Cillian Gallagher has confirmed he has retired from professional rugby following a long-standing shoulder injury.
 
It was announced on Tuesday that Gallagher is among the players leaving the club at the end of the season, and the Sligo native has now confirmed he will end his career.
 
The lock came through the Connacht Academy and made his pro debut against Worcester in the 2017-18 Challenge Cup. In total he made 15 appearances, with the last of those coming against Montpellier in November 2019.
 
Gallagher has released the following statement:
 
It is with deep sadness that I have decided to retire from professional rugby at the end of this coming season. After 3 shoulder surgeries and having discussed it with the Connacht medical staff, shoulder surgeon and my family, I feel this is the best decision for me going forward.
 
From a young age I dreamed of playing rugby at the highest level and to be able to do this with Connacht, my home province, fills me with pride. Whilst my time there has been cut short I’ll never forget the amazing memories made whenever I put on that green jersey.
 
I’d like to thank all those who helped me to get where I am today; my underage coaches at Sligo RFC and Summerhill College, those at Corinthians RFC and most recently the medical and performance staff at Connacht Rugby who left no stone unturned in the battle to help me return from this injury.
 
I’d like to thank my teammates, who never failed to put a smile on my face through some of the tough days in the previous few seasons. I leave Connacht Rugby with an abundance of fond memories and, no doubt, friends made for life.
 
Lastly to my parents, family and my girlfriend. I cannot thank you enough for your support over the last few years. They have been with me on every step of this journey and have shared all the joys of professional rugby with me, along with the seemingly inevitable lows. I hope I have made you all proud.
 
I now look forward to moving onto the next stage of my life and whatever it may have in store.

Connacht Rugby can confirm the players that will depart the club at the end of the season.
 
As previously announced, Quinn Roux has moved on after 7 years at Connacht, Stephen Fitzgerald has announced his retirement from rugby due to injury, and Academy centre Sean O’Brien has joined Exeter Chiefs.
 
Conor Dean, Colm de Buitlear, Cillian Gallagher, Conor Kenny, Stephen Kerins and Paddy McAllister will also be departing the club.
 
Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend has thanked all the players for their commitment during their respective contracts:
 
“There will always be comings and goings in Professional rugby. I’d like to wish all the players every success in the future, whether they are looking to further their playing careers or go down a new path. They have made a lot of sacrifices, particularly in the last year while we as a group dealt with the pandemic, so I thank them for that also. They will always be welcome back to The Sportsground.”
 
Connacht Rugby are continuing to shape the Professional squad for next season and further announcements will be made in due course.

Following today’s team announcement, the Connacht medical team have released the latest squad update:
 
Caolin Blade (hamstring) will be unavailable for a number of weeks.
 
Dominic Robertson-McCoy (calf) will be available for selection over the coming weeks.
 
Peter Robb (groin) will look to integrate into training by the end of the month.
 
Tiernan O’Halloran (adductor) will be unavailable until mid-December.
 
Conor Dean (thumb) has undergone surgery and will be unavailable until January.
 
Stephen Fitzgerald (knee) continues his training integration after a long-term injury and is due to be available for selection in the coming weeks.
 
Oisin Dowling (back) is also stepping up his rehab from a long-term injury with an aim of returning in mid-December.
 
Sean O’Brien (foot) has resumed full training following a long-term injury.
 
Ben O’Donnell (knee), Niall Murray (shoulder) and Cillian Gallagher (shoulder) remain unavailable.
 

Meanwhile all Connacht players and essential staff tested negative in this week’s PCR testing.

Following today’s team announcement, the Connacht medical team have issued the following squad update:
 
Niall Murray (shoulder) underwent surgery earlier this week and will be out action until January 2021.
 
Tom Farrell (thigh), Caolin Blade (ill), Peter Robb (groin) and Matt Healy (calf) will look to integrate into full team training next week.
 
Tiernan O’Halloran (hip) will continue to rehabilitate and will aim to integrate into team training the following week (19.10.20)
 
Cillian Gallagher (shoulder) continues his rehabilitation and aims to return to team training at the end of the month.
 
Sean O’Brien (foot) continues his rehabilitation.
 
Oisin Dowling (back) continues his rehabilitation from a long-term injury.
 
Stephen Fitzgerald (knee) continues to rehabilitate and will look to commence training integration in the coming weeks.
 
Ben O’Donnell (knee) has recently joined the squad and continues his rehabilitation from a long-term knee injury.
 
NOTE: PCR testing this week produced zero positive results amongst Connacht players and staff.

Following today’s squad announcement for tomorrow’s Guinness PRO14 opener against Glasgow, the Connacht medical team have requested the following squad update:
 
Peter Robb (groin) and Matt Healy (calf) will both return to team training next week as they progress their rehabilitation from respective injuries.

Tiernan O’Halloran (hip) sustained a hip injury in training this week and will look to return to training next week.

Ultan Dillane (head) sustained a head injury in the Munster ‘A’ game last weekend and is following return to play protocols.

