Ann Heneghan has become the first woman to ever be elected as a provincial rugby president after being voted in as Connacht’s new president.
After holding the position as senior vice-president and junior president for the past two seasons, Heneghan was elected president following a virtual AGM on Monday.
The appointment has been welcomed as a huge and progressive step forward for Irish rugby, with Heneghan a key voice behind the scenes at Connacht for many years.
She has served in several other positions within the province, including chairperson of the Connacht rugby disciplinary committee. More recently she was appointed as a Judicial Officer for World Rugby, facilitating on cases across a range of competitions.
Her election as Connacht’s new president means that Heneghan will have the distinct honour of holding the position when Connacht marks its 135th anniversary.
The club said: “History was made last night when Ann Heneghan was elected the first ever female President of Connacht Rugby.
“Ms. Heneghan, originally from Partry in Co. Mayo is the first woman to hold a Presidential role at provincial level in Irish rugby.”
Heneghan appeared on RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland, and said that she hopes she is the first of many women to rise to such roles in the sport.
“I have been involved in rugby for a lot of years and so it’s a huge honour for me,” she said.
“My hope now in reaching a position like this would be to inspire women to reach higher roles in rugby and not to have the thought that rugby is still a man’s game.
“It is possible to break through and create a role for yourself in the game. Connacht Rugby have been very supportive of me all the way through and delighted to take up this role with them.”