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Connacht Clan Launched

By Rob Murphy @
July 26 2011

If there was any doubt left about the groundswell of support the professional game is experiencing in the west of Ireland, last week’s inaugural supporters club meeting at the
Sportsground should put an end to that.


No less than 40 people turned up for first meeting of the new ‘Connacht Clan’ Supporters club on Wednesday.

A room full of dyed in the wool supporters who love the game and get to the Sportsground as much as possible.

Two things that are important to note here.

1. That number is a huge one for a July meeting at the Sportsground. As a life long follower of rugby in Connacht I never thought I’d see anything like this.

2. All bar a handful of those who showed up were folk not already ingrained with club committees around the province.

Let’s focus on that second point. In the past, such a venture would fall back on the same core group of people involved in rugby in the province and inevitably we were left with committee members who were already volunteering in various Connacht clubs and therefore left in a position where they had to double up with the provincial team as well.

That’s changing. A new wave of people are thinking rugby in the west and ready to step into the breech for the provincial team. They will look after the interest of all fans allowing those involved at grassroots level to carry on safe in the knowledge that their views on Connacht will be aired.

In other words, it’s not just Connacht rugby that’s growing at the moment, it’s the Connacht rugby community.

Filling committee slots was no issue either, Leighton Turner was elected president last night, he and Niall Shiel chaired the initial meeting, the latter is secretary at Corinthians RFC and therefore asked not to be co-opted onto the board but wanted to see the club creation process through to the finish.

The Connacht Branch will have some input, a delegation from the PGB led by Simon Heaslip facilitated the process of setting up the club and Martin Fallon of the Connacht Branch was on hand last night to help with the meeting. He will also act as treasurer for the committee.

That said, it seems the branch are determined to emphasis that the club itself will be independent. Funds raised will be for the supporters club alone, events organised will be facilitated by the branch but not driven by them and by the looks of things, all views will get an airing.

Lines of communication between supporters and the branch have been distorted and at times dead in the past. That’s all changing, which can only be good.

The new club will have our full support from day one here on and we have no doubt that the Connacht media in general will be keen to promote all ventures.

From last night’s meeting it seems their remit will include, sourcing affordable options for away travel in groups, regular supporters events and facilitating supporter forums with team and management among other things.

Those forums will be held in four locations next season, one in each county outside of Galway. Eric Elwood is determined to bring players and management to different locations where supporters can meet them and engage in an open forum.

It all sounds encouraging.

Leaving the Sportsground we could see foundations are in place for the new Connacht Clan terrace on the club house side, when finished it will cater for 2,600 supporters.

The season ticket sales are not far off 2,500 at this stage, the ground is being upgraded into one which will carry the big crowds more comfortably and with a seemingly enticing atmosphere for good measure.

It still won’t be anyone’s idea of a palace but it will be a lot more welcoming for supporters without been any less inhospitable for away players.

Wednesday was merely the first steps but Connacht supporters will have a voice next season and for the price of €20, a good return on the investment seems likely.

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Connacht Clan Launched
Discussion started by Connacht Rugby Supporters (IP Logged), 27/07/2011 00:16
Connacht Rugby Supporters
Connacht Rugby Supporters
27/07/2011 00:16
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