Connacht 2019/20/21

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scentofgunpowder
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by scentofgunpowder »

As a Connacht fan I'm expecting a rough season or two but hopefully the emergence of new blood, both indigenous and from other sources. We are going into next season with a very young squad, featuring probably only 3 players in their 30s as of 1/9/2020 (Denis Buckley, Paddy McAllister, and Matt Healy). I like him as a coach but unfortunately the Andy Friend project hasn't really gone to plan for various reasons. I think we overperformed in his first season and qualifying for the Champions Cup caused us problems in 2019-20, it came at least a season too soon for us to be able to compete on two fronts. IMO a more ideal progression would have been as follows:

Season 1: Bed in new systems and refocus the organisation as a whole after two awful seasons. Fall short of Champions Cup qualification but show enough improvement to keep the fanbase media onboard. Rejuvinate the squad in the summer by clearing out dead wood and integrating a mixture of academy graduates, an NIQ or two, and some higher quality IQ options.
Season 2: Qualify for the Champions Cup. Continue to improve the squad, though less turnover should be necessary this season.
Season 3: Put in a respectable performance in the Champions Cup while qualifying for next year's edition, setting Connacht up to be perennial competitors in Europe's top tier, which has to be the objective for the organisation.

Now, due to a variety of circumstances, we head into Season 3, which should have been the peak of the Friend project, with a young and callow squad looking at what might be another year of transition.

sunshiner1
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by sunshiner1 »

Another year if your lucky I would say. Apparently the Weise transfer is dead in the water. Connacht are now linked with a guy called Sullivan who plays no. 8 for Lansdowne. Anyone know anything about him?

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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by Keith »

sunshiner1 wrote:Another year if your lucky I would say. Apparently the Weise transfer is dead in the water. Connacht are now linked with a guy called Sullivan who plays no. 8 for Lansdowne. Anyone know anything about him?
Here is an interesting article on him https://www.the42.ie/jack-osullivan-lan ... 3-Oct2018/

Was a big prospect a couple of years ago if I remember correctly

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Dave Cahill
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by Dave Cahill »

I was very confused! I thought you were talking about the Munster academy back row of the same name and thinking "there is no way they'd let him go!"
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Keith
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by Keith »

Dave Cahill wrote:I was very confused! I thought you were talking about the Munster academy back row of the same name and thinking "there is no way they'd let him go!"
It's Munster would that really be a surprise? :lol:

sunshiner1
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by sunshiner1 »

He looks a decent prospect but hardly sometone to get the fans in through the gates. I suppose they have to cut their cloth etc. Anyway good luck to him.

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Dave Cahill
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by Dave Cahill »

Connacht Rugby can confirm the following players will depart the club next month at the end of their respective contracts.

Tom McCartney has announced his retirement from rugby and has returned to New Zealand after six years with Connacht. The hooker has amassed 112 appearances for the province and started in the 2016 Guinness PRO12 Grand Final.

Fellow centurion and Connacht native Eoin McKeon departs Connacht having played 137 times since his debut in April 2010, and was also a member of the 2016 PRO12 winning team.

Back-three duo Niyi Adeolokun and Darragh Leader depart having also featured in the 2015/16 campaign, with the pair amassing 94 and 91 caps respectively.

Trio Kyle Godwin, David Horwitz and Joe Maksymiw have completed their two-year contracts after joining in the summer of 2018.

As previously announced, Colby Fainga’a and Robin Copeland will join French sides Lyon and Soyaux Angouleme respectively.

Finally front-rowers Rory Burke and Peter McCabe have completed their contracts, while Angus Lloyd departs to pursue a medical career – having passed his medical exams while under contract at Connacht.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend says:

“The nature of professional rugby means there will always be comings and goings. I would personally like to wish all our departing players every success in the future and thank them for their contributions to Connacht Rugby, both on and off the field.

We all share in the players’ disappointment that they were unable to get a proper send-off at the Sportsground due to COVID, but they can be always assured of a warm welcome by the club and our supporters at any time in the future.”
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The Doc
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by The Doc »

Dave Cahill wrote:Connacht Rugby can confirm the following players will depart the club next month at the end of their respective contracts.

Tom McCartney has announced his retirement from rugby and has returned to New Zealand after six years with Connacht. The hooker has amassed 112 appearances for the province and started in the 2016 Guinness PRO12 Grand Final.

Fellow centurion and Connacht native Eoin McKeon departs Connacht having played 137 times since his debut in April 2010, and was also a member of the 2016 PRO12 winning team.

Back-three duo Niyi Adeolokun and Darragh Leader depart having also featured in the 2015/16 campaign, with the pair amassing 94 and 91 caps respectively.

Trio Kyle Godwin, David Horwitz and Joe Maksymiw have completed their two-year contracts after joining in the summer of 2018.

As previously announced, Colby Fainga’a and Robin Copeland will join French sides Lyon and Soyaux Angouleme respectively.

Finally front-rowers Rory Burke and Peter McCabe have completed their contracts, while Angus Lloyd departs to pursue a medical career – having passed his medical exams while under contract at Connacht.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend says:

“The nature of professional rugby means there will always be comings and goings. I would personally like to wish all our departing players every success in the future and thank them for their contributions to Connacht Rugby, both on and off the field.

