Our year started on a sad note with the death of Josephine McDonagh grandmother of our club captain, David McDonagh. She was a beautiful and popular lady who always relished her native Roundstone. She is preceded by her husband John and son James. She is survived by her daughter Mary, Chrissie, Ilene and her son John, as well as her, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. There was a huge crowd at her funeral mass as she was laid to rest at the Guirteen cemetery.
Tom Mannions birthday party at the Station House Hotel, Clifden, was attended by a large number of Connemara rugby personnel. Tom, a native of Clifden, runs a very successful civil engineering business in Cambridge near London and spends a lot of time here in Connemara . He is and has been a great supporter of the Connemara Rugby Club and we thank him for his support throughout the years!
Twenty two teams took part in the annual golf tournament held at the Connemara Golf links. The weather was glorious and the course was in excellent condition. Sincere thanks to Pat O’Rourke and Dave Beecher, Don McLinch and Kathleen Kelly of the Golf club. Connemara president, Peter Keane, presented the prizes at the Station House Hotel after the tournament.
Franciscan Brothers R.I.P.
Connemara RFC sincerely sympathizes with the Franciscan Brothers over the recent death of the newly appointed superior general brother Michael Burke. Also Brother Oswald Crerand passed away very recently. The order came to Connemara Roundstone and Clifden around 1835 doing huge work on the behalf of the people in very trying and improvised times. May the deceased brother’s rest in peace.
Over twenty people turned up to the annual agm meeting held at the Station house hotel in Clifden. Secretary Kim O’Donoghue read out the minutes of a very successful year. Where a number of great achievements were recorded. President Peter Keane reflected on the year. Which was good but was also disappointing in some ways. For example there was very poor attendance at training. Great credit is due to u18’s who were cruelly beaten by a last minute penalty in the Connacht league final against Sligo. A knock on by Connemara was deemed deliberate much to a disagreement of the players and coach. Mr Keane praised the players, coaches Henry O’Toole Mark Foyle, Bernard Keane, and Jimmy O’Toole. The four of whom coached the Community School senior team who could have easily won the Connacht schools senior cup had they had more game time like the opposing team.
The Station House Hotel in Clifden is the Connemara RFC main sponsor and has been for the last five years. We owe many thanks to John Sweeney, James Sweeney and the rest of the Sweeney family for their continued support and enthusiasm for the club!
Congratulations to Tiernan O’Halloran! Connemara people are bursting with pride at the performance of Tiernan O’Holloran in the Connacht pro 12 final over in Edinburgh and also at his recent appearance on the Irish team in South Africa. He was brilliant in all his games last season. We offer huge congratulations to him and his family.
Also, well done to his fellow player, Ronan Loughney, for his display at the Pro 12 games. Ronan is a half native of Connemara as his mother comes from Letterfrack.
Oisin Heffernan has returned home after a very successful season in Queensland Australia he was sent there by the IRFU to gain invaluable experience and was competing at a very high level of play. He played his part for Bonns University Queensland scoring a few tries along the way and making all of in Connemara very proud.
Martin Little and his team has done an excellent job in reseeding and top dressing with sand maintaining our lovely pitch. A new top of the range cutting machine has been purchased and is in use and a new scrummage machine is on the way. They have also done excellent work on refurbishing the club house, painting the floors, walls and are currently about to tackle the kitchen. Thanks to Martin and his team we have one of the best pitches, without a doubt, in all of Connemara!
Rugby wedding of the season in Connemara saw the nuptials of Connemara star Darren Little to Kate Hambleton in Barna Church. There was a magnificent reception after the services in the Westwood in Galway. The following evening was the Connemara Sands Hotel Ballyconnelly where the happy couple hosted many old friends’ neighbours and rugby personnel. Former head coach Gerry King and brothers Bernard, plus Paul Keaney were among dozens of Connemara players present.
Thanks to Rose Green and all her Grainne Mhaol girls whom with our youth section ran a very successful Sunday morning cake and coffee morning fundraiser at the Station House Hotel. A total of 1800.00 Was raised for the youth of both clubs. Great thanks for all the great cooks and volunteers who donated the lovely cakes, preserves and gave their time.
