Planet Rugby



Talented youngsters join Connacht

01st May 2014 10:50



Delighted: Pat Lam

Connacht have added talented young backline duo Ian Porter and Shane O'Leary to their squad for next season's PRO12 campaign.

The pair have signed two-year and one-year deals respectively with the province and the IRFU.

Scrum-half Porter makes the move from Ulster where he has been a part of the professional set-up for three seasons.

Progressing through the Ulster Academy, the Banbridge native went on to represent Ireland at Under-20 level where he was the designated goal-kicker, landing a memorable last minute penalty to win the match against Italy at the 2008 IRB Junior World Championship.

Over the last few seasons, Porter has proven himself at senior level with 11 PRO12 appearances under his belt, his speed of service and accuracy of pass being key features of his game.

Known for his tactical kicking, the 26-year-old has also developed his place-kicking abilities and combines this with his organisational abilities at the breakdown.

This season he started in the Ulster number 9 jersey against Glasgow Warriors and Connacht at the Sportsground.

Meanwhile, O'Leary, who was born in Cork and raised in County Clare, signed with FC Grenoble's Academy last summer straight from Ulster Bank League club Young Munster.

The centre/fly-half was quick to make his mark at the French club this season, earning his first senior appearance in the Challenge Cup against Bayonne in October.

He went on to play four more games in the European competition, including a start at outside centre against Challenge Cup semi-finalists London Wasps.

Before joining the growing Irish contingent in the Rhône-Alpes region, the 21-year-old spent the early part of last summer representing Canada (whom he is qualified to play for through his mother's roots in New Brunswick) in the IRB Junior World Trophy in Chile.

The top points scorer in the international competition, O'Leary helped Canada to the final where they were beaten by Italy Under-20s.

Grenoble coach Bernard Jackman describes the young back as 'a very talented rugby player'.

"He integrated incredibly well here at FCG this season and proved that he has a bright future. He will be missed here but we wish him all the best with Connacht," said the ex-Ireland hooker.

"It's fantastic to have two more young Irish-qualified backs on board for next season. Both Ian and Shane will be valuable additions to the squad," said Connacht boss Pat Lam.

"Having someone like Shane who can play 13, 12 or 10 is a huge asset. Both himself and Ian have goal-kicking abilities and this is something we looked at when recruiting for the season ahead."

  • Connacht Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Friday , September 26
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Saturday , October 11
Benetton Treviso vs ConnachtTBC
Friday , October 31
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Friday , November 21
Connacht vs Zebre19:35
Saturday , November 29
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 18
Connacht vs La Rochelle17:00
Saturday , October 25
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Saturday , December 6
Connacht vs BayonneTBC
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
  • Connacht Results
Recent Results
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 12
Edinburgh 13 - 14 ConnachtEdinburgh vs Connacht Report
Saturday , September 6
Connacht 16 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gonsConnacht vs Newport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table