Connacht have announced that homegrown pair Tiernan O’Halloran and Eoin Griffin have signed new two-year deals that will keep the Galway duo in the west until the conclusion of the 2016/2017 season.
It’s just reward for the pair and a clear sign that the province’s “Grassroots to Green Shirts” development path is working with Griffin returning from London Irish to continue his Connacht career while O’Halloran reaps the rewards of a strong start to the season.
O’Halloran has started in the back three in ten of the twelve games played so far this season, earning the Man of the Match award on two occasions and the Connacht Rugby Player of the Month award for September. He captained Connacht in victories over Ospreys and Brive and has touched down for three tries this season, including the opening score in last month’s win over Munster at Thomond Park.
He has played 87 times for Connacht and is glad to be committing his future with his home province.
“It was an easy decision to sign up for another two years,” O’Halloran told Connacht Rugby’s official website.
“Galway and Connacht is my home and I’ve played so much of my rugby here. I’m currently in my seventh season and probably the most enjoyable one from a personal point of view.
“It’s a really exciting time to be involved in the team and I’m delighted that all the work put in to get back after disappointing injuries in the past has paid off.”
Meanwhile, Griffin will return home to continue his recovery from Bicep surgery with an eventual goal of breaking into the starting side. Griffin was in the Connacht age grade system since the age of 15 and when an opportunity presented itself to return home, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I’m delighted to be coming home to Connacht Rugby,” said Griffin.
“I’ve had a great time here with London Irish and I am committed to recovering from this injury so I can finish out the season well with them.
“London Irish is definitely moving in the right direction and it wasn’t an easy decision to leave but the opportunity to move home to Connacht was something I couldn’t say no to.
“I’m a Connacht man born and bred, it’s where my family and friends are and so it will always be home to me.
“It’s also very exciting times at Connacht Rugby and I’m looking forward to settling back into the environment with Pat and the squad and pushing hard for a place in a high performing back line.”
Head Coach Pat Lam welcomed the news as great for both the club and the province and believes that both players will be massive influences going forward.
“I am very pleased that both local men Eoin and Tiernan have committed to their home province,” said Lam.
“At still only 25 and 24 respectively, they would already be seen as experienced leaders.
“Tiernan has a massive influence on and off the field and I believe his work ethic and attitude will see him making an even bigger impact playing at Connacht going forward.”
“It’s great that Eoin is returning to his home team and his mates. From his experiences of playing abroad for two seasons, he will bring different attributes to the side on and off the park.”
The news comes as a big boost for Connacht as the Eagles head to Kingston Park on Sunday to take on Newcastle in the Challenge Cup.
Jack O’Toole, Pundit Arena