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Connacht sign Irish tighthead Carey from English outfit Nottingham

The 24-year-old prop will return to Ireland this summer.

CONNACHT HAVE ANNOUNCED the signing of Irish tighthead prop Conor Carey.

The 24-year-old will join the province this summer from English Championship outfit Nottingham.

Conor Carey tackled by Peter Stringer 14/9/2012 Carey in action for Ulster Ravens in 2012. Source: Darren Kidd

Belfast man Carey was capped by Ireland at U18, U19 and U20 levels, making four appearances in the 2011 Junior World Championship.

The Methodist College Belfast alumnus is a product of the Ulster underage system, but opted for move out of Ireland in 2013, joining Ealing Trailfinders in the Championship in search of regular game time.

An impressive season later, Carey moved to Nottingham and has since established himself as first-choice tighthead prop for Martin Haag’s side. This campaign has seen the Irishman start 17 league games, scoring two tries.

With Rodney Ah You departing for Ulster at the end of the season, Pat Lam had been on the search for an Irish-qualified tighthead and was delighted to secure Carey.

“We identified Conor as a young and talented tighthead prop who could thrive here at the Sportsground,” said Lam.

“He has a gained lot of experience in the Championship, which is a tough competition for forwards, but he’s coming back to Ireland and we’re looking forward to him adding more competition to our front-row options.”

Dave Heffernan Heffernan has been impressive under Lam. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Meanwhile, Connacht have confirmed that hooker Dave Heffernan has signed a contract extension with the province.

25-year-old Heffernan is a product of Connacht’s academy and has represented Emerging Ireland and the Ireland U20s, for whom he played alongside Carey in 2011.

Dave has had another season of huge growth, particularly coming off the back of his involvement with the Emerging Ireland squad in the summer,” said Lam of Heffernan’s re-contracting.

“The time he puts into working on and improving his game is impressive and as coaches we’re delighted to have him commit his future to his home province.”

Interestingly for Connacht fans, CEO Willie Ruane has promised that there will be confirmation of further new signings in the coming weeks.

“Recruitment and retention is ongoing and as our squad continues to evolve, we intend to have more announcements in the coming weeks,” said Ruane.

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Murray Kinsella

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