Thursday 25 May 2017

Ballinasloe to form senior women's team

Connacht’s Mairead Coyne in action for Ireland against England last year Picture: Sportsfile
Connacht’s Mairead Coyne in action for Ireland against England last year Picture: Sportsfile

With a thriving underage girls section already in place, Ballinasloe RFC have targeted the formation of a senior women's team for next season.

The Galway club are holding a meeting in Gullane's Hotel next Friday, February 10, at 8.30pm with anyone interested in getting involved with the new team welcome to attend.

The club are reaching out to women of all ages to become part of the exciting new venture with no previous playing experience required.

Ballinasloe already field girls' teams at U-15 and U-18 level and the formation of a senior women's team is a great opportunity for more members of the community to get involved with the club.

For more details on women's rugby in Connacht, contact Wendy Hickey on wendy.hickey@connachtrugby.ie.

For more information on rugby in Ballinasloe, you can check out the club's Facebook page.

Ballinasloe RFC was founded in 1875 and is one of the oldest rugby clubs in the country. Along with the girls' section, Ballinasloe have two men's teams and a thriving underage section.

Six players in Ireland squad

Six Connacht players are included in the match-day 23 for the Ireland Women's team for their Six Nations opener against Scotland this evening (6.35pm).

Connacht's Mairead Coyne, Alison Miller and Claire Molloy are named in the starting XV by head coach Tom Tierney for the clash at the Broadway Stadium in Glasgow.

Nichola Fryday and Mary Healy are on the replacements' bench along with the uncapped Ciara O'Connor, who is primed to make her international debut.

There are five uncapped players named in the 23, with Railway Union's Ailsa Hughes set to win her first cap as she starts at scrum-half.

In the replacements, all three of the front-row forwards are uncapped, with hooker Jennie Finlay and props Ilse van Staden and O'Connor all in line to wear the green jersey for the first time.

Speaking ahead of the clash, Tierney said: "The first game of the Six Nations is always a big challenge, as it's very difficult to know what the opposition are going to throw at you.

"Scotland in front of their home crowd will be looking to give their fans something to get excited about, so it's really important that we go into the game fully focused.

"There's some new caps in the side for this Friday, and those players have performed really well in the camps that we've had over the previous number of weeks, so now it's their chance to transfer what they've been doing in training into the international arena.

"It's very exciting that all the matches in this year's Championship will be broadcast live, so we hope everyone will tune in on Friday evening to watch the game," Tierney added.

Gallagher to start for U-20s

Connacht's Cillian Gallagher starts in the back-row for the Ireland U-20s in their Six Nations clash against Scotland tonight (8.30pm).

Gallagher played every minute of Ireland's U-20 Six Nations campaign last season and also featured at last year's World Rugby U20 Championship.

The 20-year-old Corinthians man is in the NUIG Connacht Academy and is a product of Summerhill College and Sligo RFC.

Another Connacht Academy player, Sean Masterson, was also named in the Ireland U-20 squad for the opening rounds of the competition but narrowly missed out on the match-day 23 for tonight's opener.

A new-look U20 side sees just two players previously capped at this level named in the side, Gallagher and out-half Johnny McPhillips.

Speaking of the challenge ahead for his side, head coach Nigel Carolan said: "As is the nature of U-20s rugby, there is fresh look to the side. The majority of the guys haven't played at this level before however many have gotten good game-time with their provincial 'A' teams in the British and Irish Cup this season, so that should stand to them.

"We are looking forward to starting the Six Nations. Training has gone well and the boys have gelled as a group.

"We are taking the tournament one game at a time and are looking forward to kicking things off in Scotland."

Irish Independent

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