On December 8th 1885 the Connacht Branch of the Irish Rugby Union was founded. With this, the Connacht provisional team was also founded. During this armature era up until 1995, Connacht played the other 3 provinces in the Irish Interprovincial Championship. They also played against touring International teams.
The Connacht Rugby crest is taken from the flag of the Province of Connacht. Featured on the crest are a dimidiated eagle and a sword arm. The current Connacht Rugby Kit consists of a green shirt with a navy back and white shoulder trimming, green shorts and green socks. The reasons for the presence of these colours are unknown as the traditional colours of Connacht’s flag are Blue and white.
Since the late 1920s the home of Connacht Rugby, has been the Galway Sportsgrounds. It is often known “the Sportsground”.
The European Challenge Cup in 97-98 was very successful for Connacht Rugby. The team, finished top of their group. Connacht won 5 of their 6. With having a win over both Northampton and Bordeaux-Bègles away, this made Connacht the first professional Irish team to beat an English team in England and a French team in France. They played SU Agen away in the quarter-final in the Stade Armandie, losing 40–27.
The winning beginning
In 2011–12 Connacht made their first-ever Heineken Cup appearance. This was due to Leinster winning the 2011 Heineken Cup Final. In the 2010-11 season new rules were introduced. The new competition rules stated that the winners of both the European Challenge, and the Heineken Challenge Cup, would receive an automatic place in the following year’s Heineken Cup. The vacant place would then be passed on to another team from that country if the tournament winner was already qualified by domestic performance. Having qualified through performance in the 2010–11 Celtic League, Leinster were through giving Connacht the extra berth. During this season, Connacht lost their first 5 pool stage matches. In their final game of pool stages Connacht managed an upset by beating Harlequins 9-8, which prevented the premiership club from topping the group, knocking them into the Challenge cup.
In the summer 2011, the supporters club, the Connacht Clan, was formed. It run voluntary by a committee elected by its members. In September 2011, for the first time in the clubs history, ticket sales went over the 3,000 mark. The 2011-12 season also saw an increase of 105% on average attendance in the previous season. During this time a new phase of development occurred, increasing capacity to 7,500.
On 28 May 2016, Connacht won their first ever major trophy, the 2015–16 Pro12 after a 20-10 win against Leinster in the final. Before this win, Connacht had never finished in a higher league position than any of their provincial rivals.
How to get there
Maldron Hotel Sandy Road Galway is located less than 1/2 a mile from the Connacht Rugby sportsground and provides the perfect base for the rugby season. If you’re looking for a taxi to take you there, there is a taxi rank located to the front of the hotel. If you are looking to walk we are just a 15 minute walk away. If driving is for you, we are only a 6 minute drive away with parking provided at the Sportsground. Come follow your team and let our team look after your rugby hotel in Galway.
At the Sportsgrounds it contains 6 stands; 3 covered stands including Main Stand, North West Stand and the Grant Thornton Stand and 3 uncovered stands including Bohermore Terrace, Clan Stand and College Road Terrace It also has a kids only viewing point and a wheelchair accessible area in its Clan Stand. The sportsgrounds has a lot to offer with its facilities. There are bars on site, along with a fast food restaurant and two restaurants with bathrooms facilities provided throughout the Sportsgrounds.