The Connacht management team have named their matchday squad for tomorrow’s EPCR Challenge Cup meeting with Brive at The Sportsground (k/o 5.30pm).
A win would guarantee Connacht a spot in the knockout stages, and as such Head Coach Pete Wilkins has selected a strong starting XV for the game.
The 9-10-12 axis is fully homegrown, with Colm Reilly starting alongside captain Jack Carty, while Galway’s Cathal Forde retains his place at inside centre. Byron Ralston is named alongside him, while the back three includes a start for Mack Hansen at full-back and Alex Wootton and John Porch on the wings.
There are three internationals in the pack with Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham and Cian Prendergast. Peter Dooley joins Heffernan and Bealham in the front row while there’s a second row partnership of Josh Murphy and Niall Murray. The side is completed by openside flanker Conor Oliver and the fit-again number 8 Jarrad Butler.
Commenting on the team selection, Director of Rugby Andy Friend says:
“We’ve set ourselves a target of reaching the knockout stages of the Challenge Cup and then reassess from there, so our goal is to complete that first step tomorrow. Brive have hit a bit of form since we last played them, so we’re well aware that we will need to put in a strong performance if we’re to realise that goal.
The weather suggests it’s going to be another windy afternoon, so hopefully we can take some of the lessons from last weekend in how to best use the conditions that tend to prevail here in Galway.”

Saturday 14th January, 17:30 @ The Sportsground

15. Mack Hansen (22)
14. John Porch (71)
13. Byron Ralston (10)
12. Cathal Forde (5)
11. Alex Wootton (38)
10. Jack Carty (189) (C)
9. Colm Reilly (15)
1. Peter Dooley (11)
2. Dave Heffernan (176)
3. Finlay Bealham (183)
4. Josh Murphy (9)
5. Niall Murray (46)
6. Cian Prendergast (38)
7. Conor Oliver (52)
8. Jarrad Butler (105)

16. Dylan Tierney-Martin (13)
17. Jordan Duggan (32)
18. Jack Aungier (41)
19. Leva Fifita (20)
20. Ciaran Booth (3)
21. Kieran Marmion (221)
22. Tom Daly (69)
23. Conor Fitzgerald (61)

Bundee Aki and Conor Oliver have both been named in the starting XV to face Bristol Bears in Sunday’s pre-Christmas Heineken Champions Cup clash at The Sportsground (k/o 5.30pm).
Their inclusions are the only changes Andy Friend has made to the team that started in last Sunday’s losing bonus point defeat to Racing 92 in Paris. The squad features the same 23 players from that day, with Tom Daly and Jarrad Butler named among the replacements.
That means Paul Boyle again captains the side from the number 8 position, while Sean Masterson completes the back row with Boyle and Oliver. Sean’s brother Eoghan and Ultan Dillane again pair up in the second row, and Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham complete the pack.
Kieran Marmion and Jack Carty continue at scrum-half and out-half respectively, while Aki is partnered by Sammy Arnold at outside-centre. The back three is again made up of Matt Healy, Alex Wootton and John Porch.
The Connacht management have kept faith with the same replacements that impressed off the bench in Paris, including the young trio of Jordan Duggan, Jack Aungier and Cian Prendergast in the pack.
Commenting on his team selection, Head Coach Andy Friend says:
“While you’re never happy with a defeat, there was a huge amount to like about that performance in France last week. It makes sense for us to stick with those same group of players, so the key thing now is we bring that level of consistency to our game and produce it in week in week out. 14 of this squad of 23 came through the Connacht Academy which says it all about the trust we put in our systems at the club to play back-to-back Champions Cup games of this nature”.
Regarding the game itself, Friend added:
“European games under The Sportsground lights are always special occasions so no doubt we’ll miss our supporters again on Sunday. Both ourselves and Bristol know only a win will do if we want to reach the quarter-finals so it should be a great contest and hopefully we’ll come out the right side of the result.”
Sunday 20th December, The Sportsground, k/o 5.30pm
15. John Porch (25)
14. Alex Wootton (8)
13. Sammy Arnold (8)
12. Bundee Aki (104)
11. Matt Healy (140)
10. Jack Carty (145)
9. Kieran Marmion (171)
1. Denis Buckley (186)
2. Dave Heffernan (133)
3. Finlay Bealham (145)
4. Eoghan Masterson (98)
5. Ultan Dillane (102)
6. Sean Masterson (6)
7. Conor Oliver (8)
8. Paul Boyle (46) (C)
16. Shane Delahunt (84)
17. Jordan Duggan (4)
18. Jack Aungier (8)
19. Cian Prendergast (3)
20. Jarrad Butler (63)
21. Caolin Blade (116)
22. Tom Daly (32)
23. Tiernan O’Halloran (185)


We’re back in action in the Guinness PRO14 next Saturday night in the Sportsground. Our last home game of 2017 and the start of an exciting trilogy of Interpro derbies.




