Colm Reilly and Conor Kenny have been handed their first Connacht starts after they were named in the starting XV to face Scarlets at The Sportsground on Saturday night (k/o 7.35pm).
 
Ballinasloe native Colm Reilly made his debut off the bench in Connacht’s last outing – a bonus point win in Edinburgh – and he’s now been handed the number 9 jersey for the first time with the returning Jack Carty partnering him at out-half. Kieran Marmion has been released from international duty to be named among the replacements.
 
Kenny meanwhile has made 7 appearances as a replacement since making his debut at the start of last season. The tighthead prop starts for the first time alongside Shane Delahunt and Paddy McAllister who also enjoys his first start of the campaign.
 
Kenny is another product of the Connacht grassroots system, having played for Buccaneers RFC and Garbally College where he won a Connacht Schools Cup.
 
Ultan Dillane returns from Ireland camp to start in the second row alongside Gavin Thornbury, while the back row is unchanged from the Edinburgh win with Jarrad Butler captaining the side from openside flanker, Paul Boyle starting on the opposite flank and Abraham Papali’i at number 8.
 
The centres consist of Tom Daly and Sammy Arnold, while in the back three the in-form duo of winger Alex Wootton and full-back John Porch keep their place in the side. Connacht’s record try-scorer Matt Healy makes his first start of the season on the opposite wing.
 
Commenting ahead of the game, Head Coach Andy Friend said:
 
“While having two postponed games was disappointing, we’ve made sure to take a positive approach to the situation. We’ve had a great few weeks training and it’s given some players the opportunity to reach full fitness again. It’s also our first home game in six weeks so we’re looking forward to that.”
 
Regarding his team selection, Friend added:
 
“In Conor and Colm we have two more Academy graduates making their first starts which is a real positive for us as a club. We’ve also got plenty of experience available to us again since the Edinburgh game, like Jack Carty, Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion and Matt Healy. So we’re in a healthy spot overall and we can’t wait to get back playing.”
 
CONNACHT MATCHDAY SQUAD vs Scarlets Rugby
Saturday 14th November @ The Sportsground (k/o 7.35pm)
 
Number/Name/Caps
15. John Porch (21)
14. Alex Wootton (4)
13. Sammy Arnold (4)
12. Tom Daly (28)
11. Matt Healy (137)
10. Jack Carty (142)
9. Colm Reilly (1)
1. Paddy McAllister (12)
2. Shane Delahunt (80)
3. Conor Kenny (7)
4. Ultan Dillane (98)
5. Gavin Thornbury (42)
6. Paul Boyle (43)
7. Jarrad Butler (C) (59)
8. Abraham Papali’i (2)
 
16. Jonny Murphy (8)
17. Denis Buckley (182)
18. Jack Aungier (4)
19. Eoghan Masterson (94)
20. Conor Oliver (5)
21. Kieran Marmion (169)
22. Tom Farrell (60)
23. Peter Sullivan (3)

Connacht Rugby have announced that Tom Daly, Peter Robb, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Shane Delahunt and Conor Kenny have all signed contract extensions with the province.
 
The signings come as a boost to Connacht as they continue to finalise their squad ahead of the 2020/21 season. Daly, Robb and Robertson-McCoy have all signed two-year extensions to keep them at the Sportsground until the end of the 2021/22 season, while Delahunt and Kenny have signed one-year extensions with the province.
 
Tom Daly joined Connacht in December 2018 and made his debut in the interprovincial derby with Munster in January 2019. In the 12 months since he has played over 20 times for Andy Friend’s side. Daly has previously been capped for Ireland at U20 level and is also a former captain of the Ireland Rugby 7s team.
 
Centre Peter Robb featured prominently in Connacht’s Guinness PRO12 winning season when he made 12 appearances throughout that campaign. The 25 year old has recovered from a number of recent injuries and has amassed 10 appearances so far this season.
 
Dominic Robertson-McCoy is now in his fourth season with Connacht. The New Zealand born Irish-qualified tighthead has made 50 appearances in the Connacht jersey – 16 of them coming in the current campaign.
 
Shane Delahunt joined Connacht through the Academy in 2014 and made his debut for the province in September of that year. The 26 year old also featured in Connacht’s Championship winning season in 2015/16 while still an academy player. He has a total of 74 appearances for Connacht.
 
Conor Kenny is another player to have come through the Connacht Academy, playing his club rugby with Buccaneers RFC and Connacht Schools with Garbally College where he won a Senior Cup medal in 2015. He has made 5 appearances in the Connacht senior side so far this season.
 
Commenting on the latest contract extensions, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “We are delighted to have Tom Daly, Peter Robb, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Shane Delahunt and Conor Kenny all signing contract extensions with Connacht. During our Champions Cup and PRO14 campaigns we have already seen the depth we need in the squad to perform on two fronts. We expect to have more announcements in the coming weeks as we are working to finalise our squad going into the 2020/21 season”.

Connacht Rugby are delighted to announce that three players from the NUIG sponsored Connacht Academy have signed their first professional contracts. Matthew Burke, Conor Fitzgerald and Conor Kenny have signed contracts with the province for the 2019/20 season. These latest signings follow Paul Boyle’s graduation to the senior squad earlier this season.
 
Matthew Burke has made eight appearances for the senior team so far this season having made his debut away to Sale in the Challenge Cup back in October. The 22 year old prop is a native of Ballinrobe and plays his club rugby with Corinthians.
 
Having joined the Connacht Academy at the start of the season, Conor Fitzgerald is another player who has already made a significant contribution to the senior side. The out-half made four appearances in the European Challenge Cup and a further two in the PRO14.
 
Prop Conor Kenny has come up through the underage structures in Buccaneers before going on to represent the senior side in the All Ireland League. He also represented Garbally College in Ballinasloe prior to joining the Connacht Academy three years ago.
 
Announcing the contract signings, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “I have been very impressed with the talent I have seen coming through the club and academy structures in the province. Earlier in the season, Paul Boyle signed his first professional contract and we are delighted to announce that Conor Fitzgerald, Matthew Burke and Conor Kenny will be added to our professional squad for next season. We have used Academy players throughout the season and my message to the next crop of players is that there will be opportunities for them to show what they can do. Our announcement today is great news for the players involved but the door is still open for others to make that step up. The recent Grand Slam success for the Ireland U20s, and the involvement of Connacht representatives Dylan Tierney-Martin, Niall Murray, Colm Reilly, and Ryan Lomas, is a further example of the further depth in our academy ranks.

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