Congratulations to 5th Year Eloise Clarke and Ivana Kiripati of the class of 2021, who have had great provincial rugby success in recent months. Both girls have shone at a club, provincial and national level to date and their skill has been displayed on both the Touch and Rugby Union fields.

Initial trials for the U18s provincial side took place at the start of the summer, with three two-hour training sessions being held over three weeks. These sessions were overseen by coaches from around Connaught. The initial 150 players were whittled down to 45. This group then trained as a team 3 times a week in venues throughout Connaught, with Wednesdays seeing them based at GMIT for a five-hour session, incorporating gym work, skills, strength work and conditioning. The final panel of 30 saw Eloise and Ivana called up to the side.

Eloise took up the Number 6 (blind-side flanker) position, with Ivana playing at Number 8 and, also Vice-Captaining the side for their first interpro match against Leinster on August 29th.

Their second outing against Munster on September 5th, saw Ivana lead the team as Captain and gain victory with a 7-5 win. Ivana’s turnovers were described by match commentator as “inspirational” and in the first quarter Eloise had to be forced into touch by the Munster girls just metres out to prevent a try.

Eloise was still flying the Bower flag in the side’s fixture against Ulster on September 11th. However, Ivana was not in action, as she was preparing to travel to the USA, where she has been awarded both a Dean’s and Athletic Scholarship at the American International College in Springfield, MA. She is set to begin her Undergraduate Degree in Human Biology and we wish her every success in her studies.

Both girls have a bright sporting future and we congratulate them on their achievements to date.