Dean Richard & co heading for Connacht

Ballina, Corinthians, Westport & Connemara Ballina, Corinthians, Westport & Connemara Mini Rugby Teams go green for Connacht. Mini Rugby Teams go green for Connacht.

Say hello to the Connacht Eagles. From next season Connacht will be joining Ulster, Leinster and Munster in the British and Irish Cup with a development side that could form a key part in their hopes of becoming a genuine competitive force in the battle finish among the top three Irish sides in the Rabo Direct Pro 12.

The ‘Eagles’ (as they will reportedly be known) have been given a bumper draw for their first outing in the competition with Dean Richard’s Newcastle side the first visitors to the west having been demoted from the Premiership at the end of last season and therefore qualifying for a competition that includes the top club sides from Wales and Scotland.

Last year’s runners up Cross Keys and the highly rated Newport are the other two sides in what looks like the toughest group and Connacht are expected to play two of their three home games in locations other than Galway with sources suggesting the home of Sligo Rovers being a possible destination.
Pic: Sporting Occasions

Having just completed a full season of challenge fixtures at A level , Connacht have been given the go-ahead by the IRFU to field a full side at this level and will hope to use their Grand Slam winning under 20 squad of last season as a platform to build a competitive squad at this level.

The implications at club level are not yet clear but the competition is designed not to directly interfere with games played on the same weekends as Heineken Cup games and not clashing with the AIL as a result, the hope will be that development players will be able to get the best of both worlds over the course of a season.

Ulster have drawn Cardiff, Bristol and Bridgend. Leinster will be up against Leeds, Pontypridd and Jersey.
Reigning champions Munster will take on Gala, Llanelli and Moseley.


Pool 4 Fixtures
Round 1:  Newcastle Falcons v Cross Keys and Newport v Connacht
Round 2: Connacht v Newcastle Falcons and Cross Keys v Newport 
Round 3: Cross Keys v Connacht and Newcastle Falcons v Newport
Round 4: Connacht v Cross Keys and Newport v Newcastle Falcons
Round 5: Newcastle Falcons v Connacht and Newport v Cross Keys
Round 6: Connacht v Newport and Cross Keys v Newcastle Falcons
The pool games will take place as follows:

Round 1 – 12-14 October; Round 2 – 19-21 October; Round 3 – 7-9 December; Round 4 – 14-16 December; Round 5 – 11-13 January; and Round 6 – 19 January.

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23 Responses to “Dean Richard & co heading for Connacht”

  1. uno says:

    great news, even better news about the showgrounds in sligo being a possible venue, load of work done on it in the last few years and the best surface of any code in the province. would be huge for the area.

  2. Would love to see Connacht Eagles in the Showgrounds.

  3. dubarry says:

    Dubarry park is the venue that should be used. Buccaneers should just affiliate themselves with leinster if they keep getting overlooked by the branch.

    • Tonto says:

      Buccs might as well be in leinster considering the number of players they poach from the midlands!!

      I hear they are in a spot of bother this year tho losing quite a few, another carlow methinks!! boo hoo:(

  4. Pegasus says:

    Off you go dubarry, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    Not to many in the provience would be sad to see ye go.

  5. Connacht Eagle says:

    Buccaneers are represented on the IRFU committee. You’d imagine their rep would be able to swing this for them. Otherwise what is the point of him sitting there.

  6. Can have what ye like up in the Midlands but a Connacht game in the Sligo Showgrounds would be of great benifit to the game up here. When Connacht came to Sligo to train at the start of last season a great crowd turned out on the Sunday to see how Professional Rugby operates and it was a great success

  7. Pegasus says:

    Don’t worry about buccs Sligo Warrior. You only see them on here talking about how they are always being hard done. Even though they get the under 20 six nations every year. As i said before go join Lenister, although I’m pretty sure your not wanted there just in case your under any illusion that your stock is worth more than it actually is.

    Of course a game in Sligo would be a huge benefit to the region.

  8. magic mcintyre says:

    Buccs are certainly not wanted in leinster!! they have few friends there! how many aspiring young players did they poach over the years with promises of playing ail rugby only to end up playing 3rds in connacht junior!

  9. newjuniorplayer says:

    Jeez poor Buccs are getting a bit of a bashing.
    I agree that Connacht games of all levels should be spread out throughout the province as much as possible. Its a great way to get rugby to reach as many small towns as possible.

    On Buccs! They have a rich history in Connacht and i think they should stay here. The more senior clubs we have in the province the better. If Buccs changed to a leinster club it would have a negative impact on Connachts senior squad especially as Wegians Got relegated last year and Corinthans have probably found there level in 2a. Remember no professional players can play below div 1b

  10. big tom says:

    why you one of those aspiring youngsters hard done by mcintyre?

  11. big tom says:

    buccs have done an awful lot for connacht rugby but in fairness they havent always played the sharpest political game with some the other clubs in the midlands. cant blame players for wanting a taste of senior rugby all the same!

  12. newjuniorplayer says:

    Buccs dont just recruit from the midlands they are in touch with players from all over the country in conjunction with Athlone I.T. It is a working relationship that other senior clubs would give anything to have. The last time Buccs where close to the top of AIL 1 the college team where ALL IRELAND CHAMPIONS for 4 years in a row.

    • magic mcintyre says:

      Thats nonsense and shame on you for trying to convince honest readers of this site otherwise. Buccs idea of ‘developing’ young players is to sign up as many under 20′s and young players from midlands clubs, play them in pre season and the first few competitive games, then when their ‘stars’ from the connacht academy come back leave them to rot playing connacht j2. i know at least 5 players who tried to get released from buccs last yr when they were told they werent good enough to play 1sts or 2nds in buccs and wanted to play in leinster junior, but buccs wouldnt sign the forms!!
      anyway we wont have to worry too much longer about buccs only one way they are going this yr- down!

      • newjuniorplayer says:

        Magic Mcintyre:I never said Buccs develop young players i said they recruit from the entire country. Obviously you have a small agenda with them. But i don’t think you can blame a club for trying to get the best players to there club. They also have a very succesful youth set up which was proved by how many Irish u21 players they have.

        Also i think you are being very foolish by saying the only way Buccs are going is down. obviously your hatred for them has clouded your judgement and all your rational thoughts

      • christy glennon says:

        ironically enough the wheel has turned and buccs are leaking players to other midland clubs. fair degree of ex buccs with longford, mullingar, tullamore, midland warriors and west offaly

      • Tayto says:

        If a club refuses to sign a form there is a process you can follow via the affiliating branch.

  13. dessie says:

    so does that mean if buccs r relegated to 2a this yr any players in the connacht academy wouldnt be able to play for them?

    • chris pro says:

      to answer your question you are correct, no professional players can play below div 1b of the ail.

      • Transfer Baron says:

        I think academy and development players can play in Div 2a. These don’t fall into the “fully professional” category.

  14. happy hooker says:

    i thought chris pro had retired

  15. digger says:

    buccs always had a reputation of a certain degree of tomfoolery when it came to player recruitment and building up young players hopes and dreams then knocking them down when they werent good enough

  16. Connacht Eagle says:

    Its not tomfoolery to ask a player to test himself at a higher level. That has gone on in all sports for decades. Some make it, some don’t. If players are then not up to the required standard and there are better players in a club, what do you think team managements are going to do? Yes they will pick the best players. Is called life experience and its how you respond to this that is important. What is any club supposed to do when players are not selected? Give them a hug?


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