Connacht have secured the services of Exeter Chiefs lock Aly Muldowney on a three-year contract, it has been confirmed today.
Second row Aly Muldowney, who was born in Stafford, has spent the last two seasons with Exeter Chiefs, racking up 35 caps in the Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup competitions.
This season, he featured in five out Exeter’s six Heineken Cup pool games in a difficult group with quarter-finalists Clermont Auvergne, winning praise for an outstanding display in the Chiefs’ win over the Scarlets.
Muldowney, aged 29, is Irish qualified by virtue of his father being born in Newbridge, County Kildare.
Muldowney started playing rugby nine years ago after he converted from basketball and has made rapid progress in the last three years, having moved from part-time rugby with Moseley to his first full-time contract with Glasgow Warriors in 2010.
That year the 6ft 5in lock made his debut for the Warriors in the 32-15 win over Newcastle. During his one season with the Scottish club, he made 20 appearances, starting 13 games and scoring two tries.
Connacht Chief Executive Tom Sears said: “Aly is a player we have looked at for some time. Our coaching staff have watched him a lot and identified him as one of our key recruitment targets.
“Pat Lam has also been kept in the loop and is delighted he will have Aly in his squad for next season.
“He is a very physical, ball carrying Irish qualified lock who gets through an enormous amount of work and we have managed to get him to Connacht ahead of stiff competition from several sides in the Aviva Premiership and elsewhere.
“We are putting a great deal of work into a recruitment for next year and finding a leading Irish qualified player to bolster our options in the second row was one of the priorities.
“We are looking to recruit further at lock and other positions and are looking at a number of potential signings before next season.”
Muldowney himself commented: “I’m delighted to have signed with Connacht and I’m very much looking forward to joining the province, improving my rugby and adding what I can to the squad.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Chiefs, they are a great club and have a really good squad. Rob (Baxter) and Ali (Hepher) have really helped me improve my game over the last two years.
“I have watched Connacht play in the Heineken Cup this year and they are a really tough side with some great players.
“We don’t have too many places where we can watch the league, but having played Connacht before whilst at Glasgow I know that they are a tough opposition to come up against.
“So, I’m really looking forward to being a part of that team and adding what I can. It’s an exciting time for Connacht also, with a new head coach coming in.
“My boys and wife are really excited about the move to Galway and for a new adventure. I also have family in Ireland, who are already really looking forward to seeing more of us. I just hope we can find somewhere to live with my three dogs too!”