Friday 9 December 2016

Leinster unhappy as top attacking prospect opts to move to Connacht

Published 01/05/2016 | 02:30

Leinster Academy fullback Cian Kelleher will play for Connacht next season. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster Academy fullback Cian Kelleher will play for Connacht next season. Photo: Sportsfile

Leinster Academy fullback Cian Kelleher will play for Connacht next season in a move described by a Leinster spokesman last week as "very disappointing". Kelleher (21) has had one start this season, with five appearances off the bench - all games coming in the Pro 12 - despite being rated as one of the best young fullbacks in the country.

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His only appearance last season for the senior side was as a replacement, in the last game of the league campaign.

"He had already agreed a development contract with us, and all the protocols were broken here," the spokesman claimed. "I'm sure that he'll do very well with Connacht - and we wish him well - but we're unhappy at the way this was done."

Leinster's upset is aimed at IRFU performance director David Nucifora, whose remit includes getting what he sees as the best spread of talent across the country. Nucifora was unavailable for comment.

Kelleher, who played for Emerging Ireland in the Tbilisi Cup last summer, has seen his route forward blocked by the extension last season of Zane Kirchner's contract. The Springbok originally signed in 2013 on a two-year deal, but that was extended into this season. It is understood Connacht are offering Kelleher a full contract.

Sunday Indo Sport

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