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Bill Johnston among five academy players awarded Munster contracts

Conor Oliver, Stephen Fitzgerald, Dan Goggin and Brian Scott have also been rewarded.

Johnston graduates from the academy after just two years.
Johnston graduates from the academy after just two years.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

MUNSTER HAVE AWARDED senior development contracts to a number of their academy players ahead of next season, with Ireland U20 international Bill Johnston one of five rewarded.

Johnston and flanker Conor Oliver are promoted up the ranks after just two years in the province’s academy while Stephen Fitzgerald, Dan Goggin and Brian Scott graduate after three years.

Out-half Johnston has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons but after making his Guinness Pro12 debut against Zebre in March, Munster clearly recognise the 20-year-old’s exciting talent.

The former Rockwell College student has seen his development hindered by two separate shoulder problems and suffered another setback in April when he fractured his fibula in the B&I Cup semi-final win against Ealing Trailfinders.

Joining Johnston in the senior ranks after just two terms in the academy is Oliver, who had made a big impression in Limerick and made 14 appearances in the Pro12 for Rassie Erasmus’ side this season.

The 21-year-old also played an integral role in the club’s B&I Cup success and was named academy player of the year for 2016/17.

Fitzgerald, Goggin and Scott, all of whom have also made their senior debuts in the Pro12, are all also retained but Rory Burke, Greg O’Shea, Ned Hodson, Ben Kilkenny and Steven McMahon have all left the programme.

Munster will announce the first year academy intake for 2017/18 in the coming weeks.

Munster academy 2017/18:

Year 3: Liam O’Connor (Prop/Cork Con), JP Phelan (Prop/Garryowen).

Year 2: Gavin Coombes (Backrow/Young Munster), Shane Daly (Centre/Cork Con), John Foley (Backrow/Shannon), Calvin Nash (Centre/Wing/Young Munster), Vincent O’Brien (Hooker/Cork Con), Sean O’Connor (Lock/Garryowen), Fineen Wycherley (Lock/Young Munster).

Year 1: TBC

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Ryan Bailey

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