Quartet staying at Connacht

Date published: May 26 2015

Connacht have announced that forwards Dave Heffernan, Danny Qualter, JP Cooney and versatile back Shane O'Leary have signed new one-year deals.

The quartet inking extensions brings the number of current players who have committed their futures to the PRO12 province for 2015/16 up to eighteen.

Hooker Heffernan is a graduate of the Connacht Academy and was last week named in the Emerging Ireland squad for the upcoming tour to Tbilisi.

Second-row Qualter has represented Ireland at U18, Youth Schools, U19, and U20s and with competition at lock very high this season, the 23-year-old made three appearances in the European Challenge Cup this season.

25-year-old prop Cooney will continue his progression under Pat Lam next season having honed his scrummaging skills under outgoing assistant coach Dan McFarland since his arrival to the province in 2012.

Meanwhile, the backs have been boosted by the extension of O'Leary's stay. The Munster man who can play at centre or fly-half signed from Grenoble last season.

"We're delighted to be confirming our updated squad for next season. Recruitment is ongoing but it's important to hold on to young players like these who have demonstrated that they have the talent and the desire to succeed in a professional set up," said head coach Lam.

"Dave, in particular, has had a season of huge growth and through his hard work, and the experience he's gained in high-pressure games as a young and novice hooker, he has deservedly earned himself a place in the Emerging Ireland squad and we're delighted for him.

"Our squad is constantly evolving but we are very pleased with the talent and the calibre of young Irish talent we have coming through the system and these four guys epitomise that."