Sunday 25 September 2016

Benefits of this season will last long into future

Johnny O'Connor

Published 13/05/2016 | 02:30

Bundee Aki leads the Connacht celebrations with his teammates following their PRO12 victory over Glasgow Warriors on Saturday. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Bundee Aki leads the Connacht celebrations with his teammates following their PRO12 victory over Glasgow Warriors on Saturday. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The joy that Connacht Rugby have brought to the province this season is palpable at the moment.

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After another epic victory, the players' efforts this season were recognised with seven making the Pro12 team of the season and Bundee Aki, John Muldoon and Pat Lam all picking up individual gongs.

But this success is far more out-reaching than just the club itself: finishing second and reaching the Pro12 play-offs for the first time has given the whole community a pep in their step.

To have a semi-final to look forward to in the Sportsground is another aspect of it, with the financial benefits of that.

But overall it is the impact it has on the lives of the everyday Connacht people that is the most enjoyable part of this success.

Everyone saw what Leicester City's wonderful Premier League win did for the people of Leicester. It could be so similar here, if Connacht go all the way.

It's noticeable already, people are walking around with smiles on their faces. More kids are beginning to play the game, the fan-base is growing. This season will have brilliant repercussions for the future of this province.

Irish Independent

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