– 2008/9 season preview –

– 2008/9 season preview –

Club Details
Connacht Rugby
Galway Sportsground
College Road

Stadium Capacity: 7,000
Founded: 1885

Last time around: Connacht finished bottom of the lot, their fourth consecutive bottom two finish, having managed just five wins. A porous defence put paid to any hopes the weakest Irish province had of mounting a serious challenge on those clubs battling it out for a mid-table finish. Despite their dismal finish Connacht did manage two surprise wins – against the Ospreys and Scarlets – but lacked any sort of consistency.

This time: It has hard to see anything but another rock-bottom finish for Connacht, a side who get by on minimal resources and without the luxury of a string of international stars. Head Coach Michael Bradley will again look for a collective squad effort rather than relying on certain individuals. Connacht's best finish, ninth when there were twelve teams in the old Celtic League, is in little danger of being beaten.

Coach: Michael Bradley has toiled away with the Connacht squad and continues to impress despite a squad that isn't afforded the luxury of big name players. Such is his standing in Irish rugby that he was charged with coaching Ireland on their tour to New Zealand and Australia, and despite failing to pick up a win did enough to suggest he is a coach with a bright future. He will again have his work cut out at the Sportsground but will not let that detract from the task at hand.

Captain: Connacht will be skippered by John Muldoon this season. The former age-grade flanker has also gained recognition with Ireland 'A' having made his Connacht debut in 2004. Since then he has grown both as a player and as an individiual, and according to Bradley is the perfect candidate to lead the province forward.

One to watch: In Liam Bibo Connacht have an exciting back who is equally comfortable at centre, wing or full-back. A former Australian Schools representitive Bibo went on to feature for the U19 and U20 sides before signing with Connacht. Expect the powerful back to make a big impression this seaon.

Final 2008/09 league position prediction: 10th

Squad: Liam Bibo, Andrew Browne, Kieran Campbell, Fionn Carr, Sean Cronin, Mel Deane, Tim Donnelly, Gavin Duffy, Andy Dunne, Andrew Farley, Adrian Flavin, David Gannon, John Hearty, Conor Higgins, Ian Keatley, Ronan Loughney, John Lyne, Mike McCarthy, Brian McGovern, Keith Matthews, Joe Merrigan, Robbie Morris, Conor Muldoon, John Muldoon, Frank Murphy, Jonny O'Connor, Ray Ofisa Treviranus, Conor O'Loughlin, Colm Rigney, Danny Riordan, Mike Roberts, Michael Swift, Brett Wilkinson, Aidan Wynne.

Colours: Green and Black

Tickets: Contact Ticket Master for all Connacht ticket enquieries.

Travel connections:

Car: Take the N6 until you reach the R338 roundabout where you turn either right or left (depending on direction) onto Sean Mulvoy Road. At the next roundabout go straight over and you reach a third roundabout, turn right here onto R339 College Road. The Sportsground will be on your right hand side as you travel along the R339.

Train: The Galway Rail Station (“Ceannt Station”) is located on the south-western corner of Eyre Square. The tourist office and city centre are all less than 5 minutes walk from the station.

Bus: Citylink provide a service between Shannon Airport and Galway city

Plane: The most direct route is to Galway Airport, the Airport is 5 miles to the east of Galway city. It's main problem though is the limited flight schedule which means flying direct is considerably more expensive, two airlines fly into Galway – Aer Arran and BMI Baby. You can check routes, costs and availability on the Airport website.