Women's rugby in Ballinasloe goes from strength to strength
From small beginnings . . . On October 12, 2013, 12 girls representing Ballinasloe Rugby Club travelled to Buccaneers RFC to play rugby in a Connacht blitz.
Just over two years later, the Ballinasloe club now has teams at Minis, U-13s, U-15s and U-18s, almost 70 girls in total playing and enjoying rugby in the Co Galway town.
Unprecedented success at U-15s level in the first two seasons culminated in five of the club's U-18s girls winning representative honours for Connacht U-18s girls team this autumn.
The town of Ballinasloe has also recognised the positive impact women's rugby is having for the local girls and this year, the five U-18s Connacht players, Sarah Dent, Ellen Grehan, Georgia Codyre, Grainne Lohan and Rachel Tierney, were nominated for the People of the Year Awards.
This follows on from the 2013 U-15s team also being nominated for the Sports Team of the year award.
As more clubs are waking up to the popularity of women's rugby, the Ballinasloe girls - from Minis to the U-18s - are playing and hosting teams throughout Connacht and Ireland and last year they also played host to a visiting Canadian team, Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School from Kingston, Ontario.
Commenting on the Canadians' visit, Trish Tierney said: "This was a fantastic day and an historic day for Ballinasloe Rugby Club.
"The game was played in true rugby spirit and both teams sat down to a meal and watched the Ireland v Wales Six Nations match afterwards in the clubhouse.
"Our girls' teams have added a new dimension to the club and it's great to see it grow and grow each year.
"The next big step for the club is an adult women's team and the interest to date has been very encouraging, so we'll see how that turns out next year, but we won't be resting on our laurels and we are going to keep promoting and encouraging women's rugby in Ballinasloe."
One of the fastest growing sports in Ireland, women's rugby is enjoying phenomenal growth, especially in places like Ballinasloe with new girls at all ages joining every week.
Remember, no experience is required.
The Ballinasloe Minis, U-13s and U-15s train on Saturdays at 11.45am to 1.0pm and the U-18s train on Tuesday evenings from 6.0pm to 7.0pm and Sunday mornings.
For further details and regular updates, please visit the club facebook page at www.facebook.com/ballinasloerugbyclub.
If you are interested in playing or getting involved, come up and give it a try.
Contact Declan Murphy on 086 8548046 or Trish Tierney on 087 9176541 for further details.