Connacht Rugby have confirmed that six new players have signed professional contracts to play for the province in the coming season.
Niall Murray, Colm Reilly, Seán Masterson, Conor Dean, Jordan Duggan and Peter Sullivan have all come up through the Connacht Academy.
Murray had previously played for the Buccaneers RFC, and made his professional debut last December for in the victory over Gloucester in the Heineken Champions Cup.
He started against Leinster in the Christmas interpros, and was a member of the Ireland U20s squad for the 2019 Six Nations and World Championships.
Scrum-half Colm Reilly played for Ballinasloe RFC and won a Top Oil Connacht Senior Schools Cup with Garbally College.
He also featured for the Ireland U20s team of 2019, scoring the crucial Grand Slam-winning try in the final game away to Wales.
Seán Masterson is another new recruit with prior professional experience, making his debut in the Guinness PRO14 victory over Treviso.
The 22 year old then featured during the Christmas interpros, coming off the bench against Leinster.
Out-half Conor Dean has already been capped for Connacht, starting in Thomond Park against Munster in the final game of the 2018/19 Guinness PRO14 regular season. He also impressed for the Connacht Eagles in the most recent Celtic Cup campaign when the squad won 5 of their 7 games.
Prop Jordan Duggan has been capped at Ireland U19 and U20 level, and played for Ireland at the U20 World Championship which also featured Connacht teammates Paul Boyle, Seán Masterson, Oisin Dowling and Conor Dean.
Peter Sullivan joined the Academy last season after a solid performance in the Energia All-Ireland League.
The winger also stood out for the Connacht Eagles in the 2019/20 Celtic Cup campaign.
Head Coach Andy Friend says that this shows the incredible benefits the Connacht Academy brings to the province.
“I am a firm believer that a club’s lifeline is its Academy structure, and this exciting group of young players proves that the Connacht Academy is extremely healthy, and will continue to have a positive impact on our squad going forward”.
I would like to say congratulations to the six men named, as well as a special thank you to all the people who have helped them get to their point of their careers.”
“Particularly the Academy department led by Eric Elwood, their respective clubs and schools, and most importantly their family and friends”.