Thursday, March 11, 2021

Ballinrobe man Matthew Burke has signed a contract extension with Connacht Rugby for the 2021-22 season. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

Mayomen Dave Heffernan and Matthew Burke are among 21 Connacht Rugby players to have signed with the province for the 2021-22 season.

Connacht announced the raft of contract extensions this afternoon, with Ballina man Heffernan and Ballinrobe native Burke included in a list that also includes Heffernan’s fellow Irish internationals Finlay Bealham, Jack Carty and Ultan Dillane.

In all, 19 players from the existing professional squad have renewed deals for next season while a further two players, Oran McNulty and Cian Prendergast, have been promoted from the Connacht Academy. Joint-leading Pro14 try-scorer Alex Wootton has joined Connacht on a permanent contract, having joined on loan from Munster last summer.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Head Coach Andy Friend said: “I am delighted to see so many of our current crop of players sign on for another season. This is still a very challenging time for everyone in Irish Rugby so to have them commit to Connacht Rugby again says it all about the belief we have as a group to continue the progress we’re making.”

Connacht were this week drawn against the Leicester Tigers in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup, with the fixture set to be played over the Easter weekend.

Before the trip to play Leicester, Connacht will close out the Pro14 campaign with matches against Edinburgh and Scarlets, although both matches are effectively dead rubbers as Connacht cannot qualify for the Pro14 final.

The 21 players to have signed contracts with Connacht for the 2021-22 season to date are Finlay Bealham, Paul Boyle, Denis Buckley, Matthew Burke, Jack Carty, Shane Delahunt, Ultan Dillane, Jordan Duggan, Conor Fitzgerald, Dave Heffernan, Eoghan Masterson, Sean Masterson, Oran McNulty, Niall Murray, Conor Oliver, John Porch, Cian Prendergast, Colm Reilly, Peter Sullivan, Gavin Thornbury and Alex Wootton.

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