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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018

Ireland U20 centre Peter Robb one of five new recruits in Connacht academy

The western province have also swooped for Conor McKeon and Ciaran Gaffney, who both played at the JWC.

Robb impressed for the Ireland U20s earlier this season.
Robb impressed for the Ireland U20s earlier this season.
Image: CameraSport/Chris Vaughan/INPHO

CONNACHT HAVE SIGNED Ireland U20 centre Peter Robb to their academy for the 2014/15 season.

The Old Belvedere clubman played all five Six Nations games for Mike Ruddock’s U20 side this year, impressing with his power and rounded skillset, but missed out on the Junior World Championship after injuring an ankle in a warm-up game against Scotland.

6ft 3ins, 105kg Robb played his underage rugby with Leinster, but Connacht have swooped to secure him on an academy deal, alongside four other new faces.

Also making the move from Dublin to the west is Ireland U20 out-half Conor McKeon, who played back-up to Ross Byrne in New Zealand this month. The 20-year-old is a graduate of Gonzaga College and has played club rugby with Lansdowne in recent times.

Ciaran Gaffney, who stood out on the right wing for the Ireland U20 side at the JWC, joins the Dublin pair in signing terms with the western province. The Galway native is a student at NUIG and plays his club rugby with Galwegians RFC.

19-year-old hooker Jack Dineen has been promoted from the province’s sub-academy along with Gaffney, having made his debut for the senior team against Munster at the Sportsground in April.

The Limerick man won a second cap against the Ospreys in the final fixture of the Pro12 campaign, despite only having converted from the back row to hooker in the last eight months.

Ciaran Gaffney Ciaran Gaffney showed his potential at the JWC in New Zealand. Source: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

Finally, back row Marc Kelly has secured an academy spot after standing out for Connacht’s underage teams and the Ireland U19s. The former Cistercian College Roscrea captain is a native of Portumna.

The province has also announced that tighthead prop Jamie Dever will re-join their academy in year two, having been released on a “sabbatical” last season due to a worrisome foot injury.

Fullback Shane Layden has completed his three years in the Academy, but has been re-contracted for a further season due to his injury problems during the 2013/14 campaign. The former Ireland U20 international will be part of Pat Lam’s senior squad next season.

Connacht have announced that Tadgh Leader [Boston Wolfhounds] Peter Reilly [Waimate RFC, NZ], Steve Macauley [Waimate RFC, NZ], Marcus Walsh [Life University, US] and Conor Kindregan have been released from their academy.

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Murray Kinsella

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