Connacht boss Andy Friend has confirmed that a dozen players will leave the Galway-based Guinness PRO14 club when their contracts expire at the end of June. The respective exits of Colby Fainga’a and Robin Copeland to French sides Lyon and Soyaux Angouleme had already been flagged, but the farewell of some of the other names will catch the eye. 

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Among the list is Niyi Adeolokun, the 29-year-old Nigerian-born winger who was capped by Joe Schmidt’s Ireland versus Canada in November 2016. 

New Zealander Tom McCartney, one of the central characters in the pack that blasted to PRO12 title success in 2016 under Pat Lam, is retiring at the age of 34 after six seasons in Ireland.  

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He’s not the only Connacht centurion to depart either, as Eoin McKeon, who has been on the roster since 2010, is also leaving the Sportsground.  

Darragh Leader, Kyle Godwin, Joe Maksymiw, David Horwitz, Rory Burke and Peter McCabe have also completed their contracts, while Angus Lloyd departs to pursue a medical career having passed his exams.

Connacht boss Andy Friend said: “The nature of professional rugby means there will always be comings and goings. I would personally like to wish all our departing players every success in the future and thank them for their contributions to Connacht, both on and off the field.

“We all share in the players’ disappointment that they were unable to get a proper send-off at the Sportsground due to Covid, but they can be always assured of a warm welcome by the club and our supporters at any time in the future.”

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Connacht recently announced that Munster players Sammy Arnold and Conor Oliver, and Leinster duo Jack Aungier and Oisin Dowling will join them in Galway from July 1.

 

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