, B.Gibbons. Replacements: C.Reilly, D.Heanue, D.McHugh, B.O’Toole, D.Clancy.
REFEREE: D.Connolly (Connacht Branch)
Connemara RFC Table Top Clash
Connemara RFC J1 Team take on Monivea RFC in a vitally important winner takes all table topping match at the Monastery Field Clifden next Sunday K.O. 2.30. The result of this match will highly influence the Connacht represntative in the Round Robin stages for qualification to the AIL league.
We are asking for the people of Connemara & suporters of Connemara Rfc to show their appreciation & support for the lads by turning up next Sunday and being that “EXTRA MAN” in what could be another momentous occassion in Connemara RFC’s history.
Good luck to Eddie , Gerry , Joe , Gerard & the lads from the rest of us at Connemara RFC.
Following this massive fixture Connemara have two remaining league games against Galwegians & Ballina and a junior cup tie against Ballinasloe all of which are away from home so it is going to be a hectic few weekends for the team.
Under 18’s & J2 Teams
Last Sunday’s other rugby games proved to be amixed bag for the club. Our Under 18’s were sadly beaten 36-10 by a very big, strong & well drilled Galwegian side at Glenina in the semi-final of the Connacht League. Connemara players and coaches can be very proud as they had a number of excellent wins during their league campaign Corinthians at home & Sligo away among others.
Our seconds continued their impressive form against Portmna at the Monastery Field on Sunday last. Playing with the aid of a strong wind in the first half Paul Keaney’s side ran up a 19-3 lead at half time. The visiting side though would not entertain backing out meekly and came back with a storming second half using the wind intelligently. With some incisive running and passing instigated by their number 10 they managed to ruffle Connemara’s feathers but a resilient Connemara team regrouped and finished the game with a final score Connemara 29 Portumna 22.
A Huge Thanks
Connemara RFC offer sincere thanks to Sinead & Sorcha O’Sullivan, the twin daughters of our club president Matt, who recently ran the New York City Marathon. The twins decided long ago that they would like to do some fundraising for the club whilst their dad was President.Through a lot of hard work and with a lot of generosity from friends both near and far they raised a colossal €3,000 which they kindly donated to the Connemara Rugby Pitch Development Fund. The committee appreciate this wonderful achievment by the girls who also managed to beat their previous best times for running a marathon. Well done Sinead & Sorcha!!!
Connemara RFC Weekly Lotto
Our rugby jackpot has now reached a massive €10,750 , a nice win to beat those post Christmas blues. Tickets cost €2 each and are available in Kings Bar & Lowrys Shop Roundstone – Veldons Letterfrack – Olivers Bar & Restaurant Cleggan – Malones Butcher’s, Topaz & Sweeney Oil Service Stations – Off The Restaurant plus numerous bars in Clifden. Our draw is held every Sunday night (see poster for venue) with attendence prizes on offer including our “Find The Joker Jackpot” which stands at €575. So what easier way could you support your club and also be in with a chance of winning a few €€€€€€€€
We can also be found in Lidl’s porch on the 1st Friday of every month for those of you that don’t know already. We wouldlike to thank Jamie and all involved in Lidl for their continued support.
If you wish to advertise your business in the form of a pitch side hoarding at the Monastery Field Home of Connemara RFC we have a limited number of spaces available after the upcoming erection of some new hoardings.The initial cost of making,supplying and fitting of each hoarding is €123 plus VAT. The hoardings measure 6 foot (L) x 2 foot (H) which incurs an annual payment of €150 to the club, down from €300 last year. If you wish to avail of this offer please contact any player, coach or committee member and you will be put in cotact with the appropriate person in charge.
As we are faced with continuous costs of running our club we importantly need some more generous sponsors. Travel expenses, insurence costs & the other general costs of keeping each team from minis through to our Seniors on the road are rapidly eating away at any money we have raised from memberships, grants and fundraisng etc. so we ask if there is any business’s, companies or individuals out there that have “A love of Connemara RFC” we would greatly appreciate your generosity. No matter how large or small all sponsors & donations would be greatly accepted.
Please contact Matt O Sullivan(0872300898) or Rory O’Toole (0872203178) for more information.
All of our coaches from minis, under age through to the Junior” A” deserve huge appreciation for the continuous work and dedication to the club.Without being asked these coaches are giving up their valuable time, twice a week to train the players and again at weekends to attend home matches or travel to away games. As they do this for the love of Connemara RFC we ask all parents & supporters to show them the utmost respect & appreciation whether it be on training nights or at weekend matches and to any parents out there who would like to get involved in any way please have a word with any of our coaches, they’re always looking for a bit of help. There are many ways you as a parent can get involved, we need volunteers to help with training, helping on match days or simply by driving the players to away matches. We look forward to hearing from you????
Ireland V England 6 Nations
We are running a “Time of First Try Scored Competition” for the Ireland V England 6 Nations match.It will be run as a Scratch Card Comp., each ticket will cost €2 with a generous cash prize for the winner. Basically it works like this, you buy a ticket, scratch it to reveal a time and if the your time is that of the first try scored by EITHER team you are the winner. Come an collect your cash, it’s as easier as that.Tickets will be available from Monday 19th January from any committee member and from some local business’s. We would like to thank you for your continued support and we assure you that this money will be spent prudently.
Best of Luck
Connemara RFC would like to wish John Varley every success in his new venture of re opening Veldons Bar & Restaurant Letterfrack. Throughout the years in his role with Carlton Hotels John has been a huge supporter and very forthcoming with sponsoship for our club. I ask of all people who read this to give John your support and call into Veldon’s for a pint or a coffee if your driving and we look forward to John’s continued support of Connemara RFC.
Matt has asked me to mention an upcoming huge day in the history of the club ( well in his eyes anyway, sorry Matt). On March 6th this year Connemara Rfc stalwart & Ex. Captain Mr. Alan Pryce has promised to marry another Connemara RFC stalwart & Assistent Club Secretary Ms. Sinead O Sullivan at St. Joseph’s Church Clifden with the reception will take place in Renvyle House Hotel. It has all the makings of a wonderful night with guests fron Connemara RFC & Clifden RNLI ( of which Sinead & Alan are both active members) helping to party the night away.
I’m sure I can speak for all at Connemara RFC in wishing Sinead & Alan happiness and prosperity in the future. Hurrah!!!!