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Connacht keen to make Fitzgerald's loan from Munster a long-term deal

The 23-year-old has relished consistent game-time in Galway after arriving on a short-term deal last December.

CONNACHT ARE KEEN to secure the services of Stephen Fitzgerald on a long-term basis beyond this season as the young back continues to impress Andy Friend out west.

Fitzgerald joined the western province on a three-month loan deal from Munster back in December and after making six Pro14 appearances for Connacht, has extended his terms at the Sportsground until the end of the current campaign.

Cian Kelleher and Stephen Fitzgerald after the game Fitzgerald has made six appearances for Connacht. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The 23-year-old, whose younger brother Conor is in the Connacht academy, has benefited from regular game-time for Friend’s side, and the head coach is hoping to bring the Limerick native in on a permanent basis.

“He has been great,” Friend said yesterday. “He has fitted in really well for us. He offers that coverage at fullback and on the wing.

“He is loving the opportunity to go out and play. He didn’t get that at Munster necessarily. With every game you can see him getting more confident and better with what he is doing too.”

Fitzgerald has made seven senior appearances for Munster and given he his out of contract with his home province this summer, the former Ireland U20 international is an attractive player for Connacht to add to their ranks. 

Fitzgerald has shown his versatility during his short stint in Galway by operating at both fullback and on the wing, and with Cian Kelleher departing at the end of the season, Friend will be looking to boost his back three options.

“Yeah, he is certainly a player that we are very keen to keep around here,” the Australian added. 

Fitzgerald could make his European debut for Connacht in Friday night’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Sale Sharks after being added to the province’s squad alongside Tom Daly, who is also on loan at the province from Leinster.  

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Ryan Bailey

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