Griffin returning to Connacht

Date published: December 14 2015

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Connacht and the IRFU have announced the re-signing of centre Eoin Griffin as well as the contract extension of versatile back Tiernan O'Halloran.

The Galway-born duo have both put pen to paper on new two-year deals with their home province.

Griffin, from Galway city, was in the Connacht age grade system from the age of 15. He joined the Connacht Academy in 2009 and earned his first PRO12 cap that same season.

In five seasons at the Sportsground, he made 71 appearances, including 11 in the European Cup, before accepting an offer to play abroad for two seasons with London Irish in 2014. Despite initial injury setbacks, Griffin has played in 15 Premiership and five Challenge Cup games with the English club. He suffered a bicep tendon tear in this month's game against Harlequins and is recovering well following surgery last week.

The 25-year-old represented Ireland at U19 and U20's level and has gone on to make the Emerging Ireland squad on three successive tours since 2013.

Commenting on his return to Connacht Rugby, Griffin said: "I'm delighted to be coming home to Connacht. I've had a great time here with London Irish and I am committed to recovering from this injury so I can finish out the season well with them.

"London Irish is definitely moving in the right direction and it wasn't an easy decision to leave but the opportunity to move home to Connacht was something I couldn't say no to. I'm a Connacht man born and bred, it's where my family and friends are and so it will always be home to me. It's also very exciting times at Connacht and I'm looking forward to settling back into the environment with Pat and the squad and pushing hard for a place in a high performing back line."

O'Halloran, 24, is enjoying a fantastic start to his seventh season at Connacht. The Clifden man has started in the back three in ten of the 12 games played so far this season, earning the Man of the Match award on two occasions and the Connacht Player of the Month award for September. He captained his home province in victories over Ospreys and Brive and has touched down for three tries this season, including the opening score in last month's win over Munster at Thomond Park.

Overall, he has played 87 times for the club and has his name in the record books as the first Connacht player to score in the Heineken Cup back when he touched down in the 2011/12 season away to Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop.

Commenting on his contract extension, O'Halloran said: "It was an easy decision to sign up for another two years. Galway and Connacht is my home and I've played so much of my rugby here. I'm currently in my seventh season and probably the most enjoyable one from a personal point of view. 

"It's a really exciting time to be involved in the team and I'm delighted that all the work put in to get back after disappointing injuries in the past has paid off. It was a huge honour to captain the side on a couple of occasions this season and I hope I can continue to do my part for the team going forward."

Pat Lam, Head Coach, Connacht Rugby added: "As well as playing in the Champions Cup and having more players representing Ireland, our other key objective is to have strong Connacht Indigenous representation in our squad. So I am very pleased that both local men Eoin (Griffin) and Tiernan (O'Halloran) have committed to their home province.  At still only 25 and 24 respectively, they would already be seen as experienced leaders.

"Tiernan has a massive influence on and off the field and I believe his work ethic and attitude will see him making an even bigger impact playing at Connacht going forward.

"It's great that Eoin is returning to his home team and his mates. From his experiences of playing abroad for two seasons, he will bring different attributes to the side on and off the park.

"I'm confident both Eoin and Tiernan will push hard to ensure that their home club Connacht Rugby is successful on and off the field. As far as 'Grassroots to Green Shirts' goes, they are great role models for all young rugby players throughout our province."

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