We all share in the players’ disappointment that they were unable to get a proper send-off at the Sportsground due to COVID, but they can be always assured of a warm welcome by the club and our supporters at any time in the future.”
Just me or does that seem quite a lot of turnover?
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wixfjord
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by wixfjord »

Hmm...the squad was already weak enough this year. A lot of experience to let go in one go.

OTT
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by OTT »

The only lads they will really miss are McCartney who is retiring and the two NIQ's Kyle Godwin and Colby Fainga’a in my opinion.

McKeon, Horwitz, Leader and Copeland (one throw back European performance aside) might have been useful at one point but they have been taking up space and money this season. I think they have started a handful of games between them this season.

Maksymiw played a good bit without ever looking much good to me and they had a good few injuries at lock with Dillane, Thornbury and Roux all missing at the same time.

Adeolokun you thought might have got a new deal but he is a winger who is all about pace pushing 30 and looks like he is about 2 or 3 years past his peak.

The other lads didn't play at all.

Friend has done a bit of a McFarland and decided that certain guys were not his cup of tea and that showed in their game time. So the squad is a lot smaller but not really weaker (again my opinion). They need more quality but that is the same as it ever was.

Thought Madigan going west would have been a great bit of business for Connacht because they do need a 10 and he could also slip in at 12.

They will also have SOB back who has been injured all season so that will be a great addition.

I think they are doing the right thing.
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hugonaut
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by hugonaut »

OTT wrote:The only lads they will really miss are McCartney who is retiring and the two NIQ's Kyle Godwin and Colby Fainga’a in my opinion.

McKeon, Horwitz, Leader and Copeland (one throw back European performance aside) might have been useful at one point but they have been taking up space and money this season. I think they have started a handful of games between them this season.

Maksymiw played a good bit without ever looking much good to me and they had a good few injuries at lock with Dillane, Thornbury and Roux all missing at the same time.

Adeolokun you thought might have got a new deal but he is a winger who is all about pace pushing 30 and looks like he is about 2 or 3 years past his peak.

The other lads didn't play at all.

Friend has done a bit of a McFarland and decided that certain guys were not his cup of tea and that showed in their game time. So the squad is a lot smaller but not really weaker (again my opinion). They need more quality but that is the same as it ever was.

Thought Madigan going west would have been a great bit of business for Connacht because they do need a 10 and he could also slip in at 12.

They will also have SOB back who has been injured all season so that will be a great addition.

I think they are doing the right thing.
They're well placed to weather McCartney retiring. They've got a good complimentary pairing in Heffernan and Delahunt, and Tierney Martin is the best age-grade player that they have produced in at least five years, since SOB II.

The latter will be a big addition if he returns fully fit. He is the natural successor to Muldoon - a quality, home grown forward with leadership credentials and international potential. I remember that he was very effective as a No8 at Roscrea, and I wonder if, given they have struggled to sign a No8, he could fit into that position again?

The rumoured Wooton signing makes a lot of sense now that Adeolokun is off. They're desperately short in the back three.

sunshiner1
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by sunshiner1 »

by hugonaut

They're well placed to weather McCartney retiring. They've got a good complimentary pairing in Heffernan and Delahunt, and Tierney Martin is the best age-grade player that they have produced in at least five years, since SOB II.

The latter will be a big addition if he returns fully fit. He is the natural successor to Muldoon - a quality, home grown forward with leadership credentials and international potential. I remember that he was very effective as a No8 at Roscrea, and I wonder if, given they have struggled to sign a No8, he could fit into that position again?

The rumoured Wooton signing makes a lot of sense now that Adeolokun is off. They're desperately short in the back three.
I gotta say I think Ireland missed a trick not capping McCartney. The Best/Cronin axis worked well for seasons but he would have being a hell of a third choice given the chance. A superb thrower, and incredible scrumager and captained Connacth plenty of times as well. A definite missed opportunity imo. As for Delahunt he needs a big season, things didn't go his way last season and there was rumours of him leaving. I'd say if McCartney hadn't retired he could well have being off. Hopefully this is the boost he needs.

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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by Ruckedtobits »

sunshiner1 wrote:
by hugonaut

They're well placed to weather McCartney retiring. They've got a good complimentary pairing in Heffernan and Delahunt, and Tierney Martin is the best age-grade player that they have produced in at least five years, since SOB II.

The latter will be a big addition if he returns fully fit. He is the natural successor to Muldoon - a quality, home grown forward with leadership credentials and international potential. I remember that he was very effective as a No8 at Roscrea, and I wonder if, given they have struggled to sign a No8, he could fit into that position again?

