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.

 

By John O’Sullivan 

 

Connacht Eagles 24-24 Munster A

 

A late Shane Jennings try earned the Connacht Eagles a 24-24 draw with Munster A in an entertaining clash at the Sportsground.

 

Tries from Dylan Tierney Martin and Diarmuid Kilgallen saw the hosts lead 12-0 midway through the first half, but Munster — with three tries and a penalty — turned the game around and lead 24-12 with fifteen minutes remaining.

 

However, Connacht never relented and claimed the draw after late tries from Stephen Kerins and Jennings saw them deservedly share the spoils after a thrilling attacking performance.

 

In the glorious Sportsground sunshine, Connacht were intent on playing with width and pace and this approach yielded scores early on. 

 

After a cutting line and offload from lock Cian Prendergast, the home team established field position in Munster’s 22. Building phases with hard carries close to the line, the ball was worked to Tierney Martin and the former Ireland under 20’s hooker powered his way over the line. Fitzgerald made no mistake in adding the extras from the tee and the Eagles found themselves in a deserved 7-0 lead. 

 

With their tails up, Connacht were playing with confidence and expression in the attack. Playing in the outside centre berth, Ben O’Donnell punctured through the Munster A defence and brought the hosts forward momentum. 

 

From there, the ball was worked wide and the Eagles — who had a man advantage after the away teams winger, Calvin Nash was yellow carded for an intentional knock-on — took advantage of the space and Kilgallen dived in over the line in the left-hand corner for 12-0.

 

Munster grew into the contest thereafter and when Connacht were reduced to 14 men after Oran McNulty’s yellow card, the visitors responded with a quickfire 17 points. Jake Flannery started the scoring with a penalty and tries followed from Nash and Coombes, both of which Flannery converted, and the away team lead 17-10 going into the interval. 

 

The away team began the second half in a similar manner to which they finished the first and they had their third try when Nash completed his brace by crossing the line in the right-hand corner to take the score to 24-10.

 

With fly-half Fitzgerald prominent in the creative stakes, Connacht grew into the game and began threatening the Munster defence. 

 

A powerful line out was a prominent feature of the Eagles’ game plan and they used it as a platform to score their third try. With a rolling maul trundling towards the line, Kerins identified a gap in the away teams defence and he jinked through it to touch down for a try that Fitzgerald converted to take the score to 24-17.

 

With time running out, the hosts seized the initiative and their perseverance was rewarded with a deserved late try.

 

A huge run from Peter Sullivan burst through the Munster defence and brought Connacht into the visitors 22. From there, the ball was worked wide and Jennings showed pace to touch down in the left corner and to draw the game with effectively the last play.

Eagles Team: 

(15-9)

15. Oran McNulty
14. Peter Sullivan
13. Ben O’Donnell
12. Cathal Forde
11. Diarmuid Kilgallen
10. Conor Fitzgerald
9. Colm Reilly

 

(1-8)

1. Charlie Ward
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin
3. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
4. Cian Prendergast
5. Ciaran Booth
6. Donnacha Byrne
7. Sean Masterson (c)
8. Abraham Papali’i

16. Declan Adamson
17. Eoin de Buitlear
18. Conor Kenny
19. Diarmuid McCormack
20. Oisin McCormack
21. Stephen Kerins
22. Shane Jennings
23. Hubert Gilvarry
24. Joshua Dunne

By John O’Sullivan

 

Connacht Rugby’s Learn To Perform webinar series, in association with Official Partner GMIT, kicked off last Monday night. 

 

In line with the current governmental COVID restrictions, Connacht Rugby is bringing the presentations to participants homes, via a series of online webinars. Previously, underage groups would have been brought to the Sportsground for the Learn to Perform talks, but — adapting to the ongoing restrictions — the informational sessions have and will now take place online.

 

Monday night’s topic was on Nutrition for 11 to 14-year-old rugby players and their parents. Gavin Rackard, lead performance nutritionist with Connacht Rugby, presented on the night, while Stephen Keirns and Nichola Fryday — players with the men’s and’s women’s senior teams respectively —  were also guest’s and talked about the importance of nutrition in their day to day lives in order to perform at the highest level.

 

Ross Mannion, Rugby Participation Officer (RPO) with Connacht Rugby, the organiser of the series, was delighted with the response and the number of interested parties logging on. The feedback received from parents, some of whom who have immediately taken on board the advice received during the webinar, was also positive. In total, between coaches, players and parents, there was over 100 people logged into the webinar.

 

“We had over 100 players, parents, and coaches log in to Monday’s webinar and the interaction from the kids on the night was fantastic, plenty of questions and a desire to learn was clear to see,” the Sligo native said.

 

“Some parents have been in touch to say how their children already have adopted some of Gavin’s breakfast and lunch suggestions, so we are delighted to have that positive reaction and that it’s all going help with their own development”.

 

Next up, on Monday the 14th of December at 7 PM, will be the next installment of the Learn To Perform series which will focus on nutrition for 15 to 19-year-old players. Once again, Rackard will present on the night, and invites will be sent out to all clubs youth coordinators.

 

There will, however, be a limited number of places on the webinar left and interested parties can sign up via the following link:

 

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EWLYGrg8TaayXc6RLpH-Cg

 

For people who cannot attend the webinar — some groups in those age groups may have club or PTS training — there will be the access granted to a recording of the webinar for those interested by contacting  [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

Connacht Rugby have announced the signing of prop Rory Burke from Championship side Nottingham ahead of the 2019/20 season. Burke was previously capped for Munster in the Pro14 championship before joining Nottingham in 2017. The 25 year old has gone on to feature prominently for the championship side.
 
At international level, Burke represented Ireland at Under 20 level, playing in each of Ireland’s Under 20s Six Nations games in 2014 and in the IRB World Championship later that year.
 
Connacht have also confirmed that scrum half Stephen Kerins has become the latest player from the Connacht Academy to earn his first professional contract. The Sligo man made his Connacht debut in the European Challenge Cup win away to Bordeaux in January. Kerins was also previously capped for his country at Under 20 international level as he featured in the Under 20 Six Nations Championship in 2016.
 
Commenting on the latest additions to the Connacht squad, Head Coach Andy Friend said: “We are delighted to add Rory Burke and Stephen Kerins to our squad ahead of our 2019/20 campaign. In the season just gone, squad depth was really important to our success in qualifying for the Champions Cup. With more big games ahead that depth will be tested even further. Rory will give us another option up front, while Stephen’s graduation from the Academy will be needed to add to our list of scrum half options.

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