Connolly determined to make most of breakthrough
Published 08/04/2016 | 02:30
He's a man with a famous name, but the way Connacht's James Connolly is going this season the flanker will have a face to match in no time.
Pat Lam has preached the mantra that his ever-long injury list is not an excuse for a dip in results and the Naas native's performances have been indicative of the standard expected.
The Academy product turned heads on his Pro12 debut at Thomond Park earlier this season, playing a crucial role in a historic win, and he has never let Lam down when called upon.
Fit-again Jake Heenan is likely to return to the team for tomorrow's Challenge Cup game in Grenoble, but Connolly will be ready to perform if asked to do so off the bench.
And he is determined to play his part in the run-in as the western province look to finish this historic season with a trophy.
"It's very enjoyable and we want to come away with silverware at the end of this year," he said.
"Talking to the likes of John Muldoon, he's been here for so long and hasn't won a trophy. . . this is the year we could really do it. We have the potential, we have the depth in the squad to bring home silverware. We can do it for the fans as well.
"We can't let it slip, we have to keep the momentum going. I've no doubt about our ability. One blip won't stop our momentum, we're full of confidence."
The 22-year-old is embracing his elevation to senior rugby and is determined to make the most of the opportunity.
"I'm really enjoying it," he said. "I feel really lucky to be surrounded by the players we have. The way the year is going, all the hard work we're doing; it's a privilege to be involved in such a successful team. It's exciting."