The youth AGM was very well attended and great preparatory work is being done for the season.
The club sends its sincerest sympathy to Mr. Michael Barrett of the Sky Road in the loss of both his parents. His father Paddy pasted away last January and his mother Maisie more recently. Michael we always appreciate you generosity and wish every success after your sad loss.
Connemara 44 – Skibereen 21
It was a very enjoyable preseason game at home. The visitors arrived very late the previous evening due to an hour long detour at Charlevile due to a road accident. This partly counts for the score line. As until the last 10 minutes the teams were level. But then the visitors tired and conceded three easy tries. Some cousins of the ODovovan brothers who won Silver at the Olympics rowing took part.
Connemara 26 – Taum 9
Taum lead 6 – 3 at half time in this Cawley Cup due to a very heavy and efficient scrummaging eight after one hour that the speeder Connemara back line took ovr and helped to win the game. The top 8 teams in Connacht take part in this tournament .
Connemara 44 – UCG 13
Connemara ran through the division B champions in the semi-final of the Cawley cup at Dangan it was great to see Jack Vaughan and John O’Brien in full flow. Henry O’Toole jr. filled in seamlessly at number10 along with his brother Michael at number 9 and his other brother Peter at number 11.
The final takes place in late December.
Connemara 32 – Monivea 5
This was a storming display by the home side who took over completely early in the game. After 90 seconds of play fullback John O’Brien made a mesmerising run from his own 22 to score under the post. Henry O’Toole converted it was all Connemara in this half and they led 27 – 0 at half time! Monivea improved in the second half but the home team defended well with some great tackles. After 6 minutes in the second half Henry O’Toole Jr scored a brilliant try in the corner. His kicking rate is very successful. This added to a second try for Henry made him man of the match, the game was called off early when one visiting players dislocated his shoulder. The army helicopter arrived for the injured player just after a great Monivea try. There was a long delay of 30 minutes while the helicopter landed and the player was cared for. So the two teams and officials decided that the game should be called and over.
Ballinasloe 6 – Connemara 3
You could not call this a proper rugby game in the Connacht league at Ballinasloe. The faster and lighter Connemara side got bogged down in the pitch as it was at a very poor standard. With very long grass and hideous line markings! All credit to the players on both sides who tried their best. It sad for players, coaches, official and spectators who look forward to these games to have to put up with this situation all other pitches in Connacht seem to have been in good condition despite the poor weather conditions. Definite the UCG and Connemara venues were excellent. Ballinasloes heavier pack dictated for most of the game Connemara’s pack were on the opponents try line and were penalized at the last second just as the referee called time. The players feel that they should been left to play on and score the winning try.
Connemara 65 – Galwegins 15
Connemara tried 9 brilliant tries on a brilliant surface in this home game last Sunday. The game was called off 15 minutes early as the visitors were down to 12 players due to a number of injuries.
Next Sunday take on UCG at Dangan at 2:30 and it is bound to be a great game.
Connemara36 Castelbar 5
This was a very enjoyable game last Sunday with the score line does not do justice to a very good Castlebar display. The Visitors for the first 10 minutes and spent a lot of time inside the Connemara 22 however a few fast breaks for Connemara lead to a 19 nil score line after 20 minutes of play. Castlebar persevered and got a score just before half time. Connemara dominated early in the second half and scored a number of good tries . The visitors however despite good possession could not penetrate the Connemara line. Ian Staunton at number 3 got two tries and two converts and two penalties He and Paul Lee who scored two more tries and John F Conneely who scored one try had excellent games as Connacht u17 player Aaron O’Donoghue had a great game in the back row and scored a try and was superb as was his younger brother Braden O’Donoghue. Jack Folan at number 11 and all the Connemara players had a great game. Castle bar has some great material to work on and should improve with their finishing with more game time.
Referee Peter McCarthy handled the game very well informing the players at all times and this lead to a very completive and attractive rugby.