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Leinster have confirmed the signing of Connacht lock Mick Kearney

Clontarf FC pair Ian Hirst and Royce Burke-Flynn have also been contracted for next season.

LEINSTER HAVE CONFIRMED the signing of second row Mick Kearney from Connacht ahead of the 2015/16 season.

Mick Kearney Kearney is heading home to Leinster next season. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The eastern province have also announced that Clontarf FC pair Ian Hirst and Royce Burke-Flynn will join their senior squad next season, as well as saying they hope to “make an announcement with regard to one [other] addition in the next week.”

Furthermore, Leinster have revealed that 27 players have put pen to paper on new IRFU deals.

24-year-old Kearney is a native of Dublin who played all his age grade rugby with Leinster before switching allegiance to Connacht in 2011. The former Mount Temple Comprehensive School student has impressed out west in the four seasons since.

The 6′ 5″ Ireland U20 and Emerging Ireland-capped forward thanked Connacht for their work in developing him:

I am very happy to have signed on with Leinster for the coming season and I look forward to working hard to add to a proven winning environment and culture,” said Kearney in an official Leinster statement.

“Having said that I am very grateful to Connacht and all the staff and coaches over the years but in particular Eric Elwood, Dan McFarland and Pat Lam for the opportunities afforded to me since I made my debut in 2011.

“I am just focused now on finishing out the season with Connacht as best as I can and helping them to secure the top six position that I feel our efforts deserve.”

Clontarf propping duo Hirst and Burke-Flynn have been impressive in the Ulster Bank League all season, and both have trained with Leinster during the course of the current campaign.

Royce Burke-Flynn scores his side's third try Burke-Flynn has been consistently strong for Clontarf. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Hirst and Burke-Flynn, who previously spent time playing in France and England, have already featured in the British and Irish Cup for Leinster, while Burke-Flynn was an unused replacement in this season’s Guinness Pro12 clash with the Ospreys.

Head coach Matt O’Connor explained that the propping pair will provide cover if and when Leinster lose a number of players to Ireland’s World Cup campaign. The Australian also indicated that club rugby has delivered for Leinster in the very recent past.

“[Hirst and Burke-Flynn] have performed consistently well for Clontarf but we also saw in a few games that they played with the Leinster As this season and when they have been in training with us that they are able to compete at this level,” said O’Connor.

We have seen over the last few years just how productive the club game can be for us. Darragh Fanning has played 18 times for us this year, scoring six tries. Mick McGrath has played six times with two tries to his name.

“It is an area that we always looking at and Royce and Ian are another good example of that.”

O’Connor also indicated that Leinster fans should expect another announcement within the next week, one which is expected to be confirmation of Isa Nacewa’s return to the province.

“We are still looking at other options and players that we can bring in and we hope to make an announcement with regard to one addition in the next week or so,” said O’Connor.

Leinster’s new signings for 2015/16:

Royce Burke-Flynn
Ian Hirst
Mick Kearney
Jonathan Sexton

Madigan’s place-kicking deciding games for O’Connor’s Leinster

O’Halloran returns to perform for Connacht after making most of injury

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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