Connacht Rugby are delighted to announce Four Star Pizza as a new official partner with the province and sponsor of Half Time Mini Rugby in the Sportsground.

 

Half Time Mini Rugby is an all-inclusive new initiative which involves teams from U8s up to U12s, all girls teams and Connacht’s Disability Rugby teams playing at half-time of Connacht’s competitive home games in the Sportsground. All 27 clubs in the province will be represented as part of the initiative.

 

Announcing the new partnership, Head of Commercial & Marketing at Connacht Rugby, Brian Mahony said: “We are delighted to welcome Four Star Pizza on board as an official partner of Connacht Rugby. We place a huge emphasis on the development of the domestic club game here in the province. The Half Time Mini Rugby, now sponsored by Four Star Pizza, brings together the club game and our match day experience in the Sportsground.”

 

Brian Clarke, Director of Four Star Pizza commented ‘We are proud to become an official partner of Connacht Rugby and in particular in supporting the youth teams in the province by becoming sponsor of the Half Time Mini Rugby in the Sportsground. We look forward to the season ahead with Connacht Ruby and continuing to bring the tastiest pizza to the province.”

 

Four Star Pizza is a wholly Irish-owned Pizza chain, established in 1988, and operates 49 stores across the island of Ireland, including two in Galway. Four Star Pizza is renowned for its pizza dough which is freshly prepared by hand on site daily by passionate and expertly trained pizza doughologists.

 

Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane has named his starting XV to face conference rivals Cardiff Blues in the Guinness PRO14 on Friday (K.O. 7:35pm Live on BBC 2 Wales). Connacht go into the fixture without Irish internationals Bundee Aki, Kieran Marmion and Ultan Dillane while Jarrad Butler and Craig Ronaldson remain on the injury list.

 

Niyi Adeoloukun who scored a decisive try in his first start of the season against the Cheetahs starts again on the wing. Matt Healy on the opposite wing and full-back Tiernan O’Halloran make up the rest of the back three. Eoin Griffin and Tom Farrell make up the centre pairing and while there is no starting position for new signing Pita Ahki, he is named among the replacements.

 

Jack Carty and Caolin Blade form the half back pairing with Marmion unavailable due to his involvement with the Irish squad. In the pack Dave Heffernan starts at hooker with Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham in at loose head and tighthead respectively. The experienced back row includes flankers Eoin McKeon and Jake Heenan with Captain John Muldoon in at number 8.

 

With four wins a row in all competitions, Out-half Jack Carty says Connacht need to maintain consistency in the next few games: “Over the last few games we have managed to get the results we have needed. Our focus now is on consistency away to Cardiff and next week against Zebre, that’s what we need to deliver. We need to put in the performances now to put ourselves in a strong position later in the season. We were beaten by Cardiff earlier in the season, but we will not be focusing on that. We will be concentrating on ourselves and our own game.”

#CARvCON

Kick-off 7.35pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Eoin Griffin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade,

(1-8) Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, James Cannon, Eoin McKeon, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon (Capt)

Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Gavin Thornbury, Eoghan Masterson, James Mitchell, Steve Crosbie, Pita Ahki.

 

Connacht flanker Jake Heenan has announced his decision to leave the province at the end of the 2017/18 season. Heenan joined Connacht in 2013 and has made over 50 appearances since he arrived in the Sportsground.

 

Commenting on Heenan’s contribution to the province, CEO of Connacht Rugby, Willie Ruane said:

“Jake has made a huge contribution to Connacht both on and off the field since he signed for us in 2013. Aside from his excellent performances on the pitch he has also been an outstanding role model off it. His contribution to various charities and the time he invested to coaching young players in the province is an example of everything that is good in Connacht Rugby. We wish him well in his future career.”

Our medical team have issued the following update ahead of the clash away to Cardiff Blues on Friday night  (K.O. at 7:35pm).

Prop:
JP Cooney has returned to training following his ankle injury in October.

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

 

Lock:
Gavin Thornbury has reintegrated into full training following his calf injury versus the Cheetahs.

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

 

Back Row:
Eoin McKeon will integrate fully into training this week following a recent hamstring injury.

Jake Heenan will integrate fully into training this week following a recent knee injury.

James Connolly is progressing well in his recovery from an ankle injury sustained in October and will return to training in the coming weeks.

Jarrad Butler is continuing his recovery from recent knee surgery and is due to return to training in early December.

