In just five years, Ballinasloe has developed a girls rugby programme that has brought more silverware to the club and green jerseys onto the walls of their clubhouse. Irish Rugby TV went to East Galway to meet the volunteers and the players who have made it happen.
Ballinasloe RFC has known plenty of success over the years. The jersey of Ireland international and Lions tourist Ray McLoughlin hangs above the clubhouse bar. The walls are covered with photos of great teams and famous wins from the club's 143-year history.
Trophies sit on the mantelpiece above the turf fire. Most of these, however, only stretch back to 2013. That is when underage Women's rugby kicked off in Ballinasloe RFC. Just two years later, there were five Ballinasloe players in the Connacht Under-18 Women's set-up - Georgia Codyre, Sarah Dent, Ellen Grehan, Grainne Lohan and Rachel Tierney.
By 2018, that number had doubled. Jordan Hopkins, Emily Gavin, Aoibheann Reilly, Méabh Deely, Hannah Gullane, Niamh Kenny, Beibhinn Parsons, Áine Galvin and Mia Fahy were all in the matchday squad as Connacht claimed their first ever IRFU U-18 Women's Interprovincial title recently. Nine of them started in the title-clinching 21-19 win over Leinster.
A week later Parsons and Reilly were named in the Ireland Women's squad for the upcoming November Tests. The pair were also invited, alongside club-mates Galvin and Deely, to an Emerging Talent Day squad get-together by Ireland Women's head coach Adam Griggs.
Credit: Irish Rugby TV
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