At underage level there are more players than ever enjoying the sport. Regionally, too, the game has developed, with clubs starting to spring up outside the traditional Galway base.
Likewise the province’s flagship has been guaranteed Heineken Cup rugby next year and the season ticket record set this year will easily be beaten before the start of the 2012/13 campaign.
Now Eric Elwood wants to cap a magnificent season by travelling to Scotland and beating Glasgow Warriors and securing their highest ever Celtic League finish.
“Glasgow are riding high in the league,” said Elwood. “Their coach is leaving, they’re leaving Firhill and they are also gunning for a top-four position so we know the pressure’s on them, and they’ll be coming out all guns blazing but at the same time we’re looking to cause an upset and finish a record eighth, that would be a very good return for us this season.
“We’re really looking to finish on a high and saying goodbye to some great servants of the club, that goes for everyone, from fellas like Henry [Fa’afili] who has been here for just a year to the likes of Ray [Ofisa] who’s been here for over six years and we’d like to give them the send-off they deserve, and on top of that wish [CEO] Gerry Kelly the best of luck in his retirement so we’re really looking for a big performance.”
CONNACHT: G Duffy (capt); K Tonetti, E Griffin, H Fa’afili, T O’Halloran; M Nikora, F Murphy; D Buckley, A Flavin, R Loughney; M Swift, M McCarthy; J Muldoon; J O’Connor, G Naoupu.
Replacements: D Murphy, S Maguire, R Ah You, M Kearney, R Ofisa, P O’Donohoe, M Jarvis, J Loxton.