Two of Ballinasloe's rising Rugby stars were part of Ireland’s Under 20 Rugby team playing in the Six Nations tournament in Cardiff. Shane Jennings and Oisín McCormack starred for Ireland with standout performances in the first two victories over Scotland and hosts Wales, before both suffering injuries in the loss to England and being rested for the game against Italy.
Both players are part of a record six Connacht players selected for Ireland with several others missing out due to injury and is an indication of the 'Grassroots to Green shirts' approach to developing the game throughout Connacht.
Ballinasloe RFC is rightly proud of the success of the two players who joined the Club as Under Eight's. Coached by Tom Finn, Derek Treacy and Gearóid Finneran, they were part of a remarkably successful team who went on to dominate Connacht in their age group up to U18s. They were also part of a golden generation of players in Garbally who completed a hat-trick of victories in the Connacht Schools Rugby Senior Cup, having previously experienced success at Junior Cup level.
Tom Finn praised: “Oisín and Shane were part of a very driven team all the way up. They trained hard, killed each other in training, but became great friends and were great fun to coach.”
“They were also blessed with the parents they had, who brought them to training and drove them to games all over Ireland and were hugely supportive of the Coaches and the Club” Tom added.
Of course, their talents are not confined to rugby alone as both represented Galway at Minor level in 2018, with both playing in Croke Park Finals, with Shane Jennings, playing at full-back, winning an All-Ireland medal and man of the match award in Hurling, and Oisín playing Gaelic football and scoring a memorable goal in the semi-final. Both players are now part of the Connacht Academy joining two more former Ballinasloe RFC players Colm Reilly and Mathew Devine.
In a further indication of the quality of players graduating from the Club, the exciting young BRFC, Connacht, and Irish Senior International Women's player, Béibhinn Parsons, was recently named Connacht Women's Player of the Year, with Aoibheann Reilly and Méabh Deely also shining for the Irish Women’s Sevens team.
Tom Waters, President of BRFC, stated: “The Club is enormously proud of the achievements of all the players that came up through the ranks from Minis to Youths and who currently playing for Connacht and Ireland. It is a great testament to the quality of Coaches and management in Ballinasloe Rugby Club to help nurture that range of talent and make such a contribution to the development of the Women's and Men's game in Connacht and Ireland.”
Tom added: “All Coaches are required to complete IRFU Child Welfare training, and every Coach has coaching qualifications, and this can be seen in the success and quality of players being produced by the Club.”
Soon development plans for the Club include upgrading the pitch lights and the entrance to the grounds to improve safety, and the completion of an additional two dressing rooms and the construction of a storage shed.
Plans are underway for all teams to shortly resume training after Covid interruptions. The Senior team have returned to pre-season training in preparation for the new season kick-off in early August.
BRFC’s monthly 50/50 Draw continues. You can contact Ballinasloerfcmedia@gmail.com or any club official for any details. Facebook page is below.
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