Friday 30 September 2016

Galwegians women and girls go from strength to strength

Published 04/12/2015 | 02:30

Galwegians’ minis in action at a recent blitz
Galwegians’ minis in action at a recent blitz

The Women's senior squad competes in Division 1 of the All-Ireland League against the best teams in the country and this season finished fifth.

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In addition to the premier league competition, Galwegians also compete in the Spring-time All-Ireland Cup, winning the tournament most recently in 2014.

The senior side boasts an impressive coaching staff in head coach George Naoupu, the Connacht No 8. The forwards coach is former Black Fern and World Cup winner Beth Mallard and backs coach is Connacht centre Bundee Aki.

The team also boasts internationals Ruth O'Reilly, Sene Naoupu, Mary Healy and Mairead Coyne.

Off the pitch, the women's side are a crucial component of Galwegians' social activities, with a social calendar to rival their fixtures list.

The team train twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7.0 in Crowley Park.

In addition to the senior women's team, girls can also enjoy age grade rugby with girls-only minis, U-15s and U-18s teams training each week.

Girls' rugby at Galwegians has grown in both numbers and popularity over the last few seasons. This year up to 50 girls, or 'Wegianettes' as they are sometimes known, between the ages of 7 and 12 meet every Saturday morning for training.

Splitting

The girls of all age groups warm up and do some training together before splitting up to train in their age groups.

Girls in the U-12s play contact and are coached in how to tackle safely. The girls report to enjoy this aspect of the game. The "no gumshield, no play" policy is strictly enforced, and its punishment of playing non-contact with the U-8s is considered the ultimate humiliation.

When the girls were asked why they liked playing rugby several girls reported that it was fun, while another said it made her feel really strong.

"I like beasting though people," boasted another respondent, who went on to explain that it was a great feeling to run through your opponents with the ball, especially if you score a try.

The number of girls increased in 2015 following a tour of Galway schools with the women's Six Nations cup, in hand with an open day in which women from the senior and national team trained with the girls.

It has been possible this year for the girls to play in more frequent blitzes, and closer to home as new girls teams have started in Gort, Monivea, Tuam, and Oughterard.

If you would like to give rugby a try, training takes place every Saturday morning from 10.0-11.0, contact Julie 0863872370.

Or For more information, see www.galwegians.ie or follow us on Facebook: Galwegians Women's Rugby. New recruits always welcome.

Irish Independent

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