U-18s hope to make fitness count
The Connacht U-18 Girls have been training for the past four months ahead of the upcoming Interprovincial Championship, which begins later this month.
The team started training on May 20 as the squad came together for the first time at a camp in Ballinasloe. The following week, the team attended the gym at the Sportsground where the girls were introduced to their Strength & Conditioning coach Jarlath Naughton, who is also the head coach of the Connacht Women's team.
All the players were fitness-tested and given a programme to follow over the summer. The players' fitness has been re-tested once a month since with their programme altered every six weeks.
This year there has been a big emphasis placed on the fitness and athleticism of the team, with the hope that they will carry this forward and continue into the Connacht or Ireland team.
The training has been paying dividends with the players all improving their fitness levels since the beginning of the season. Sessions have focused on catch and pass, tackle technique, understanding the laws of the game, being able to read the game and improve decision-making and game management.
The team have played two useful friendlies in recent weeks, against New Brunswick Babas from Canada and Tullamore RFC. Connacht came away with comfortable victories in both games but also a deeper knowledge of the areas that need attention.
Training has taken place in a variety of clubs - Ballinrobe, Ballinasloe and the Sportsground, with another camp planned for Westport.
The squad kick off their Interpro campaign with an away match against Ulster in Virginia RFC on Sunday, September 24. The second game takes place on Saturday, September 30, against Munster in Ballinasloe RFC at 3pm. The campaign will be rounded off on October 7/8 with a clash against Leinster in Westmanstown RFC.
The team are eagerly awaiting the games and all support will be appreciated.
The squad have been boosted by the success of Meabh Deely and Aoibheann Reilly from Ballinasloe and Grace Browne Moran from Westport with Ireland at the weekend. The trio and their Ireland U-18 7s team-mates became the UK School Games Rugby 7s champions.