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

 

Centre:
Eoin Griffin has returned to full training with the squad this week following his calf injury.

Craig Ronaldson is continuing his recovery from a calf injury and will return to training in December.

Peter Robb is rehabilitating from recent hip surgery and will be out of action until December.

 

Back Three:
Stacey Ili is progressing well in his recovery from a recent shoulder injury and will return to training in early December.

Rory Scholes had his appendix removed last week and will be out of action for a number of weeks.

Cormac Brennan will return in early 2018 following shoulder surgery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head Coach Kieran Keane and his players were the star attraction for the fully subscribed exclusive Season Ticket Holder night in the Sportsground on Thursday night.

 

Ahead of the victory against the Toyota Cheetahs on Saturday night, fans were treated to a feature interview with KK on stage where he spoke about his playing and coaching career, his passion for rugby, how he ended up in the West of Ireland along with some hilarious stories featuring his cat, “Thunder”.

 

With all the Senior squad in attendance it was an opportunity for the players to personally thank Season Ticket Holders for their unwavering support so far this season. Fans also heard from Finlay Bealham, Jake Heenan and captain John Muldoon who took part in a panel discussion.

 

Complimentary food and drinks along with close-up magic, music, comedy, food and spot prizes made for a great night. The event is one of a number of other exclusive events that will be taking place throughout the season including an afternoon event on Sunday 16th December, where Santa Claus will be the special guest! 

 

 

If you are a Season Ticket holder that failed to receive an email about this event, please email [email protected] to be added to the mailing list.

The Connacht Rugby medical team have issued the following update ahead of the Connacht V Toyota Cheetahs on Saturday (K.O. at 7:35pm).

Prop:
Dominic Robertson McCoy is recovering from his thumb surgery last week and will be out of action until the end of 2017.

JP Cooney sustained an ankle injury in the Eagles game versus Ealing and will be out of action for a number of weeks.

 

Lock:
Andrew Browne will undergo surgery this week for an ongoing Achilles injury and will return in early 2018.

 

Back Row:
Jarrad Butler has undergone surgery on a knee injury sustained in the game versus Munster and will be out of action for up to 6 weeks.

James Connolly sustained an ankle injury in the game versus Worcester and will be reviewed by a specialist this week following which a course of treatment will be determined.

Jake Heenan is progressing well in his recovery from a knee injury and will return to action in December.

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

 

Centre:
Eoin Griffin sustained an low grade injury to his calf in the game versus Worcester and is being managed by the medical and performance staff.

Peter Robb is progressing well following his hip surgery and will return to training with the squad in December.

 

Back Three:
Stacey Ili sustained a shoulder injury in the Eagles game versus Ealing and will undergo rehabilitation with the medical and performance teams over the coming weeks.

Cormac Brennan underwent shoulder surgery and will return to action in February 2018.

With preparations well underway for Saturday night’s European Challenge Cup opener away to Top14 side Oyonnax, our medical team have issued the following squad update.

Lock:

Andrew Browne is rehabilitating from an Achilles tendon injury and is due to return in early November.

Back Row:

Naulia Dawai trained fully with the squad last week following his hamstring injury.

Jake Heenan injured his knee in the game versus Scarlets and will be out of action until December.

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

Scrum-half:

James Mitchell will train fully with the squad this week following his shoulder injury.

Out-half:

Steve Crosbie sustained an ankle injury in the game versus Ulster and is awaiting the results of a scan to determine the extent of the injury.

Centre:

Peter Robb is rehabilitating from recent hip surgery and will be out of action until December.

Back Three:

Niyi Adeolokun is continuing his integration into squad training this week and is due to be available for selection next week.

Tiernan O’Halloran sustained a hip injury in the game versus Ulster and will be monitored by the medical and performance staff this week.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

On the road this Saturday night (see fixture details here), we return to the Sportsground the following weekend for a triple-header against Worcester Warriors, Munster & Cheetahs – buy tickets here.

Head Coach Kieran Keane has made seven changes to the Connacht side that secured a bonus-point win against the Southern Kings last week as the team travel to Rodney Parade to take on the Dragons tomorrow night (7.30pm).

Rory Scholes, Caolin Blade, Denis Coulson, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux and Jake Heenan all come into the side for their first starts of the season as Eoghan Masterson comes back in for his second start.

Scholes is set to make his competitive debut for the province on the wing in place of Matt Healy.

