Tuesday 23 January 2018

Connacht players had whip-around to pay for four academy players to travel to Pro12 final

Connacht players celebrate following their side's victory in the Guinness PRO12 Final match between Leinster and Connacht at BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Connacht players celebrate following their side's victory in the Guinness PRO12 Final match between Leinster and Connacht at BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

This anecdote proves just how strong the team spirit in the Connacht camp and why they die in their boots for each other on the field.

The togetherness among Pat Lam's charges was illustrated in a recent incident where players travelled to a housing estate to recover Robbie Henshaw's stolen laptop and now we have further proof, not that we needed any, of their bond.

The province flew all 46 players who have featured in green this season to Murrayfield but four academy players, who have been training with the senior squad, were told that they wouldn't be brought due to financial constraints.

The Connacht players themselves stepped in and cobbled together the money to bring Ciarán Gaffney, Cormac Brennan, Saba Meunargia and Rory Moloney to the Scottish capital for the final.

“We had four players this year that trained with us, didn’t get any game time,” Connacht captain John Muldoon revealed.

“One of the lads [Brennan] was on the bench for the Ulster game and for various reasons they had to cut the line somewhere and they decided not to bring four of the lads that hadn’t played.

“That was obviously the management’s perspective; 46 lads is a lot to bring. But the lads got together and chipped in and brought the other four lads, and that shows what the team is about.

“The fact that we’re not willing to leave the four lads behind, and the four lads are inside in the dressing room and they deserve to be here as much as anybody else, and that shows the togetherness and what it means to everyone.

“To me that sums up the group massively.”

Connacht boss Pat Lam was delighted with the gesture.

“I’d just like to back John up on that, because that was massive,” said Lam.

“The whole squad came, and we took the academy boys that played, and there were four guys who came in half-way through and trained, but they hadn’t got on the field. So we had to cut the numbers somewhere, as far as finances go.

“And then Mul showed up in our office, to myself and [team manager] Tim Allnutt, and said ‘we’d like take those four academy boys as well.’

“I said ‘great’, and the boys all chipped in.”

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