350-CorinthiansPhotos used with permission from Connachttribune.ie

Sunday 8th of December 2013 will be a date that lives long in the memory for Connacht Rugby fans. The biggest win in Connacht’s history when an unfancied team beat the 4 time European champions Toulouse to become the first Irish team to beat them at Stade Ernest Wallon, and only the second team to beat them at home in four years.

This win was in no small part to the Connacht players that were bred through the club and schools system in province. No one epitomises this more than Eoin Griffin.

The 23 year old is a product of Colaiste Iognaid and Corinthians RFC. Griffin also played soccer with Salthill and gaelic football with Salthill-Knocknacarra in his youth before his brother Hugh guided him to rugby with Corinthians. 

His first taste of success in rugby was with Corinthians as an under 14, winning an historic League and Cup double. The last time Corinthians had achieved this featured a team including Connacht legend Johnny O’Connor.

From here, Griffin was a core part of teams that brought Colaiste Iognaid some success. In 2006, Griffin and his team were unable to overcome Garbally College in the Connact Junior Cup final. After his first major injury in his career, Griffin recovered from a cruciate ligament tear to help Colaiste Iognaid to two Connacht Senior Cups, in 2008 and 2009 in a team that also featured Connacht academy player Aaron Conneely. 

His impressive performances in the schools cup put him on the path to a professional career, and Griffin was selected in Irish youth’s squads and featured in Ireland’s Under 20 Triple Crown in 2010 in a team that featuring Dave McSharry, Tiernan O’Halloran and Denis Buckley as while as Irish internationals Simon Zebo and Rhys Ruddock.

Since being brought into the academy in 2009, making his debut appearance in the same season. His rise has been huge, going on to make 49 appearances for Connacht scoring three tries. His performances last season brought him to the attention of the Irish national squad, and he was selected to play for the Emerging Irish squad in the Tblisi Cup in June 2013.

Griffin’s rise from Corinthians and Colaiste Iognaid to the Connacht senior team has been rapid, and is a course that many Connacht youngsters hope to take in years to come, and be part of famous teams that will beat the heavyweights of Europe and be talked about for years.

680 - Jez

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