After 15 years and 326 appearances, John Muldoon will lead the team out for the very last time…

John, this is what you mean to the people of Connacht.




Connacht Captain John Muldoon is set to lead his Connacht side out for the final time when they take on Leinster at the Sportsground on Saturday (Kick off 3:05pm). In the process he will make his 327th appearance for his native province having made his debut in October 2003.

The Portumna man is named at his familiar number 8 position alongside flankers Eoin Mc Keon and Jarrad Butler in the clash with the Champions Cup finalists. Lock Gavin Thornbury is named to start against his home province in what will be his 14th appearance of the season. Thornbury starts alongside Quinn Roux with Ultan Dillane named among the replacements.

In the midfield Tom Farrell and Bundee Aki continue their centre partnership, while the back three of full back Tiernan O’Halloran and wingers Matt Healy and Niyi Adeolokun remains unchanged.

Speaking to journalists ahead of the game, Muldoon spoke of the immense challenge that his Connacht side face. “It’s my final time to throw on the green jersey and I just want to do the lads justice before I bow out at the Sportsground. It has actually crept up on me and I have had mixed emotions this week when I have gone into training with the lads.” he said

“It’s been bittersweet getting ready for this game against Leinster. It has built up nicely towards a game against a phenomenal team and they were outstanding in their Champions Cup win over Scarlets again last weekend. It certainly won’t be easy to finish my career against them, but I am looking forward to getting stuck into my last game for my province”, Muldoon added.


Kick-off 3:05pm:

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Shane Delahunt, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux, Eoin McKeon, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt).

Replacements (16-23): Tom McCartney, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Ultan Dillane, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Craig Ronaldson, Darragh Leader.

15 years, 326 games, but every journey sadly must come to an end…





On Saturday 28th April we say thank you to a man whose legacy stretches far beyond his achievements on the field. Over the past 15 years John Muldoon has worn the green of Connacht 326 times. For the visit of Leinster in our final game of the season, that becomes 327.


17 years. 320 games. Broken bones. Big wins. Bad losses. Dozens of teammates. Fewer coaches. Europe. Russia. Celtic league. Pro12. Pro14. Flights. Buses. Friends. Supporters. I’ve been so proud to be part of it all, but every journey sadly must come to an end and for me that end will be this season. Thank you all for your endless support.

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Click on the link below to make sure you’re there for what’s bound to be a special and at times emotional occasion.


Thanks Mul

Irish international lock Ultan Dillane has returned to the Connacht starting team to face the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in the Guinness PRO14 on Saturday (Kick Off at 5:35pm – Irish Time). The inclusion of centre Pita Ahki is the only other change to the side that beat Benetton Rugby in Treviso last weekend. Ahki will form a centre partnership with Eoin Griffin who scored a 74th minute try against the Italians.

The back three remains unchanged with wingers Matt Healy and Cian Kelleher and full back Tiernan O’Halloran all being retained.

O’Halloran, Denis Buckley, Jarrad Butler, and Niyi Adeolokun, all featured last weekend after returning from respective injuries and all four are fully fit to face the Cheetahs this time out.

With an extended squad of 25 players, Connacht travelled from Italy last Sunday on to Bloemfontein in South Africa where they have been training this week and acclimatising to soaring temperatures of up to 30 degrees.

Having previously coached in Super Rugby, Connacht Head Coach Kieran Keane, has faced the Cheetahs on a number of occasions and is well aware of how difficult it is to beat the South African side on home soil. “I think everyone is familiar with their style of play. They play some really exciting and attacking rugby. They played like that when they came to the Sportsground and they were hard to beat. They are even harder to beat when they are playing at home and only one team has managed it since they joined the PRO14”, said Keane.

“It’s a massive challenge but one we are really relishing. We will be focusing on our game plan and what we can control and hopefully delivering a winning performance on Saturday”, he added.

It what will his last occasion playing rugby in the Southern Hemisphere, Connacht Captain John Muldoon is determined to come away from Bloemfontein with a victory. “The game will be kicking off at 7.35pm in the evening South African time so hopefully heat won’t be as big of a factor as during the day. We have trained in the middle of the day all week so by the time the game comes on Saturday evening we should be well adjusted to it. But the conditions are only one part of the game and it can be an excuse if you want it to be. There is no doubt that Cheetahs are a very good attacking side. If you give them time and space they will hurt you. We have to be smart in how we play the game and we don’t want to give them huge opportunities to run the ball. If we fall into that trap we will be in big trouble regardless of other factors”, the veteran captain said when speaking to local reporters during the week.


