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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 10 April, 2020

Boost for Ulster Bank League as Connacht sign up three players for new season

The province has selected a trio of talented UBL stars in the same week as the 2012/13 fixtures announcement.

Paul Neville and JP Cooney celebrate their Bateman Cup win.
Paul Neville and JP Cooney celebrate their Bateman Cup win.
Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

CONNACHT COACH ERIC ELWOOD has awarded development contracts to three players that starred in the Ulster Bank League last season.

The former Ireland international has already drafted in Dan Parks (Cardiff), Danie Poolman (Stormers), Willie Faloon (Ulster) and Nathan White (Leinster) into his squad for the upcoming RaboDirect Pro 12 and Heineken Cup season.

Elwood hopes the triple signing will add some depth to his squad.

16 players were signed by the province last summer as it looked to cope with the increased playing schedule but this summer has been all about adding elements to a side that performed admirably in Europe and below par in the Pro 12.

The latest additions to the squad include former Leinster and Bristol hooker Jason Harris-Wright, Lansdowne FC’s winger Matt Healy, centre Brian Murphy from Galwegians and Garryowen’s Bateman Cup winning prop, JP Cooney. Elwood commented:

The new guys have slotted into our setup very nicely. It’s an exciting time for everyone with our second year in the Heineken Cup and competing in the British & Irish Cup for the first time.

“We went through some major restructuring last season and we still finished in our highest ever league position so we’re all looking forward to what we can achieve this year,” he added.

Fixtures released

The club rugby campaign will continue apace with three of its best performers. The IRFU, this week, announced a ‘Friday Night Lights’ triple-header to kick off the new season.

A trio of these night games in Division 1A will kick-start the league, with Garryowen hosting Dolphin at Dooradoyle on Friday, 28 September.

On the same night, Shannon will take on Young Munster and Old Belvedere will play Lansdowne at Anglesea Road.

Reigning champions St. Mary’s College will open their title defence the following day in Templeville Road when they play the newly promoted UL Bohemians.

Lock out: Paul O’Connell set to miss start of Pro 12 season

Bowe: I was so jealous of the Ulster lads last season

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