Four tries from Man on the Match Matt Healy – 9 kicks from 9 and a try from Jack Carty – and one try each from Tom Farrell and Kieran Marmion was the story of this game. Connacht stormed to a 45 point win to extend their lead at the top of Pool 5 of the European Challenge Cup and within touching distance of a home quarter final.





Connacht v Brive – Saturday 16th Dec, 15:00. Gates open at 13:30.

After a bonus point win away in France last weekend, we’re all set for the return leg this afternoon in the Sportsground. We’re now three from three in Pool 5 in the Challenge Cup and looking to consolidate the great start. 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.


How they’ll line up . . .


Head Coach Kieran Keane has made three changes to his starting XV. 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.

View full team details here


15. Gaetan Germain; 14. Nadir Megdoud, 13. Arnaud Mignardi, 12. Benjamin Petre, 11. Franck Romanet; 10. Matthieu Ugalde, 9. Florian Cazenave;
1. Vivien Devisme, 2. Mike Tadjer, 3. Demba Bamba, 4. Johan Snyman, 5. Jan Uys, 6. Péniami Narisia, 7. Dominiko Waqaniborutu, 8. Etienne Herjean
16. Louis Martin, 17. Karlen Asieshvili, 18. James Johnston, 19. Sisa Koyamaibole, 20. Julien Le Devedec, 21. David Delarue, 22. Thomas Laranjeira, 23. Guillaume Namy


Matchday at the Sportsground


Half Time Mini Rugby show sponsored by Four Star Pizza

The Half Time Mini Rugby show will feature the young stars of the future from Creggs RFC, Tuam RFC, Buccaneers RFC, Ballinasloe RFC.


Autography Alley

Denis Coulson, Eoin McKeon, Pat O’Toole and Niyi Adeolokun will be down at Autograph Alley to meet fans. Keep your eyes peeled for signs to the locations. The lads will be there from 14:25.

  • Clan Terrace Autograph Alley: Inside the Clan Bar
  • Main Terrace Autograph Alley: Inside the Main Stand



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.



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.





Following the bonus point win away to Brive last weekend the squad are busy preparing for the return fixture this Saturday in the Sportsground (K.O. at 3pm).


Below are some of the best pictures from training this week.





There were no significant new injuries from the two games versus Brive and Richmond (Eagles) last weekend for the Connacht Senior Squad.



Dominic Robertson McCoy is continuing his rehabilitation from thumb surgery and will be out of action until the end of 2017.

JP Cooney is rehabilitating from a recent hamstring injury and will return to action in early 2018.



Andrew Browne is continuing his rehabilitation from Achilles surgery and will be out of action until early 2018.


Back Row:

Eoin McKeon will return to full training this week following his recent hamstring injury versus Cardiff.

Jake Heenan is recovering from shoulder surgery and will be out of action until April 2018.

Jarrad Butler is continuing his recovery from recent knee surgery and is due to return during the interpros series.

Sean O’Brien is recovering following shoulder surgery and will be out of action until early 2018.



Craig Ronaldson (calf) and Peter Robb (hip) both played 40 minutes for the Eagles at the weekend with no ill effects.


Back Three:

Stacey Ili (shoulder) played for the Eagles at the weekend with no ill effects.

Rory Scholes is continuing his recovery following the removal of his appendix and will return in early 2018.

Cormac Brennan will return in early 2018 following shoulder surgery.




We held our Season Ticket holder day at the Sportsground on Saturday as Connacht defeated Bristol 24-14 in a pre-season game.

We host Glasgow Warriors in our opening Guinness PRO14 game at the Sportsground on Saturday night.

Buy tickets online and save 15% 

Kieran Keane recorded the first win of his tenure as Head Coach when his side defeated Pat Lam’s Bristol at the Sportsground. Peter McCabe and Kieran Marmion both got over for tries in the first half which put Connacht in a commanding position. This was followed in the second half with a penalty try and a second try in two games for new signing Rory Scholes.

 After the game Jarrad Butler gave his reaction on the two pre-season games and his hopes for the upcoming Guinness PRO14 Championship.

Save 15% on Glasgow tickets by purchasing online here.


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