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Club News: Connacht Round-Up

Club News: Connacht Round-Up

…Westport Success On Cup Trail…Buccs’ Reserves Claim Junior Cup…NUIG Ladies Face Into League Final…Underage Cup Double For ‘Wegians…’Tag’ On Down To Corinthians…

WESTPORT SUCCESS ON CUP TRAIL: Westport RFC have had a success-filled fortnight, putting the Covey Cawley Cup and Ard Na Cregg Cup in their trophy cabinet at Carrowholly.

The Bulls’ first team beat their Mayo rivals Castlebar 20-0 in the Cawley Cup decider at Crowley Park, while their second XV development team were 18-10 winners over Our Lady’s Boys club in last Sunday’s Ard Na Cregg final at Corinthian Park.

A 60th-minute try from Peter Corcoran set Westport on their way against Castlebar, who had defended resiliently for long periods. A fifth-minute Eddie Walsh penalty had handed Westport a 3-0 interval lead.’

Eamon Cafferkey and Enda Murphy stood out for Castlebar as they looked to take control in the loose, but with Westport’s set piece giving them the ideal platform, they finished out as comfortable winners.

Westport won out thanks to a second Walsh penalty and converted tries from flanker Corcoran and scrum half Paul Jennings, who grabbed the score of the game late on when he snapped up possession on the Castlebar 22, kicked ahead and beat the cover defence to touch down.

Meanwhile, tries either side of half-time from Mattie Burke and Damien Gibbons proved crucial as Westport overcame Galway city side Our Lady’s in the Ard Na Cregg Cup final.

Our Lady’s fought hard with Stuart Cooke running in a 72nd-minute try, adding to a first half penalty from Tristan Ryder. Cooke’s seven-pointer did cut the gap to 15-10 but a sweetly struck drop goal from Bartley Walsh saw the trophy on its way to Mayo.

BUCCS’ RESERVES CLAIM JUNIOR CUP: Buccaneers’ Reserves swept to a thrilling 11-6 victory in last Sunday’s Heineken Connacht Junior Cup final at the Sportsground in Galway.

Monivea, who performed well in the recent AIB League Round Robin series, provided tough opposition and looked every inch the favourites in the early stages.

Crucially, the Galway men could not transfer their dominance onto the scoreboard and they were left trailing 5-3 at the break. Ian Murphy notched one out of his three penalty attempts in the first half, while Buccs bagged an unconverted try, late in the half, from Gearoid O’Grady. Under-20 star Sean Carey had a big part to play in the score as he danced around the Monivea defence, releasing Ross Jackson who put the overlapping O’Grady over in the right corner.

Murphy and O’Grady swapped penalties, early in the second half, and while Monivea centre Murphy conceived to miss another kickable chance, a sin-binning for Buccs flanker Kieran O’Gorman gave the league champions the ideal chance to strike for a try.

But they were met by a stunning resistance from the Pirates, who nudged 11-6 in front thanks to a 65th-minute penalty from former Tullamore out-half O’Grady. With Buccs’ defence on top, they saw out a memorable win, with their joy added to when exciting prospect Carey was announced as the Heineken man of the match.

Meanwhile, Buccaneers’ Annual Rugby Awards function will take place at the Radisson SAS Hotel on Friday, May 11, with Finbarr Furey and his band to offer the musical entertainment. Tickets, priced at €60 each or €500 for a table of ten, are on sale now, and are available from the club’s administrator Geraldine (tel: 086 1732711). Dress is smart casual for the men and cocktail for the ladies. Dinner is scheduled for 7.30pm.

NUIG LADIES FACE INTO LEAGUE FINAL: The NUIG Ladies team have had a remarkable turnaround in fortunes this season, and are now on the verge of winning the All-Ireland Colleges League title.

Just twelve months ago, the Galway side were relative cannon fodder on the colleges’ circuit, but now they are gearing up for the biggest match in the club’s short history – an All-Ireland final against UL.

Explaining the team’s good form, captain Sharon Kelly told Galway First: “This year we’ve done really well. We are unbeaten in the league and we came third at the recent Intervarsities in Maynooth – it is a kind of marker of how much we have progressed in the past year. We were completely wiped out of that competition last year.”

With the assistance of coaches Wendy Hickey, Caroline Pryce and former Irish international Sinead Cosgrave, NUIG have gone from strength to strength with Galwegians and Connacht number eight Aoife Maher, a winner at this year’s NUIG Sports Star awards, in inspirational form.

The team’s recent win over Waterford IT in Dangan, which qualified them for the final, has give them plenty of hope that they can lay their hands on silverware against a UL side that includes a number of Ireland players.

UNDERAGE CUP DOUBLE FOR ‘WEGIANS: It was a weekend to remember for Galwegians who scooped the Connacht Under-16 and Under-18 Cup titles at the Sportsground.

With his side trailing Ballinasloe 11-10 in injury-time, team captain Paul Moran managed to inspire the ‘Wegians U-18s with a late try. It was the club’s first cup success at this level for 22 years.

The ‘Wegians U-16s were comprehensive winners over Sligo in their decider, with the Galway youngsters running in six tries. Congratulations to all the players and coaches involved, and it is a particular fillip for ‘Wegians’ Youth Academy as most of these players have been with the Glenina-based club since they were Under-8s.

‘TAG’ ON DOWN TO CORINTHIANS: Registration is open for the newly-launched IRFU Tag Rugby programme, and with Corinthians being the sole Connacht venue, anyone wishing to take part at the Galway club should register online today, to avoid disappointment!

The level of interest countrywide has exceeded expectations, and has led to a number of host venues being fully booked, a full two months before the first matches will take place.

Commenting on the upcoming tournament, Barry McCann, Corinthians’ venue manager, said: “It’s great to be gearing up for the Tag season again.  Last year created a massive buzz around Galway and this summer seems to be even bigger.

“We already have over 65 teams registered for the IRFU Tag, which will be held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. We are planning plenty of social entertainment for the teams so we’re confident it’s going to be a huge success and great craic as well!”

IRFU Tag is a game open to both men and women of all ability levels in graded competitions, with a strong emphasis on fun and social participation. The programme will see each venue club take part in a profit sharing arrangement, outside and including the normal benefits that a club has previously enjoyed by hosting Tag leagues, such as the use of its bar and restaurant facilities. This arrangement will see the venues share in the revenue generated by the number of teams that take part during the IRFU Tag Leagues.
– For further information on IRFU Tag Rugby and to secure a place for your team at Corinthians, log on to www.irfutag.ie or email tag@irfu.ie