The Castlebar ladies rugby team will be looking to bring some more provincial glory home with them, when they take on Tullamore in the Connacht Innovational Cup final in the Sportsground in Galway tomorrow at 2pm. The ladies team which only came into existence in 2012, has had a fairytale run over the past two years, going from strength to strength and winning trophies along the way. Last year they picked the Connacht League title with a comprehensive win over Canterbury Warriors on a scoreline of 45-6.
Castlebar captain Caroline Staunton is looking forward to getting stuck into the Offaly side on Saturday she told the Mayo Advertiser this week. “We’re facing into a new challenge on Saturday against Tullamore, we’ve never got to play them before. That’s always a challenge, when you don’t know what to expect from your opposition. But we’ve been playing well this season and training has been going good, so we’ll be prepared for everything they throw at us tomorrow.”
Staunton highlighted the commitment from her team-mates both on and off the field as being the key factor in getting the team to this stage. “There’s been a serious commitment from all the girls this year, and it’ll be a just reward for all that if we win on Saturday, we’ve around 30 girls in this squad and every one of them is willing and able to do their bit if needed tomorrow to win.” While the girls’ efforts on the field have got them this far they would not have got anywhere without their coaches who have guided them so well this year, said Staunton. “Ger Prendergast and Christy Cusack have been great this year, they’ve been patient when they needed to be and worked us hard when they had to. Christy’s been with us since the start and has been brilliant, but having Ger come on board this year has given us a fresh voice to listen to and Christy a break from having to listen to us too!”
On the route to this year’s final, Castlebar got off to a shaky start losing to the Canterbury Warriors in their opening group game 12-0, but they returned the favour in the return leg running out 36-0. They needed a late try to see off St Senan’s in Shannon 29-24, before disposing of the Clare based side easily in the return leg to book their place in the final at the top of their group.
The team are sponsored by The Castle Inn, Murray’s Ambulance Service, Cuffe Car Sales, Divas & Studs Hair Studio, Elverys Sports, and Rockys Bar.
Castlebar squad: Cathy Blake, Caroline Brennan, Yvonne Byrne, Claire Cuffe, Marcella Derrig, Emma Doyle, Martha Egan, Margaret Fitzgibbon, Tara Grufferty, Nicola Hall (vice captain ), Kiara Irwin, Grace Kelly, Sandra Kenny, Noelle Kilduff, Rowena McLoughlin, Linda McManamon, Yvonne McNabb, Audrey McNicholas, Fiona Nic Ruairí, Darwyn O’Halloran, Anne Marie O’Hora, Joanne Reilly, Caroline Staunton (Captain ), Cora Staunton, and Jacinta Walsh.