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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 17 January, 2020

'I can’t help you there because I don’t know' - Connacht boss has no knowledge of O’Halloran move

Kieran Keane said he has no information on a possible move which would see Tiernan O’Halloran move to Thomond Park.

Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran.
Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran.
Image: Camerasport/Kevin Barnes/INPHO

CONNACHT COACH KIERAN Keane said he knows nothing about Munster being keen to bring his full-back Tiernan O’Halloran in to replace Simon Zebo.

O’Halloran is out of contract at the Sportsground next summer and has been linked in some media quarters with a possible move to Munster to replace the French-bound Zebo.

But Connacht coach Keane said he is not aware of any such development.

“No, I can’t help you there because I don’t know,” he replied when asked about a possible move by O’Halloran.

The Clifden native may be only 26 — he will be 27 in February — but he is one of the most experienced players in the Connacht squad, having made his debut as an 18-year old against Olympus Madrid in the Challenge Cup in October 2009.

He is now in his ninth season with his native province and has chalked up 138 games for them.

O’Halloran made his Irish debut in South Africa in 2016 and added three more caps on the tour to the USA and Japan last summer, but he was not included in Joe Schmidt’s plans for the November internationals.

He is one of around two dozen players out of contract at the Sportsground next summer but with Kieran Marmion pledging his future to Connacht in recent weeks, O’Halloran is their most prized asset not nailed down for next season.

Kieran Keane Kieran Keane during Connacht training at the Sportsground this week. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

New Munster coach Johann van Graan said yesterday, following the contract renewals by CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony, that replacing Zebo is a top priority.

“It’s an ongoing process, obviously full-back is a massive blow in terms of losing Zeebs. Such a fantastic guy to have around the squad and a world class player.

“Making sure we are keeping all of the guys that we want to keep within Munster, and then we will look around if we need to fill in other positions.

“If you look at the squad, loose forwards are very well stocked. I am loving the way our front five are shaping up. Nine and ten is always an important position. We have got a few centres out at this stage, Jaco Taute, Dan Goggin, Chris Farrell, hopefully we get them back.

“Our back three and wings are very important to us in the way that we play. Hopefully in a few months we will see our squad taking shape,” said van Graan.

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