The Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 Trophy Tour continued its journey around Connacht this week with stops in Portumna, Westport, the Connact Easter camps and Galwegians.
The visit to Galwegians was a perfect example of what it means to a club and its wider community to host the trophy which 12 teams from around the world will be battling to lift when Dublin and Belfast host WRWC 2017 from 9-26 August.
The club hosted a fun day last Sunday with several Ireland internationals in attendance as well as skill sessions, matches, ice cream and much more. There were also special medals for the participants to remember the day the Women's Rugby World Cup trophy came to town.
Galwegians is home to a number of players in the Ireland squad, including Ruth O'Reilly, Mary Healy, Mairead Coyne, Ciara O'Connor and Nicole Fowley and they were in attendance to support the fun day, train with the youngsters and pass on tips and skills to the next generation of players.
The trophy tour visit would have brought back some special memories for Galwegians coach Bath Mallard, the prop having played twice at Women's Rugby World Cup 2006 in Canada when the Black Ferns won their third successive title.
"It was a wonderful day in the club and it was great to see so many young girls enjoying rugby," said O'Reilly. "The tprohy was the centrepiece of the day and everyone loved seeing it arrive and posing for photos with it. Who knows, one day one of those girls may lift that trophy for real."
Ireland second-row Sophie Spence was on hand for a skills session when the tour stopped off at Portumna Rugby Club on Tuesday.
Ireland international Nora Stapleton, the IRFU Women's and Girl's Development Manager, has joined the trophy on a number of its stops to date and witnessed first hand the excitement the tour is generating across the country.
"The trophy tour has been really well received everywhere it has gone. So many people have turned out and there have been rugby festivals and tournaments to celebrate along the way," she said.
"I've been to a few of the visits and the reaction is just fantastic. The Women's Rugby World Cup ambassadors have been working hard on many of these events and our development officers have been instrumental in supporting the tour and the growth of the game."
#WRWC2017 Trophy Tour – Coming up
Over the Easter weekend, the tour moves on to Munster with a visit to the fanzone at Thomond Park for the PRO12 match between Munster and Limerick on Saturday.
For a list of stops on the tour, with more being added all the time, and a dedicated social hub, visit www.rwcwomens.com/trophy-tour.