The Toyota Cheetahs versus Connacht kicks off at 5:35pm Irish time on Saturday and is live on Sky Sports.

(15-9) Tiernan O’Halloran, Cian Kelleher, Eoin Griffin, Pita Ahki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, James Cannon, Sean O’Brien, Jarrad Butler, John Muldoon (Capt).

Replacements (16-23): Shane Delahunt, Denis Coulson, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Gavin Thornbury, Eoghan Masterson, James Mitchell, Craig Ronaldson, Niyi Adeolokun.

Prop Finlay Bealham is set to make his 100th appearance for Connacht as they host Zebre in the Sportsground on Friday (K.O 7:35pm). Kieran Keane’s Connacht side are aiming to make it eight home wins in a row in all competitions in a run that stretches back to September.

Bealham is one of four changes to Connacht’s starting XV from the side that beat Ospreys last week. With Tiernan O’Halloran sidelined with a hamstring injury, Darragh Leader comes in at full back to join a back three that includes wingers Cian Kelleher and Matt Healy.

Sean O’Brien’s return from injury is a further boost as he starts at number 8 after picking up a shoulder injury in the win over the Southern Kings in September. O’Brien will be joined in the back row by openside Naulia Dawai and blindside Eoghan Masterson who captains the side.

The only other change is the inclusion of lock Gavin Thornbury who came on as a substitute in the victory over Ospreys.

Keane has named a strong squad with Ireland internationals Kieran Marmion and Quinn Roux named among the replacements. Also named on the bench is John Muldoon and Conor Carey who continues his record of being named in every match day squad for Connacht so far this season.

Bealham is looking forward to leading the team out in front of a packed sportsground. Speaking to reporters ahead of the milestone game he said: ““To be in that bracket of players that have reached the 100 appearance milestone is something I’m really honoured to be a part of. From my family’s perspective, they’re really proud. To walk out there for the hundredth time in front of a Sportsground crowd in the great atmosphere they always create is something I’m really looking forward to”.



Kick-off 7.35pm:

(15-9) Darragh Leader, Cian Kelleher, Eoin Griffin, Tom Farrell, Matt Healy, Craig Ronaldson, Caolin Blade, (1-8) Denis Coulson, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, James Cannon, Eoghan Masterson (Capt), Naulia Dawai, Sean O’Brien.

Replacements (16-23): Dave Heffernan, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Quinn Roux, John Muldoon, Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty, Pita Ahki.





Connacht Captain John Muldoon has announced that following 17 years with the province, he is to retire at the end of the 2017/18 season. Muldoon has represented his home province over 300 times and captained Connacht to success in the PRO12 Championship in 2016.

Announcing his decision earlier today, John Muldoon said: “I am a proud Connacht man and I have been involved with the province for the past 17 years. I have been on an incredible journey during that time but sadly all good things come to an end and for me that time is the end of this season. I have been honoured and humbled to wear the Connacht jersey and particularly to be given the opportunity to captain my home province.

I’d like to thank everyone at Connacht Rugby, especially coaches and players both past and present. Also, to My wife Lorna and my wonderful family for their constant support down through the years. The Connacht supporters have also been incredible throughout my career and have made the Sportsground a fortress where I have always been immensely proud to play and represent this fantastic province. I am determined to finish my career on a high and for the remainder of the season I will be doing everything in my power to bring further success to Connacht.”


Paying tribute to John Muldoon, CEO of Connacht Rugby, Willie Ruane said: “On behalf of Connacht Rugby and indeed the people of Connacht I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Muldoon for the incredible contribution he has made both on and off the pitch and in particular the manner in which he has represented his home province over a long and illustrious career.

During that time John has shown unwavering commitment and loyalty to Connacht Rugby and has been a leader in everything that we have been trying to achieve during that time.

John Muldoon has represented the people of Connacht with massive pride and he epitomises everything that is great about the west of Ireland. John has always remained a very humble, grounded and honest individual, someone we are proud to call one of our own and someone I am extremely proud to have worked with during my own time here.

I wish him and his family all the very best in his retirement from the game and in the years beyond.”





Both Quinn Roux and John Muldoon have been selected in the match squad to play Tonga on Friday in Thomond Park.

Quinn is set to start in the second row, while our skipper will be among the replacements.


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.


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