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Trio of Connacht half-backs sign new deals with the province

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24 January 2015; Jack Carty, Connacht, is tackled by  Nicolas Djebaiu, La Rochelle. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 2, Round 6, La Rochelle v Connacht, Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France. Picture credit: Ray Ryan / SPORTSFILE

24 January 2015; Jack Carty, Connacht, is tackled by Nicolas Djebaiu, La Rochelle. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 2, Round 6, La Rochelle v Connacht, Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France. Picture credit: Ray Ryan / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

24 January 2015; Jack Carty, Connacht, is tackled by Nicolas Djebaiu, La Rochelle. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 2, Round 6, La Rochelle v Connacht, Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France. Picture credit: Ray Ryan / SPORTSFILE

Jack Carty, John Cooney and Caolin Blade have become the latest players to sign contract extensions at the Sportsground.

In a week where Connacht tied down Pat Lam and forward trio Eoghan Masterson, Eoin McKeon and George Naoupu, this announcement comes as a big boost to the club.

It's been a big year for Jack Carty who made his competitive debut against Leinster in January 2014 making 16 starts in the meantime and playing a pivotal role in last week's dramatic European Challenge Cup victory over La Rochelle in France.

Another graduate of the Connacht Academy, scrumhalf Caolin Blade will step up to the senior squad under Pat Lam next season. The Monivea man, who has represented Ireland at Under-18 and U19 level was recruited by Nigel Carolan in 2013.

Scrum half John Cooney, who was initially brought to Connacht on an initial loan deal from Leinster for the 2014/15 season has opted to sign on officially with the province for 2015/16. The former Gonzaga College schoolboy, who has played for Ireland U18’s 20’s and the Emerging Ireland in the Tbilisi Cup, played 27 times for his native Leinster before coming to Galway.

Head Coach Pat Lam commented: “Again we’re very pleased to be able to announce that these guys will continue to play for Connacht.

"Half back is an area that is pivotal to any team and with Kieran Marmion likely to be with Ireland more and more over the coming months, it was vital that we had plans in place to ensure we have a squad comprising of four quality scrum halves.

"Caolin is a very exciting prospect whose talents were on show in abundance away to Bayonne in December.

"We’re also very pleased that John Cooney has enjoyed his loan period with us this season and sees an opportunity here with us to further his own game and career.

"I have no doubt that he will continue to push hard for game time in what is a very competitive position in our squad.

“Jack is making big progress in his development. The huge amount of game time for a young out half is allowing him to learn and develop.

"All world class 10’s need a starting point and I believe that over the coming years, both the club and Jack will continue to see huge growth in his ability as a skilled playmaker.”

Online Editors