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Homegrown stalwart Loughney and Fox-Matamua among 11 bound for Connacht exit this summer

Kieran Keane will take over a squad after some considerable personnel turnover.

CONNACHT RUGBY HAVE today confirmed a group of 11 players who will leave the club when this season ends.

32-year-old prop Ronan Loughney, a Galway man who was among the first crop in his province’s academy, will move on after 191 appearances in 12 years.

Nepia Fox-Matamua Fox-Matamua in action this season. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

At the end of his two-year stint, openside flanker Nepia Fox-Matamua is also on the lengthy list which also signals an exit for Nottingham recruit Danny Qualter, Danie Poolman, Rory Parata, Shane O’Leary, Lewis Stevenson, Rory Moloney, Josh Rowland, Ivan Soroka and the Ulster-bound John Cooney.

CEO of the Western province Willie Ruane wished each of the men well as they left the club, but made sure to offer words specifically to Loughney.

Ronan Loughney Loughney taking on Zebre. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It would be hard not to give a special mention to Locks who has given so much to Connacht Rugby over the years. He epitomises the core values of not only Connacht but also rugby. He is a credit to his family and to the West of Ireland and he will be sorely missed around the Sportsground. I know that he is hugely proud of the province and he should be so proud of his own contribution to all that is good about Connacht Rugby.

“We recognise and value the role all these men have played and we will celebrate it together with our supporters at the game on Saturday.”

Loughney says the stint with his native province was ‘a dream come true’, adding:

I am incredibly proud of what the club has achieved.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to all the great teammates, coaches, management and staff that I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. I’ve had the honour of playing alongside a remarkable group of players who have also become close friends.

“I would also like to thank our wonderful supporters who have stood by us through thick and thin and have made the Sportsground the fortress it is today. Thanks for your incredible support down through the years.

“I am excited for the future and the next challenge. And will forever cherish my time with this great club.”

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Sean Farrell

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