The rumoured Wooton signing makes a lot of sense now that Adeolokun is off. They're desperately short in the back three.
I gotta say I think Ireland missed a trick not capping McCartney. The Best/Cronin axis worked well for seasons but he would have being a hell of a third choice given the chance. A superb thrower, and incredible scrumager and captained Connacth plenty of times as well. A definite missed opportunity imo. As for Delahunt he needs a big season, things didn't go his way last season and there was rumours of him leaving. I'd say if McCartney hadn't retired he could well have being off. Hopefully this is the boost he needs.
McCartney was one of those players who possibly didn't have the physique to make the step-up to international level. That was the opinion in NZ when he emigrated to Ireland - same size as Kevin Mealamu but without the explosive acceleration and teak hardness which made Mealamu a special AB. By the time McCartney had qualified for Ireland Best was firmly in captaincy so the substitute had to have a real point of difference or be the player being groomed to succeed Best.

Cronin got the call on the first basis, despite his throwing at critical times. IMO, the slot as Best's successor is still up for grabs and Kelleher looks a decent prospect, particularly the way 2019-20 has played out.

sunshiner1
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by sunshiner1 »

by Ruckedtobits

McCartney was one of those players who possibly didn't have the physique to make the step-up to international level. That was the opinion in NZ when he emigrated to Ireland - same size as Kevin Mealamu but without the explosive acceleration and teak hardness which made Mealamu a special AB. By the time McCartney had qualified for Ireland Best was firmly in captaincy so the substitute had to have a real point of difference or be the player being groomed to succeed Best.

Cronin got the call on the first basis, despite his throwing at critical times. IMO, the slot as Best's successor is still up for grabs and Kelleher looks a decent prospect, particularly the way 2019-20 has played out.
I would have to disagree with you. McCartney's nickname in New Zealand was Superfreak because he was so strong. As for the accelaration he burned us a few times with speed. I think Schmidt looked at the age profile and went no thanks which is fair enough but definitely think he could have made the step up comfortably enough.

mildlyinterested
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by mildlyinterested »

6 players promoted from Connacht Academy:

Jordan Duggan(LH Prop/Newbridge)
Niall Murray(Lock/Buccaneers)
Sean Masterson(Backrow/Portaoise RFC)
Colm Reilly(Scrumhalf/Garbally)
Conor Dean(Outhalf/Blackrock)
Peter Sullivan(Wing/St. Andrews)

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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by hugonaut »

mildlyinterested wrote:6 players promoted from Connacht Academy:

Jordan Duggan(LH Prop/Newbridge)
Niall Murray(Lock/Buccaneers)
Sean Masterson(Backrow/Portaoise RFC)
Colm Reilly(Scrumhalf/Garbally)
Conor Dean(Outhalf/Blackrock)
Peter Sullivan(Wing/St. Andrews)
Peter Sullivan is the Lansdowne winger, isn't he? Will be interested to see how he does as a pro. He will get minutes, they're really short at wing. I think Duggan will be solid, as I may have said before. Lots of Ireland U20 caps in different competitions, good size, good conditioning.

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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by mildlyinterested »

hugonaut wrote:
mildlyinterested wrote:6 players promoted from Connacht Academy:

Jordan Duggan(LH Prop/Newbridge)
Niall Murray(Lock/Buccaneers)
Sean Masterson(Backrow/Portaoise RFC)
Colm Reilly(Scrumhalf/Garbally)
Conor Dean(Outhalf/Blackrock)
Peter Sullivan(Wing/St. Andrews)
Peter Sullivan is the Lansdowne winger, isn't he? Will be interested to see how he does as a pro. He will get minutes, they're really short at wing. I think Duggan will be solid, as I may have said before. Lots of Ireland U20 caps in different competitions, good size, good conditioning.


Yep same one.

sunshiner1
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by sunshiner1 »

Niall Murray(Lock/Buccaneers)
I find only one lock to be troubling. They really need another one just to fill out the squad. Hopefully they find an overseas signing otherwise we could be plundered again.

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LeRouxIsPHat
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by LeRouxIsPHat »

Have to admit that I didn't expect Dean to be a pro, fair play to him, hope he does really well.

I was a huge fan of Duggan at 20's level, delighted to see him get a contract. IIRC he had a huge workrate but could be dymanic at times too.

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hugonaut
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Re: Connacht 2019/20

Post by hugonaut »

sunshiner1 wrote:
Niall Murray(Lock/Buccaneers)
I find only one lock to be troubling. They really need another one just to fill out the squad. Hopefully they find an overseas signing otherwise we could be plundered again.
Might be able to pick up Darren O'Shea, who has been released by Munster. He's 27 at this stage, going into what would typically be prime age for a lock. Excellent physical characteristics at 206cm [6'9"] and 117kg [18st 4lbs]. He's still a bit of a project, but the size is a massive deal.

He has had a disappointing four year spell at Munster, but to be frank I think that van Graan is a pretty poor selector and has an incredibly poor track record of promoting from within at Munster. Most Munster players don't progress under van Graan. Erasmus played O'Shea more times in 2016-17 than Dave Foley, John Madigan or Sean McCarthy [his contemporaries] in a season where they were stupidly heavy in the second row [they also had Donnacha Ryan, Jean Kleyn and Billy Holland on the books that season]. In fact, he had the most starts and most minutes of his Munster career in that season under Erasmus.

I think he can be a useful player. He needs games, like every second row.

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