Connacht boost their ranks ahead of new season

Three academy players have been promoted to the senior squad

Connacht boost their ranks ahead of new season

The Connacht team dejected after the game. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Connacht have begun preparing for the new season already and have boosted their ranks with the addition of three academy players.

The westerners endured a disappointing 2016/17 season which saw them knocked out of the Champions Cup in the group stages, miss out on the PRO12 play-offs by some margin and failed to qualify for next season's Champions Cup.

Head Coach Pat Lam, who led the province to its famous PRO12 Championship victory, is off to Bristol next year.

The Galway based side suffered a mountain of injuries throughout the season and have moved to increase their playing numbers.

Academy players Conor McKeon, Cormac Brennan and Pat O'Toole have all been rewarded with senior contracts for next season.

"I'm delighted for all three players that will take the step in to the professional squad next season," said backs coach Nigel Carolan. "They make it 38 - the number of graduates from the programme over the years which is something we're really proud of."

Meanwhile, six of the provinces players are due to go on tour with the national side when they head to the USA and Japan in June. 

Quinn Roux joins Dave Heffernan, John Cooney, Finlay Bealham, Kieran Marmion and Tiernan O’Halloran in Joe Schmidt's touring squad.