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Cronin hails road west as best path to Ireland's front lines

Connacht hooker Sean Cronin, who this week extended his contract with the province, says that more young Irish players should go west if they have ambitions of playing for Ireland.

The 23-year-old made his full international debut when he came on against Fiji in October, having joined Connacht in the summer of 2008.

"It is a move which has worked for me. My game has developed and I'm enjoying it. I have learned a lot since moving to Galway and it is a move I would encourage other players to make.

"The most important thing for me was getting game time. That is what has really helped me improve," said the Limerick native who made a couple of appearances off the bench for Munster where he spent three years in their academy.

Born in Castletroy, Cronin developed his game first with Richmond and then Shannon and became an Irish schools international after starring for Ardscoil Ris.

This week he extended his Connacht contract by another season and will be at the Sportsground until the summer of 2011 at least.


He could make his Six Nations debut next month, but for now his focus is firmly on Friday's crucial Amlin Challenge Cup clash with Montpellier.

"It's a massive game for us. There is so much riding on it and after the last two games were called off, the lads can't wait for this one. That's the primary focus for now so it is good to have the contract and all that sorted out," said Cronin.

Coach Michael Bradley said that Cronin's progress showed what could be achieved when promising young players get exposure in the west.

"He has become a front-line player for us, has gone on tour with Irish teams, and has been capped at full international level. I admire people who decide to make that change and take their chance," Bradley said.

"Sean felt he could make progress coming here and he has taken the opportunity with both hands.

"Connacht can do a lot for players who are getting frustrated in the other provinces."

Irish Independent