Blade is included in the side at scrum-half in place of Irish international Kieran Marmion, who is named among the replacements.

The other five changes are in the pack with two alterations in the front row. Coulson makes his first start for Connacht at loosehead prop after coming off the bench to make his debut in the win over the Kings with Carey starting at tighthead prop.

Ireland international Roux and Heenan also come into the side for their first starts of the season with Roux in the second row and Heenan in the back row.

Masterson, a try-scorer off the bench last week, replaces the injured Sean O’Brien.

With six points from two home games, Connacht are on the road for the first time this season in Wales and Assistant Coach Nigel Carolan is not underestimating the challenge posed by Bernard Jackman’s Dragons side.

Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Carolan said: “Bernard Jackman is trying to rebuild the Dragons and create a strong identity, much like he did in Grenoble. They will be a tight-knit group and very difficult to play against. They have some real firepower with Ashton Hewitt, Zane Kirchner, and the boot of Gavin Henson. It is going to be a very difficult game for us and we have to make sure we build on last week and are more effective than we were against the Kings.”

#DRAvCON

Please note this game is not televised but follow @ConnachtRugby on Twitter for live updates from Rodney Parade.

Kick-off 7.30pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Rory Scholes, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Coulson, Tom McCartney, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson, Jake Heenan, John Muldoon.

Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Peter McCabe, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Gavin Thornbury, Jarrad Butler, Kieran Marmion, Steve Crosbie, Eoin Griffin.

With just 11 days until our Guinness PRO14 opener against Glasgow Warriors at the Sportsground, an extended Connacht squad departed for England today ahead of tomorrow’s opening pre-season clash with Wasps.

The match takes place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry tomorrow night (7.35pm) before Pat Lam’s Bristol visit the Sportsground on Saturday at 3pm with tickets from €5 available here.

See the latest injury update below.

Prop:
Denis Buckley sustained a minor finger injury in training last week and is due to return to squad training next week.

Lock:
Quinn Roux is returning from an ankle injury sustained whilst on international duty and will return to training next week.

Back Row:
Jake Heenan is recovering from a back injury sustained in training and his progress is being monitored by the medical team.

Scrum-half:
Caolin Blade injured his hamstring in last week’s training session Munster and will be out of action until the end of September.

Centre:

Tom Farrell will return to team training next week as he steps up his recovery from a thigh injury in pre-season.

Peter Robb is following graduated return to play protocols for a head injury sustained in training last week.

Back Three:
Niyi Adeolokun underwent knee surgery at the end of last season and will return to partial team training towards the end of September/early October.

Tiernan O’Halloran is recovering from knee surgery in the off season and will return to team training in the coming weeks.

The Rugby Players Ireland Awards took place on Wednesday evening with Connacht players Ronan Loughney and Jake Heenan both honoured on the night.

Ronan, a member of the Rugby Players Ireland Executive Board, was awarded the Medal for Excellence, which rewards on-field effort combined with off-field commitment to the game. The Galway man will finish with Connacht Rugby this summer after 12 seasons as a professional player. He was a member of the first academy squad assembled in the province and went on to play 191 games across the PRO12 and Europe competitions.

The Contribution to Irish Society award was presented to both Heenan and Hannah Tyrrell in recognition of their work in their respective communities.  After four years at Connacht, Jake continues to set an example on and off the pitch as a member of the senior squad. This season, he bravely told his story of facing adversity and the importance of talking to people in a nationwide awareness campaign known as Tackle Your Feelings with Rugby Players Ireland.

Jake gives a lot of his time supporting local charities and is closely involved as a volunteer with Dóchas don Óige – a provider of services for young people in the Galway city area.

2017 Rugby Players Ireland Awards – Winners

Women’s 7s Player of the Year – Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe
Medal for Excellence – Ronan Loughney
Moment of the Year – ‘One Day in Chicago’ – Ireland defeat New Zealand at Soldier Field
Supporters’ Player of the Year – Tadhg Furlong
Women’s XVs Player of the Year – Lindsay Peat
Contribution to Irish Society – Jake Heenan & Hannah Tyrrell
Try of the Year – Robbie Henshaw (v New Zealand, at Soldier Field, Chicago)
Hall of Fame – Geordan Murphy
Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year – Garry Ringrose
Players’ Player of the Year – Conor Murray

To find out more about Rugby Players Ireland, visit their website at rugbyplayersireland.ie.

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