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Ennis-Kilrush Striving To Make Women’s Rugby A Success In The Mid-West

16th May 2024 By The Editor

Ennis-Kilrush Striving To Make Women’s Rugby A Success In The Mid-West

Ennis-Kilrush win Division 1 league

Having only come to fruition just two short years ago the Ennis-Kilrush women’s team have gone from strength to strength.

Last season saw them run out as Division 2 league and cup champions, gaining them promotion for Division 1.

This season they doubled down on things as they went back-to-back winning both the Division 1 league and cup.

This also saw the team vying for AIL status as they were pitted against Leinster champions Tullow in the Energia AIL promotion semi-final. Unfortunately they were unable to achieve these feat this season but with a 40+ strong squad and a flourishing underage and schools system, there is not doubt that this team will continue to rise through the ranks.

Speaking about how they went about setting up this team, coach Gareth O’ Hanlon said

Ennis and Kilrush would have had two very good underage system the last number of years but once they got to 18 there was no adult women’s team. So the girls would play underage with their club the whole way up then they’d have to go to Cork or Limerick or Galway if they wanted to continue playing. We wanted to fill that gap just to make sure girls, and when they turn into women, have the opportunity to continue to play rugby.

Ennis-Kilrush Ladies Rugby Team

What was most important to Gareth and the rest of the coaching staff in the club was that they created an atmosphere that girls would want to keep returning to.

The whole point of it was really just to create a fun environment that makes girls want to come back to training week in week out. But we had to get the balance right as we do have a number of girls who have aspirations to play for Munster and Ireland. So trying to get the balance where they are progressing but also trying to make sure that girls who just want to play with the club are enjoying it and getting something out of it as well.

This has clearly been working for the West Munster club as they now boast a 40 strong player panel that will only continue to grow over the coming years.

Speaking about the importance of getting the girls out on the pitch and training O’ Hanlon said

If you have numbers at training that is how you will push on and progress and that’s our key ingredient is that we want to make sure girls to come training and the only way to do that is to make it fun.

Ennis-Kilrush After Munster Cup Win

After going back-to-back in both league and cup wins and earning themselves a spot in the Energia Women’s AIL semi-final play off, the future is bright for this team. But they aren’t in a rush to achieve it all at once.

I think we got an appetite for winning after our first season, we won Division 2 league and cup. Then winning Division 1 cup and the league this year was definitely not on our radar but it just kind of worked out well for us I suppose. Honestly we kind of didn’t really have any goals set out coming into this season, as I said we just really wanted to focus on girls continued to play rugby, and then after Christmas we were kind of like “oh jeez we’ve got a shot at winning the league here” and the cup came around and we had a good shot at that. AIL is a dream down the line especially with how close we got to it this season but ultimately we want to grow the game and provide an environment that the girls want to be apart of.

But even with the success of the last two seasons this West Munster outfit are still focused on what they set out to do in the first place which is growing the game in Clare.

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