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Dublin: 11°C Friday 16 April 2021

Connacht reward homegrown 'heroes' with two-year contracts

Pat Lam says that keeping local players involved in Connacht is an inspiration for the next generation.

Fullback Leader is congratulated by Mils Muliaina.
Fullback Leader is congratulated by Mils Muliaina.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT HAVE HANDED out two-year contracts to academy products Darragh Leader and Denis Buckley.

The deals tie the pair to their home province until the summer of 2017 and it comes after Leader played his way into Ireland’s squad for the November internationals having impressed in the early stages of the season.

Buckley, 24, is three years into his senior career at Connacht with 58 caps under his belt at loosehead prop.

“These contract extensions are a huge boost to the club,” said head coach Pat Lam in a statement today.

“Both Darragh and Denis are key members of the senior squad here at Connacht and both have the potential to play at the highest level of the game.

Denis Buckley and Nic Cudd Buckley making ground against the Dragons this season. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“When we go out to the clubs and schools around the province, it is the local guys like Denis, Jack Carty, Eoin McKeon, John Muldoon that the young children see as their heroes. They’ve come through Connacht’s systems and age grade structures and are now playing week in week out for their home province.

“These kids can then see Robbie Henshaw and Darragh involved with Ireland and that helps us to grow the game in the region which is one of our main responsibilities at Connacht Rugby.”

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Sean Farrell

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