Cillian Gallagher (shoulder) is continuing his rehabilitation from a shoulder injury and will integrate into team training later this month.

Sean O’Brien (foot) is continuing his rehabilitation from a foot injury.

Oisin Dowling (back) is continuing his rehabilitation for a long term back injury.

Stephen Fitzgerald (knee) is continuing his rehabilitation from knee surgery earlier this year and will integrate into team training later this month.

Ireland internationals Jack Carty and Bundee Aki are both named in the Connacht matchday squad to face Leinster in the Sportsground on Friday (Kick off 7:35pm).
 
Carty comes straight back into the side at out half while Aki is named among the replacements for the first interpro clash of the season.
 
Carty plays his first game since Ireland’s win over Russia in the World Cup and he forms a half back partnership with Caolin Blade. At midfield, Peter Robb is retained after his recent outstanding performances and he will be partnered by Tom Farrell.
 
FIND YOUR MATCH TICKETS HERE
Elsewhere in the back line Stephen Fitzgerald comes in on the wing with Darragh Leader at full back and the in-form Niyi Adeolokun on the opposite wing.
 
Up front, there is a highly experienced front row with Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham filling the loosehead and tighthead spots respectively and Tom McCartney named at hooker.
 
In the second row, Sligo man Cillian Gallagher comes in for his first start of the season alongside Joe Maksymiw. The back row has a familiar look to it with flankers Eoghan Masterson and Jarrad Butler lining up alongside Paul Boyle at number 8.
 
Commenting ahead of the game, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “We are happy with the start we have made in the PRO14 with four wins in a row. What is even more satisfying is the depth we have already displayed, with 35 players already used in the opening five games. With Jack Carty, Bundee Aki and Sean O’Brien all coming back in this week, that number will hopefully go to 38”.
 
“We obviously face another huge challenge this weekend against Leinster but our challenge is to just maintain the consistency we have seen over the past few weeks both at home and away. We take huge pride in our home record, with just one loss in thirteen games and we expect a massive crowd again on Friday night”, he added.
 

Connacht Matchday Squad V Leinster (Fri 8 NOV, 7:35 PM)

(15-9): Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Peter Robb, Stephen Fitzgerald, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade (1-8): Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Cillian Gallagher, Joe Maksymiw, Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler (C), Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Matthew Burke, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Sean O’Brien, Colby Fainga’a, Kieran Marmion, Bundee Aki, Kyle Godwin.

Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend has given 21 year old Sligo man Cillian Gallagher his first start of the season as Connacht take on Conference rivals Cardiff Blues in the Guinness PRO14 on Saturday (Kick off 5:15pm).
 
Gallagher is one of ten changes to the Connacht side that played Bordeaux last weekend, with six players away on international duty and Gavin Thornbury picking up a shoulder injury in training during the week.
 
In the front row, Denis Buckley is named at loosehead alongside Finlay Bealham at tighthead and hooker Dave Heffernan, who signed a contract extension this week. Gallagher’s inclusion in the second row sees him form a partnership with James Cannon, while in the back row captain Jarrad Butler comes back into the side at number 8 alongside flankers Eoin McKeon and Colby Fainga’a.
 
The half-back pairing sees James Mitchell coming in to partner David Horwitz who is retained at out-half.
 
The back three sees Tiernan O’Halloran starting again at full-back with Matt Healy and Cian Kelleher on the wings. In the midfield, on loan centre Tom Daly starts his second game of the season alongside Kyle Godwin.
 
With Connacht sitting five points ahead of Cardiff in Conference A of the PRO14, Head Coach Andy Friend says that this is a hugely important fixture in Connacht’s season; “We have won eight of our last ten games so we go into the game with confidence but we know what a tough team Cardiff are to play, especially when they are at home. These inter-conference games have a huge bearing on the overall standings in the PRO14 so we are fully aware of the importance of the fixture”, the Head Coach said.
 
We have made a few changes to our match day squad with players away on international duty and a few injuries to contend with, but we have picked a team that we have full confidence in to go to Cardiff and get a result”, Friend added.
 
#CARvCON
 
Kick-off 5:15pm:
 
(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Kyle Godwin, Tom Daly, Matt Healy, David Horwitz, James Mitchell, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, James Cannon, Cillian Gallagher, Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).
Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Matthew Burke, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Joe Maksymiw, Paul Boyle, Angus Lloyd, Conor Fitzgerald, Stephen Fitzgerald.
 

Connacht Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to announce that Academy players Cillian Gallagher, Conan O’Donnell and Peter Claffey have all signed senior professional contracts with the province for the 2018/19 season.

Gallagher and O’Donnell’s development closely reflects the impressive growth of the game in the wider Sligo region, driven by the great work of Sligo RFC, Summerhill College and Sligo Grammar School.

O’Donnell’s rise through the ranks at club and school level was rewarded with an academy contract with Connacht Rugby, with the prop making his debut for the Connacht senior side in the PRO12 winning season in 2016. He has since gone on to make a total of nine senior appearances in his three years in the academy system.

