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Gavin Duffy and Dan Parks among list of departing Connacht players

The province has announced a lengthy list of players set to leave at the end of the season.

Gavin Duffy captained Connacht earlier this season.
Gavin Duffy captained Connacht earlier this season.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT HAVE ANNOUNCED that Gavin Duffy and Dan Parks are among the players who will leave the province at the end of the current season.

The 35-year-old out-half and 32-year-old fullback will be joined in departing by Frank Murphy, Paul O’Donohoe, Aaron Conneely, Brian Murphy, Dave Nolan and James Rael.

Duffy is currently in his second stint with his native province, having spent three years with Harlequins from 2003 until 2006. The 10-times capped Ireland international recently began media work with Newstalk, although he may well feel he is capable of continuing in professional rugby.

Former Scotland out-half Parks joined the province in 2012, and his kicking and tactical skills have been important at times over the last two seasons. However, the emergence of Craig Ronaldson and Jack Carty means Connacht look well stocked in the position.

32-year-old scrum-half Murphy has been at the province since 2008, after spells with Leinster and Munster, but has been restricted to just one start this season. Similarly, Paul O’Donohoe has started a single time, with Kieran Marmion proving so durable in the number nine shirt.

Back row Aaron Conneely [22] has yet to make his senior debut for Connacht, but the Ireland U18, U19 and U20 cap will hope to find another professional club for next season. Lock David Nolan [25] has long been seen as a player of promise, but injuries hindered his progress.

Dan Parks celebrates kicking the winning drop goal Parks has enjoyed some excellent moments with the province. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

James Rael signed from Munster’s academy on a one-year development contract at the beginning of the season and made two replacement appearances in the Pro12, but the hooker has not been retained.

A product of the club rugby game, centre Brian Murphy has made eight starts for the Pat Lam-coached province in the last two seasons.

“It’s a tough time of year for players and management who have to make decisions about the future of the squad,”said Lam. “In the professional game, no squad is ever the same from one year to the next and there are always a number of players moving on.

These guys have given so much to the club and we have nothing but respect for them as well as appreciation for what they have done.  Guys like Gavin Duffy exemplify what Connacht Rugby is all about. Born and bred here, he has been a fantastic ambassador for the club and has always conducted himself with the utmost professionalism.

“Over the last two seasons, Parksy in particular has contributed massively to the development of our young back line and I know they have taken a great deal from the wealth of experience he brought with him.

“All these men are extremely committed and ambitions individuals and I know that they will go on to achieve great things in other areas of their lives, bringing with them the values and skills they have honed at Connacht.”

Outgoing Connacht players 2013/14: Brett Wilkinson (retired), Gavin Duffy, Frank Murphy, Eoin Griffin (London Irish), Paul O’Donohoe, Dan Parks, Kyle Tonetti (retired), Aaron Conneely, Brian Murphy, Dave Nolan, James Rael.Incoming Connacht players (confirmed) 2013/14: Bundee Aki (Chiefs), Tom McCartney (Blues), Darragh Leader, Jack Carty, Conor Finn, Finlay Bealham (all Academy graduates).

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Murray Kinsella

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