Lock Cillian Gallagher is another product of Sligo RFC and has signed his first professional contract after a two year term in the academy. He made his debut for the senior team at home to Worcester Warriors in the European Challenge Cup in October and has gone on to make five appearances in total this season.

Portumna native Peter Claffey is a lock who also has a bright future having graduated through the underage system in both Ballinasloe RFC and his school, Garbally College. Both club and school have been long time developers of young talent and Claffey’s development is a continuation of their great work at grassroots level within then province.

Commenting on the contract signings, Connacht CEO Willie Ruane said: “The development of players from our club and school system and through our academy is essential for the future success of Connacht. We are delighted that three more players are making the step up to full time professional contracts next season.  Our vision of Grassroots to Green Shirts sets out a clear strategy of developing home grown players through the structures in place in the province. All three have come through that path and they will be an important part of the senior squad next season.”

Welcoming the signings, Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane said: “It is great to see three players from the province making the step up to the senior squad.  All three have been integrating into the senior squad training this season and we have been impressed with the progress they have made. Their development to full time professional contracts is a credit to the work being done at club and schools level throughout the province.”

 

Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane has announced his starting XV to take on Munster in Thomond Park on Saturday (Kick Of 7:45pm – Live on TG4). Irish Internationals Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion and Bundee Aki are all rested this weekend in an effort to manage their game time.

 

Prop Peter McCabe is given a start against his former club and he is joined in the front row by Hooker Tom McCartney and tight head Conor Carey. Quinn Roux comes into the second row and there is a third start of the season in the back row for 20 year old Sligo native and Academy player Cillian Gallagher.

 

Eoin Griffin and Pita Ahki form the new centre partnership and the back three is made up or Tiernan O’Halloran at fullback with Niyi Adeolokun and Matt Healy on the wings. Caolin Blade comes in at scrum half and will play alongside Jack Carty. Among the replacements, prop Conan O’Donnell and back row Paul Boyle make the step up from the Connacht Academy.

 

Speaking ahead of the clash with Munster, Connacht Head Coach Kieran said: “We have come through a series of big games and some guys have seen a lot of game time. Our internationals in particular are due a break especially with the Six Nations just around the corner. The squad is in a really good place at the moment. Obviously, we felt we could and should have won against Leinster and we came very close. We did the review during the week, we identified where we came up short and now we move on. The performance and effort levels from the boys over the past few weeks has been top quality and particularly in the interpro series we have seen some real character.”

We have some changes in personnel for the Munster game so there are opportunities for other guys to show what they are capable of. Munster will be hurting after their two games over the Christmas period and at home they will be a massive challenge. They have quality all over the park and I’m sure they will be really determined to get back to winning ways before they get back to European competition”.

 

#MUNvCON

Kick-off 7:45pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Eoin Griffin, Pita Ahki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade,
(1-8) Peter McCabe, Tom McCartney, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, James Cannon, Cillian Gallagher, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Conan O’Donnell, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Paul Boyle, James Mitchell, Craig Ronaldson, Darragh Leader.

 

 

 

 

Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane has made three changes to his starting XV to face Brive in the European Challenge Cup, in the Sportsground on Saturday (K.O. 3pm). Connacht secured a bonus point win last weekend with a 38 – 31 win away to the French Top14 side.

Darragh Leader comes into the side at full back, James Connolly is in at openside and James Mitchell makes his first start for the province at scrum half. Connacht sit on top of Pool 5 after three rounds and a win at home to Brive would put them in an excellent position to qualify for a home Quarter Final.

Sligo native and Academy player Cillian Gallagher is retained in the starting line up at blindside after making his first start last weekend. For the second time this season, Eoghan Masterson is set to the captain the side from number 8.

There is a huge amount of experience on the bench with Tom McCartney, John Muldoon, Kieran Marmion and Tiernan O’Halloran named among the replacements.

In Brive last weekend the home side got off to the best possible, scoring three tries and leading by 16 points after 28 minutes but by half time Connacht were back in the game with tries from Ultan Dillane and Kieran Marmion. In advance of the return leg, Connacht Backs Coach Nigel Carolan says that Connacht need to be more consistent over the 80 minutes. “We are hoping to use the win over Brive last weekend to kick us off to another good run of form. We have some big games coming up and maintaining a level of consistency is what we are aiming to achieve. We can’t afford to be complacent though. We haven’t played at home in a few weeks, so the lads are looking forward to being back out in front of a festive home crowd and producing the performance that can achieve a good result.

 

#BRIvCON

Kick-off 3pm:

(15-9) Darragh Leader, Cian Kelleher, Pita Ahki, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, James Mitchell,
(1-8) Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Cillian Gallagher, James Connolly, Eoghan Masterson (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, James Cannon, John Muldoon, Kieran Marmion, Tom Farrell, Tiernan O’Halloran.

 

 

 

 

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